Fundamental Facts You Should Know About Worry
Live in “Daytight Compartments”
One of the most appalling comments on our present way of life is that half of all the beds in our hospitals are reserved for patients with nervous and mental troubles, patients who have collapsed under the crushing burden of accumulated yesterdays and fearful tomorrows. Yet a vast majority of those people would be walking the streets today, leading happy, useful lives, if they had only heeded the words of Jesus: “Have no anxiety about the morrow”; or the words of Sir William Osier: “Live in daytight compartments”.
You and I are standing this very second at the meeting place of two eternities: the vast past that has endured forever, and the future that is plunging on to the last syllable of recorded time. We can’t possibly live in either of those eternitiesno, not even for one split second. But, by trying to do so, we can wreck both our bodies and our minds. So let’s be content to live the only time we can possibly live: from now until bedtime. “Anyone can carry his burden, however hard, until nightfall,” wrote Robert Louis Stevenson. “Anyone can do his work, however hard, for one day. Anyone can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely, till the sun goes down. And this is all that life really means.”
Yes, that is all that life requires of us.
This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
John Ruskin had on his desk a simple piece of stone on which was carved one word: TODAY. And while I haven’t a piece of stone on my desk, I do have a poem pasted on my mir¬ror where I can see it when I shave every morninga poem that Sir William Osier always kept on his desk a poem written by the famous Indian dramatist, Kalidasa:
SALUTATION TO THE DAWNLook to this day!
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence:
The bliss of growth
The glory of action
The splendour of achievement.
For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision,
But today well lived makes yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day!
Such is the salutation to the dawn.
So, the first thing you should know about worry is this: if you want to keep it out of your life, do what Sir William Osier did –
Why not ask yourself these questions, and write down the answers?
- Do I tend to put off living in the present in order to worry about the future, or to yearn for some “magical rose garden over the horizon”?
- Do I sometimes embitter the present by regretting things that happened in the past that are over and done with?
- Do I get up in the morning determined to “Seize the day” to get the utmost out of these twenty four hours?
- Can I get more out of life by “living in daytight compartments” ?
- When shall I start to do this? Next week? ..Tomorrow? ... Today?
A Magic Formula For Solving Worry SituationsAh, make the most of what we yet may spend,
Before we too into the Dust descend;
Dust into Dust, and under Dust, to lie,
Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and-sans End!
If you have a worry problem, apply the magic formula of Willis H. Carrier by doing these three things-
What Worry May Do To YouBusinessmen who do not know how to fight worrydie young.- Dr. Alexis Carrel.
“The Lord may forgive us our sins,” said William James, “but the nervous system never does.” Here is a startling and almost incredible fact: more Americans commit suicide each year than die from the five most common communicable diseases.
Why? The answer is largely: “Worry.”
When the cruel Chinese war lords wanted to torture their prisoners, they would tie their prisoners hand and foot and put them under a bag of water that constantly dripped ... dripped ... dripped ... day and night. These drops of water constantly falling on the head finally became like the sound of hammer blows and drove men insane. This same method of torture was used during the Spanish Inquisition and in German concentration camps under Hitler.
Worry is like the constant drip, drip, drip of water; and the constant drip, drip, drip of worry often drives men to insanity and suicide.
Remind yourself of the exorbitant price you can pay for worry in terms of your health. “Businessmen who do not know how to fight worry die young.”
Basic Techniques in Analysing Worry
How to Analyse and Solve Worry ProblemsI keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew):
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
We must equip ourselves to deal with different kinds of worries by learning the three basic steps of problem analysis. The three steps are:
- Get the facts.
- Analyse the facts.
- Arrive at a decision and then act on that decision.
How to Eliminate Fifty Per Cent of Your Business Worries
Can you apply these questions to your business problems? To repeat my challenge they can reduce your worries by fifty per cent. Here they are again:
- What is the problem?
- What is the CAUSE of the problem?
- What are all possible solutions to the problem?
- What solution do you suggest?
RULE 2.1 - Get the facts. Remember that Dean Hawkes of Columbia University said that “ half the worry in the world is caused by people trying to make decisions before they have sufficient knowledge on which to base a decision.”
RULE 2.2 - After carefully weighing all the facts, come to a decision.
RULE 2.3 - Once a decision is carefully reached, act! Get busy carrying out your decision and dismiss all anxiety about the outcome.
RULE 2.4 - When you, or any of your associates are tempted to worry about a problem, write out and answer the following questions:
- What is the problem?
- What is the cause of the problem?
- What are all possible solutions?
- What is the best solution?
How to Break the Worry Habit Before it Breaks You
How to Crowd Worry Out of Your Mind
“In despair, I adopted a way of life that cured my insomnia and stopped my worries. I got busy. I got so busy with problems demanding all my faculties that I had no time to worry. I had been working seven hours a day. I now began working fifteen and sixteen hours a day. I got down to the office every morning at eight o’clock and stayed there every night until almost mid¬night. I took on new duties, new responsibilities. When I got home at midnight, I was so exhausted when I fell in bed that I became unconscious in a few seconds.
“I kept up this programme for about three months. I had broken the habit of worry by that time, so I returned to a normal working day of seven or eight hours. This event occurred eight¬een years ago. I have never been troubled with insomnia or worry since then.”
George Bernard Shaw was right. He summed it all up when he said: “The secret of being miserable is to have the leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not.” So don’t bother to think about it! Spit on your hands and get busy. Your blood will start circulating; your mind will start ticking and pretty soon this whole positive upsurge of life in your body will drive worry from your mind. Get busy. Keep busy. It’s the cheapest kind of medicine there is on this earth and one of the best.
To break the worry habit, here is Rule 1:
Don’t Let the Beetles Get You Down
On the slope of Long’s Peak in Colorado lies the ruin of a gigantic tree. Naturalists tell us that it stood for some four hun¬dred years. It was a seedling when Columbus landed at San Salvador, and half grown when the Pilgrims settled at Plymouth. During the course of its long life it was struck by lightning fourteen times, and the innumerable avalanches and storms of four centuries thundered past it. It survived them all. In the end, however, an army of beetles attacked the tree and levelled it to the ground. The insects ate their way through the bark and grad¬ually destroyed the inner strength of the tree by their tiny but incessant attacks. A forest giant which age had not withered, nor lightning blasted, nor storms subdued, fell at last before beetles so small that a man could crush them between his forefinger and his thumb.
Aren’t we all like that battling giant of the forest? Don’t we manage somehow to survive the rare storms and avalanches and lightning blasts of life only to let our hearts be eaten out by little beetles of worry little beetles that could be crushed between a finger and a thumb?
A Law that will Outlaw Many of Your Worries
The United States Navy used the statistics of the law of aver¬ages to buck up the morale of their men. One ex sailor told me that when he and his shipmates were assigned to high octane tankers, they were worried stiff. They all believed that if a tanker loaded with high octane gasoline was hit by a torpedo, it exploded and blew everybody to kingdom come.
But the U.S. Navy knew otherwise; so the Navy issued exact figures, showing that out of one hundred tankers hit by torpe¬does sixty stayed afloat; and of the forty that did sink, only five sank in less than ten minutes. That meant time to get off the ship it also meant casualties were exceedingly small. Did this help morale? “This knowledge of the law of averages wiped out my jitters,” said Clyde W. Maas, of 1969 Walnut Street, St. Paul, Minnesota the man who told this story. “The whole crew felt better. We knew we had a chance; and that, by the law of aver¬ages, we probably wouldn’t be killed.” To break the worry habit before it breaks you here is Rule 3:
A Law that will Outlaw Many of Your Worries
Co-Operate with the InevitableThe late Dean Hawkes of Columbia University had taken a Mother Goose rhyme as one of his mottoes: For every ailment under the sun,
There is a remedy, or there is none;
If there be one, try to find it;
If there be none, never mind it.
This priceless prayer was written by Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr, Professor of Applied Christianity, Union Theological Seminary, Broadway and 120th Street, New York.God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
The courage to change the things I can;
And the wisdom to know the difference.
To break the worry habit before it breaks you, Rule 4 is:
Put a “Stop-Loss” Order on Your Worries
Yes, I honestly believe that this is one of the greatest secrets to true peace of mind a decent sense of values. And I believe we could annihilate fifty per cent of all our worries at once if we would develop a sort of private gold standard a gold standard of what things are worth to us in terms of our lives.
So, to break the worry habit before it breaks you, here is Rule 5:
Don’t Try to Saw Sawdust
As I read history and biography and observe people under trying circumstances, I am constantly astonished and inspired by some people’s ability to write off their worries and tragedies and go on living fairly happy lives.
I once paid a visit to Sing Sing, and the thing that astonished me most was that the prisoners there appeared to be about as happy as the average person on the outside. I commented on it to Lewis E. Lawes then warden of Sing Sing and he told me that when criminals first arrive at Sing Sing, they are likely to be resentful and bitter. But after a few months, the majority of the more intelligent ones write off their misfortunes and settle down and accept prison life calmly and make the best of it. Warden Lawes told me about one Sing Sing prisoner a gardener who sang as he cultivated the vegetables and flowers inside the prison walls.
That Sing Sing prisoner who sang as he cultivated the flowers showed a lot more sense than most of us do. He knew that
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.
So why waste the tears? Of course, we have been guilty of blunders and absurdities! And so what? Who hasn’t? Even Napoleon lost one third of all the important battles he fought. Perhaps our batting average is no worse than Napoleon’s. Who knows?
And, anyhow, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can’t put the past together again. So let’s remember Rule 6: Let the past bury its dead. Don’t saw sawdust.
Seven Ways to Cultivate a Mental Attitude that will Bring You Peace and Happiness
Eight Words that Can Transform Your Life
Let’s fight for our happiness by following a daily programme of cheerful and constructive thinking. Here is such a programme. It is entitled “Just for Today”. I found this programme so inspir¬ing that I gave away hundreds of copies. It was written thirty-six years ago by the late Sibyl F. Partridge. If you and I follow it, we will eliminate most of our worries and increase immeasurably our portion of what the French call la joie de vivre.Just For Today
- Just for today I will be happy. This assumes that what Abraham Lincoln said is true, that “most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Happiness is from within; it is not a matter of externals.
- Just for today I will try to adjust myself to what is, and not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my family, my business, and my luck as they come and fit myself to them.
- Just for today I will take care of my body. I will exercise it, care for it, nourish it, not abuse it nor neglect it, so that it will be a perfect machine for my bidding.
- Just for today I will try to strengthen my mind. I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.
- Just for today I will exercise my soul in three ways: I will do somebody a good turn and not get found out. I will do at least two things I don’t want to do, as William James suggests, just for exercise.
- Just for today I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress as becomingly as possible, talk low, act courteously, be liberal with praise, criticise not at all, nor find fault with anything and not try to regulate nor improve anyone.
- Just for today I will try to live through this day only, not to tackle my whole life problem at once. I can do things for twelve hours that would appal me if I had to keep them up for a lifetime.
- Just for today I will have a programme. I will write down what I expect to do every hour. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it. It will eliminate two pests, hurry and indecision.
- Just for today I will have a quiet half-hour all by myself and relax. In this half-hour sometimes I will think of God, so as to get a little more perspective into my life.
- Just for today I will be unafraid, especially I will not be afraid to be happy, to enjoy what is beautiful, to love, and to believe that those I love, love me.
If we want to develop a mental attitude that will bring us peace and happiness, here is Rule 1:
The High Cost of Getting Even
If you and I had inherited the same physical, mental, and emotional characteristics that our enemies have inherited, and if life had done to us what it has done to them, we would act exactly as they do. We couldn’t possibly do anything else. As Clarence Darrow used to say: “To know all is to understand all, and this leaves no room for judgment and condemnation.” So instead of hating our enemies, let’s pity them and thank God that life has not made us what they are. Instead of heaping condemnation and revenge upon our enemies, let’s give them our understanding, our sympathy, our help, our forgiveness, and our prayers.”
I was brought up in a family which read the Scriptures or repeated a verse from the Bible each night and then knelt down and said “family prayers”. I can still hear my father, in a lonely Missouri farmhouse, repeating those words of Jesus words that will continue to be repeated as long as man cherishes his ideals: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”
My father tried to live those words of Jesus; and they gave him an inner peace that the captains and the kings of earth have often sought for in vain.
To cultivate a mental attitude that will bring you peace and happiness, remember that Rule 2 is:
If You do this, You will Never Worry About Ingratitude
We must remember that our children are very much what we make them. For example, my mother’s sister Viola Alexander is a shining example of a woman who has never had cause to complain about the “ingratitude” of children. When I was a boy, Aunt Viola took her own mother into her home to love and take care of; and she did the same thing for her husband’s mother. I canstill close my eyes and see those two old ladies sitting before the fire in Aunt Viola’s farmhouse. Were they any “trouble” to Aunt Viola? Oh, often, I suppose. But you would never have guessed it from her attitude. She loved those old ladies so she pampered them, and spoiled them, and made them feel at home. In addition, Aunt Viola had six children of her own; but it never occurred to her that she was doing anything especially noble, or deserved any halos for taking these old ladies into her home. To her, it was the natural thing, the right thing, the thing she wanted to do.
Where is Aunt Viola today? Well, she has now been a widow for twenty odd years, and she has five grown up children five separate households all clamouring to share her, and to have her come and live in their homes! Her children adore her; they never get enough of her. Out of “gratitude”? Nonsense! It is love sheer love. Those children breathed in warmth and radiant human kindness all during their childhoods. Is it any wonder that, now that the situation is reversed, they give back love?
So let us remember that to raise grateful children, we have to be grateful. Let us remember “little pitchers have big ears” and watch what we say. To illustrate the next time we are tempted to belittle someone’s kindness in the presence of our children, let’s stop. Let’s never say: “Look at these dishcloths Cousin Sue sent for Christmas. She knit them herself. They didn’t cost her a cent!” The remark may seem trivial to us but the children are listening. So, instead, we had better say: “Look at the hours Cousin Sue spent making these for Christmas! Isn’t she nice? Let’s write her a thank you note right now.” And our children may unconsciously absorb the habit of praise and appreciation.
To avoid resentment and worry over ingratitude, here is Rule 3:
Would You Take a Million Dollars for What You Have?
“I now have the following words pasted on my bathroom mirror, and I read them every morning as I shave:
I had the blues because I had no shoes,
Until upon the street, I met a man who had no feet.
Would you like to know how to make even dishwashing at the kitchen sink a thrilling experience? If so, read an inspiringbook of incredible courage by Borghild Dahl. It is called I Wanted to See.This book was written by a woman who was practically blind for half a century.
In 1943, when she was fifty two years old, a miracle happened: an operation at the famous Mayo Clinic. She could now see forty times as well as she had ever been able to see before.
A new and exciting world of loveliness opened before her. She now found it thrilling even to wash dishes in the kitchen sink. “I begin to play with the white fluffy suds in the dishpan,” she writes. “I dip my hands into them and I pick up a ball of tiny soap bubbles. I hold them up against the light, and in each of them I can see the brilliant colours of a miniature rainbow.”
As she looked through the window above the kitchen sink, she saw “the flapping grey black wings of the sparrows flying through the thick, falling snow.”
She found such ecstasy looking at the soap bubbles and sparrows that she closed her book with these words: “ ‘Dear Lord,’ I whisper, ‘Our Father in Heaven, I thank Thee. I thank Thee.’ ”
Imagine thanking God because you can wash dishes and see rainbows in bubbles and sparrows flying through the snow.
You and I ought to be ashamed of ourselves. All the days of our years we have been living in a fairyland of beauty, but we have been too blind to see, too satiated to enjoy.
If we want to stop worrying and start living.Rule 4 is:
Find Yourself and be Yourself: Remember There is No One Else on Earth Like You
Here is the way a poet the late Douglas Mallochsaid it:
If you can’t be a pine on the top of the hill.
Be a scrub in the valley but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush, if you can’t be a tree.
If you can’t be a bush, be a bit of the grass.
And some highway happier make;
If you can’t be a muskie, then just be a bass
But the liveliest bass in the lake!
We can’t all be captains, we’ve got to be crew.
There’s something for all of us here.
There’s big work to do and there’s lesser to do
And the task we must do is the near.
If you can’t be a highway, then just be a trail,
If you can’t be the sun, be a star;
It isn’t by the size that you win or you fail
Be the best of whatever you are!
To cultivate a mental attitude that will bring us peace and freedom from worry, here is Rule 5:
If You Have a Lemon, Make a Lemonade
Two men looked out from prison bars,
One saw the mud, the other saw stars.
Once when Ole Bull, the world famous violinist, was giving a concert in Paris, the A string on his violin suddenly snapped. But Ole Bull simply finished the melody on three strings. “That is life,” says Harry Emerson Fosdick, “to have your A string snap and finish on three strings.”
That is not only life. It is more than life. It is life triumphant!
If I had the power to do so, I would have these words of William Bolitho carved in eternal bronze and hung in every schoolhouse in the land:
“The most important thing in life is not to capitalize on your gains. Any fool can do that. The really important thing is to profit from your losses. That requires intelligence; and it makes the difference between a man of sense and a fool.”
So, to cultivate a mental attitude that will bring us peace and happiness, let’s do something about Rule 6:
How to Cure Melancholy in Fourteen Days
Let’s turn for advice to the most distinguished American atheist of the twentieth century: Theodore Dreiser. Dreiser ridiculed all religions as fairy tales and regarded life as “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Yet Dreiser advocated the one great principle that Jesus taught service to others. “If he [man] is to extract any joy out of his span,” Dreiser said, “he must think and plan to make things better not only for himself but for others, since joy for himself depends upon his joy in others and theirs in him.” If we are going “to make things better for others” as Dreiser advocated let’s be quick about it. Time is awastin’. “I shall pass this way but once. Therefore any good that I can do or any kindness that I can show let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
So if you want to banish worry and cultivate peace and happiness, here is Rule 7:
The Golden Rule for Conquering Worry
How My Mother and Father Conquered Worry
Even if you are not a religious person by nature or training even if you are an out and out sceptic prayer can help you muchmore than you believe, for it is a practical thing. What do I mean, practical? I mean that prayer fulfils these three very basic psychological needs which all people share, whether they believe in God or not:
- Prayer helps us to put into words exactly what is troubling us. We saw in Chapter 4 that it is almost impossible to deal with a problem while it remains vague and nebulous. Praying, in a way, is very much like writing our problem down on paper. If we ask help for a problem even from God we must put it into words.
- Prayer gives us a sense of sharing our burdens, of not being alone. Few of us are so strong that we can bear our heaviest burdens, our most agonising troubles, all by ourselves. Sometimes our worries are of so intimate a nature that we cannot discuss them even with our closest relatives or friends. Then prayer is the answer. Any psychiatrist will tell us that when we are pent up and tense, and in an agony of spirit, it is therapeutically good to tell someone our troubles. When we can’t tell anyone else we can always tell God.
- Prayer puts into force an active principle of doing. It’s a first step toward action. I doubt if anyone can pray for some fulfilment, day after day, without benefiting from it in other words, without taking some steps to bring it to pass. A world famous scientist said: “Prayer is the most powerful form of energy one can generate.” So why not make use of it? Call it God or Allah or Spirit why quarrel with definitions as long as the mysterious powers of nature take us in hand?
Why not close this book right now, go to your bedroom, shut the door, kneel down, and unburden your heart? If you have lost your religion, beseech Almighty God to renew your faith. Say: “O God, I can no longer fight my battles alone. I need Your help, Your love. Forgive me for all my mistakes. Cleanse my heart of all evil. Show me the way to peace and quiet and health, and fill me with love even for my enemies.”
If you don’t know how to pray, repeat this beautiful and inspiring prayer written by St. Francis seven hundred years ago:
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning, that we are pardoned and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
How to Keep from Worrying about Criticism
Remember that No One Ever Kicks a Dead Dog
In 1862, General Grant won the first great decisive victory that the North had enjoyed a victory that was achieved in one afternoon, a victory that made Grant a national idol overnight a victory that had tremendous repercussions even in far off Europe a victory that set church bells ringing and bonfires blazing from Maine to the banks of the Mississippi. Yet within six weeks after achieving that great victory, Grant hero of the North was arrested and his army was taken from him. He wept with humiliation and despair.
Why was General U.S. Grant arrested at the flood tide of his victory? Largely because he had aroused the jealousy and envy of his arrogant superiors.
If we are tempted to be worried about unjust criticism here is Rule 1:
Do This and Criticism Can’t Hurt You
When Charles Schwab was addressing the student body at Princeton, he confessed that one of the most important lessons he had ever learned was taught to him by an old German who worked in Schwab’s steel mill. The old German got involved in a hot wartime argument with the other steelworkers, and they tossed him into the river. “When he came into my office,” Mr. Schwab said, “covered with mud and water, I asked him what he had said to the men who had thrown him into the river, and he replied: ‘I just laughed.’”
Mr. Schwab declared that he had adopted that old German’s words as his motto: “Just laugh.” That motto is especially good when you are the victim of unjust criticism. You can answer the man who answers you back, but what can you say to the man who “just laughs”?
Lincoln might have broken under the strain of the Civil War if he hadn’t learned the folly of trying to answer all his savage critics. He finally said: “If I were to try to read, much less to answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, then what is said against me won’t matter. If the end brings me out wrong, then ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”
When you and I are unjustly criticised, let’s remember Rule 2:
Fool Things I Have Done
I know a former soap salesman who used even to ask for criticism. When he first started out selling soap for Colgate, orders came slowly. He worried about losing his job. Since he knew there was nothing wrong with the soap or the price, he figured that the trouble must be himself. When he failed to make a sale, he would often walk around the block trying to figure out what was wrong. Had he been too vague? Did he lack enthusiasm? Sometimes he would go back to the merchant and say: “I haven’t come back here to try to sell you any soap. I have come back to get your advice and your criticism. Won’t you please tell me what I did that was wrong when I tried to sell you soap a few minutes ago? You are far more experienced and successful than I am. Please give me your criticism. Be frank. Don’t pull your punches.”
This attitude won him a lot of friends and priceless advice.
What do you suppose happened to him? Today, he is president of the Colgate Palmolive Peet Soap Company the world’s largest makers of soap. His name is E. H. Little. Last year, only fourteen people in America had a larger income than he had: $240,141.
It takes a big man to do what H. P. Howell, Ben Franklin, and E. H. Little did. And now, while nobody is looking, why not peep into the mirror and ask yourself whether you belong in that kind of company?
To keep from worrying about criticism, here is Rule 3:
Six Ways to Prevent Fatigue and Worry and Keep Your Energy and Spirits High
How To Add One Hour A Day To Your Waking Life:Do what the Army does take frequent rests. Do what your heart does rest before you get tired, and you will add one hour a day to your waking life.Rest before you get tired.
What Makes You Tired and What You Can Do About ItHere are five suggestions that will help you learn to relax:
- Read one of the best books ever written on this subject: Release from Nervous Tension, by Dr. David Harold Fink.
- Relax in odd moments. Let your body go limp like an old sock. I keep an old, maroon coloured sock on my desk as I work keep it there as a reminder of how limp I ought to be. If you haven’t got a sock, a cat will do. Did you ever pick up a kitten sleeping in the sunshine? If so, both ends sagged like a wet newspaper. Even the yogis in India say that if you want to master the art of relaxation, study the cat. I never saw a tired cat, a cat with a nervous breakdown, or a cat suffering from insomnia, worry, or stomach ulcers. You will probably avoid these disasters if you learn to relax as the cat does.
- Work, as much as possible, in a comfortable position. Remember that tensions in the body produce aching shoulders and nervous fatigue.
- Check yourself four or five times a day, and say to yourself: “Am I making my work harder than it actually is? Am I using muscles that have nothing to do with the work I am doing?” This will help you form the habit of relaxing, and as Dr. David Harold Fink says: “Among those who know psychology best, it is habits two to one.”
- Test yourself again at the end of the day, by asking yourself: “Just how tired am I? If I am tired, it is not because of the mental work I have done but because of the way I have done it.” “I measure my accomplishments,” says Daniel W. Josselyn, “not by how tired I am at the end of the day, but how tired I am not.” He says: “When I feel particularly tired at the end of the day, or when irritability proves that my nerves are tired, I know beyond question that it has been an inefficient day both as to quantity and quality.” If every businessman would learn that same lesson, the death rate from “hypertension” diseases would drop overnight. And we would stop filling up our sanatoriums and asylums with men who have been broken by fatigue and worry.
How the Housewife can Avoid Fatigue and Keep Looking Young
If you are a housewife, protect your health and appearance by relaxing at home.
All right, then, here are some exercises you can do in your home. Try them for a week and see what you do for your looks and disposition!
- Lie flat on the floor whenever you feel tired. Stretch as tall as you can. Roll around if you want to. Do it twice a day.
- Close your eyes. You might try saying, as Professor Johnson recommended, something like this: ‘ ‘The sun is shining overhead. The sky is blue and sparkling. Nature is calm and in control of the world and I, as nature’s child, am in tune with the Universe.” Or better still pray!
- If you cannot lie down, because the roast is in the oven and you can’t spare the time, then you can achieve almost the same effect sitting down in a chair. A hard, upright chair is the best for relaxing. Sit upright in the chair like a seated Egyptian statue, and let your hands rest, palms down, on the tops of your thighs.
- Now, slowly tense the toes then let them relax. Tense the muscles in your legs—and let them relax. Do this slowly upward, with all the muscles of your body, until you get to the neck. Thenlet your head roll around heavily, as though it were a football. Keep saying to your muscles (as in the previous chapter): “Let go ... let go ...”
- Quiet your nerves with slow, steady breathing. Breathe from deep down. The yogis of India were right: rhythmical breathing is one of the best methods ever discovered for soothing the nerves.
- Think of the wrinkles and frowns in your face, and smooth them all out. Loosen up the worry creases you feel between your brows, and at the sides of your mouth. Do this twice a day, and maybe you won’t have to go to a beauty parlour to get a massage. Maybe the lines will disappear from the inside out!
Four Good Working Habits that will Help Prevent Fatigue and Worry
Apply these four good working habits
- Clear your desk of all papers except those relating to the immediate problem at hand.
- Do things in the order of their importance.
- When you face a problem, solve it then and there if you have the facts necessary to make a decision.
- Learn to organise, deputise, and supervise.
How to Banish the Boredom that Produces Fatigue, Worry, and Resentment
By thinking the right thoughts, you can make any job less distasteful. Your boss wants you to be interested in your job so that he will make more money. But let’s forget about what the boss wants. Think only of what getting interested in your job will do for you. Remind yourself that it may double the amount of happiness you get out of life, for you spend about one half of your waking hours at your work, and if you don’t find happiness in your work, you may never find it anywhere. Keep reminding yourself that getting interested in your job will take your mind off your worries, and, in the long run, will probably bring promotion and increased pay. Even if it doesn’t do that, it will reduce fatigue to a minimum and help you enjoy your hours of leisure.
How to Keep from Worrying About Insomnia
To keep from worrying about insomnia, here are five rules:
- If you can’t sleep, do what Samuel Untermyer did. Get up and work or read until you do feel sleepy.
- Remember that no one was ever killed by lack of sleep. Worrying about insomnia usually causes far more damage than sleeplessness.
- Try prayer or repeat Psalm XXIII, as Jeanette MacDonald does.
- Relax your body. Read the book Release from Nervous Tension.
- Exercise. Get yourself so physically tired you can’t stay awake.
How to Find the Kind of Work in Which You May be Happy and Successful
The Major Decision of Your LifeHere is a list of questions you could ask:
- If you had your life to live over, would you become an architect again?
- After you have sized me up, I want to ask you whether you think I have what it takes to succeed as an architect.
- Is the profession of architecture overcrowded?
- If I studied architecture for four years, would it be difficult for me to get a job? What kind of job would I have to take at first?
- If I had average ability, how much could I hope to earn during the first five years?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of being an architect?
- If I were your son, would you advise me to become an architect?
If you are timid, and hesitate to face a “big shot” alone, here are two suggestions that will help.
First, get a lad of your own age to go with you. The two of you will bolster up one another’s confidence. If you haven’t someone of your own age to go with you, ask your father to go with you.
Second, remember that by asking his advice you are paying this man a compliment. He may feel flattered by your request. Remember that adults like to give advice to young men and women. The architect will probably enjoy the interview.
How to Lessen Your Financial Worries
Here’s something to consider-where your money is concerned, you’re in business for yourself! And it is literally “your business” what you do with your money.
But what are the principles of managing our money? How do we begin to make a budget and a plan? Here are eleven rules.
RULE 9.1: Get the facts down on paper.
When Arnold Bennett started out in London fifty years ago to be a novelist, he was poor and hardpressed. So he kept a record of what he did with every six pence. Did he wonder where his money was going? No. He knew. He liked the idea so much that he continued to keep such a record even after he became rich, world famous, and had a private yacht.
John D. Rockefeller, Sr., also kept a ledger. He knew to the penny just where he stood before he said his prayers at night and climbed into bed.
You and I, too, will have to get notebooks and start keeping records. For the rest of our lives? No, not necessarily. Experts on budgets recommend that we keep an accurate account of every nickel we spend for at least the first month and, if possible, for three months. This is to give us an accurate record of where our money goes, so we can draw up a budget.
Oh, you know where your money goes? Well, maybe so; but if you do, you are one in a thousand! Mrs. Stapleton tells me it is a common occurrence for men and women to spend hours giving her facts and figures, so she can get them down on paper then, when they see the result on paper, they exclaim: “Is that the way my money goes?” They can hardly believe it. Are you like that? Could be.
RULE 9.2: Get a tailor made budget that really fits your needs.
Mrs. Stapleton tells me that two families may live side by side in identical houses, in the very same suburb, have the same number of children in the family, and receive the same income yet their budgeting needs will be radically different. Why? Because people are different. She says a budget has to be a personal, custom made job.
The idea of a budget is not to wring all the joy out of life. The idea is to give us a sense of material security which in many cases means emotional security and freedom from worry. “People who live on budgets,” Mrs. Stapleton told me, “are happier people.”
But how do you go about it? First, as I said, you must list all expenses. Then get advice. In many cities of twenty thousand and up, you will find family welfare societies that will gladly give you free advice on financial problems and help you draw up a budget to fit your income.
RULE 9.3: Learn how to spend wisely.
By this I mean: learn how to get the best value for your money. All large corporations have professional buyers and purchasing agents who do nothing but get the very best buys for their firms. As steward and manager of your personal estate, why shouldn’t you do likewise?
RULE 9.4: Don’t increase your headaches with your income.
Mrs. Stapleton told me that the budgets she dreads most to be called into consultation on are family incomes of five thou sand dollars a year. I asked her why. “Because,” she said, “five thousand a year seems to be a goal to most American families. They may go along sensibly and sanely for years then, when their income rises to five thousand a year, they think they have ‘arrived’. They start branching out. Buy a house in the suburbs, ‘that doesn’t cost any more than renting an apartment’. Buy a car,a lot of new furniture, and a lot of new clothes and the first thing you know, they are running into the red. They are actually less happy than they were the first before, because they have bitten off too much with their increase in income.”
That is only natural. We all want to get more out of life. But in the long run, which is going to bring us more happiness forcing ourselves to live within a tight budget, or having dunning letters in the mail and creditors pounding on the front door?
RULE 9.5: Try to build credit, in the event you must borrow.
If you are faced with an emergency and find you must borrow, life insurance policies, Defence Bonds and Savings Certificates are literally money in your pocket. However, be sure your insurance policies have a savings aspect, if you want to borrow on them, for this means a cash value. Certain types of insurance, called “term insurance”, are merely for your protection over a given period of time and do not build up reserves. These policies are obviously of no use to you for borrowing purposes. Therefore, the rule is: Ask questions! Before you sign for a policy, find out if it has a cash value in case you have to raise money.
Now, suppose you haven’t insurance you can borrow on, and you haven’t any bonds, but you do own a house, or a car, or some other kind of collateral. Where do you go to borrow? By all means, to a bank! Banks all over this land are subject to strict regulation; they have a reputation to maintain in the community; the rate of interest they can charge is fixed firmly by law; and they will deal with you fairly. Frequently, if you are in a financial jam, the bank will go so far as to discuss your problems with you, make a plan, and help you work your way out of your worry and indebtedness. I repeat, I repeat, if you have collateral, go to a bank!
However, suppose you are one of the thousands who don’t have collateral, don’t own any property, and have nothing to offer as guarantee except your wages or salary? Then, as you value your life, heed this word of warning! Do not do not apply to the first“loan company” whose alluring advertisements you see in the paper. These people, to read some of their ads, are as generous as Santa Claus. Don’t you believe it! However, there are some companies that are ethical, honest, and strictly on the level. They are doing a service to those people who are faced with illness or emergency and have to raise money. They charge a higher rate of interest than the banks, but they have to do this, for they take greater risks and have greater expenses in collecting. But, before doing business with any loan company, go to your bank, talk to one of its officers, and ask him to recommend a loan company that he knows to be fair. Otherwise otherwise well, I don’t want to give you nightmares, but here is what can happen:
At one time a newspaper in Minneapolis conducted an investigation into loan companies that were supposedly operating within the regulations laid down by the Russell Sage Foundation. I know a man who worked on that investigation his name is Douglas Lurton, and he is now editor of Your Life magazine. Doug Lurton tells me that the abuses he saw among the poorer class of debtors would make your hair stand on end. Loans that had begun as a mere fifty dollars had soared and multiplied to three and four hundred dollars before they were paid. Wages were garnished; and, frequently, the man whose wages were attached was fired by his company. In numerous instances, when the man was unable to pay, the loan sharks simply sent an appraiser into his home to “evaluate” his furniture and cleaned out the home! People were found who had been paying on small loans for four and five years and still owed money! Unusual cases? To quote Doug Lurton: “In our campaign, we so flooded the court with cases of this sort that the judges cried uncle, and the newspaper itself had to set up an arbitration bureau to take care of the hundreds of cases.”
How is such a thing possible? Well, the answer, of course, is in all sorts of hidden charges and extra “legal fees”. Here is a rule to remember in dealing with loan companies: if you are absolutely certain, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that you can pay the money off quickly, then your interest will be low, orreasonably low, and you will get off fairly. But if you have to renew, and keep on renewing, then your interest can mount into figures that would make Einstein dizzy. Doug Lurton tells me that in some cases these additional fees had swollen the original indebtedness to two thousand per cent, or about five hundred times as much as a bank would charge!
RULE 9.6: Protect yourself against illness, fire, and emergency expenses.
Insurance is available, for relatively small sums, on all kinds of accidents, misfortunes, and conceivable emergencies. I am not suggesting that you cover yourself for everything from slipping in the bathtub to catching German measles but I do suggest that you protect yourself against the major misfortunes that you know could cost you money and therefore do cost you worry. It’s cheap at the price.
For example, I know a woman who had to spend ten days in a hospital last year and, when she came out, was presented a bill for exactly eight dollars! The answer? She had hospital insurance.
RULE 9.7: Do not have your life insurance proceeds paid to your widow in cash.
If you are carrying life insurance to provide for your family after you’re gone, do not, I beg of you, have your insurance paid in one lump sum.
What happens to “a new widow with new money”? I’ll let Mrs. Marion S. Eberly answer that question. She is head of the Women’s Division of the Institute of Life Insurance, 60 East 42nd Street, New York City. She speaks before women’s clubs all over America on the wisdom of using life insurance proceeds to purchase a life income for the widow instead of giving her the proceeds in cash. She tells me one widow who received twenty thousand dollars in cash and lent it to her son to start in the autoaccessory business. The business failed, and she is destitute now. She tells of another widow who was persuaded by a slickvacant lots that were “sure to double in value within a year”. Three years later, she sold the lots for one tenth of what she paid for them. She tells of another widow who had to apply to the Child Welfare Association for the support of her childrenwithin twelve months after she had been left fifteen thousand dollars in life insurance. A hundred thousand similar tragedies could be told.
“The average lifetime of twenty five thousand dollars left in the hands of a woman is less than seven years.” That statement was made by Sylvia S. Porter, financial editor of the New York Post, in the Ladies’ Home Journal.
Years ago, The Saturday Evening Post said in an editorial: “The ease with which the average widow without business training, and with no banker to advise her, can be wheedled into putting her husband’s life insurance money into wildcat stocks by the first slick salesman who approaches her is proverbial. Any lawyer or banker can cite a dozen cases in which the entire savings of a thrifty man’s lifetime, amassed by years of sacrifice and self denial, were swept away simply because a widow or an orphan trusted one of the slick crooks who rob women for a livelihood.”
If you want to protect your widow and your children, why not take a tip from J. P. Morgan one of the wisest financiers who ever lived. He left money in his will to sixteen principal legatees. Twelve were women. Did he leave these women cash? No. He left trust funds that ensured these women a monthly income for life.
RULE 9.8: Teach your children a responsible attitude toward money.
I shall never forget an idea I once read in Your Life magazine. The author, Stella Weston Turtle, described how she was teaching her little girl a sense of responsibility about money. She got an extra cheque book from the bank and gave it to her nine year old daughter. When the daughter was given her weekly allowance, she “deposited” the money with her mother, whoserved as a bank for the child’s funds. Then, throughout the week, whenever she wanted a cent or two, she “drew a cheque” for that amount and kept track of her balance. The little girl not only found that fun, but began to learn real responsibility in handling her money.
This is an excellent method and if you have a son or daughter of school age, and you want this child to learn how to handle money, I recommend it for your consideration.
RULE 9.9: If necessary, make a little extra money off your kitchen stove.
If after you budget your expenses wisely you still find that you don’t have enough to make ends meet, you can then do one of two things: you can either scold, fret, worry, and complain, or you can plan to make a little additional money on the side. How? Well, all you have to do to make money is to fill an urgent need that isn’t being adequately filled now. That is what Mrs. Nellie Speer, 37 09 83rd Street, Jackson Heights, New York, did. In 1932, she found herself living alone in a three room apartment. Her husband had died, and both of her children were married. One day, while having some ice-cream at a drug store soda fountain, she noticed that the fountain was also selling bakery pies that looked sad and dreary. She asked the proprietor if he would buy some real home made pies from her. He ordered two. “Although I was a good cook,” Mrs. Speer said, as she told me the story, “I had always had servants when we lived in Georgia, and I had never baked more than a dozen pies in my life. After getting that order for two pies, I asked a neighbour woman how to cook an applepie. The sodafountain customers were delighted with my first two home baked pies, one apple, one lemon. The drugstore ordered five the next day. Then orders gradually came in from other fountains and luncheonettes. Within two years, I was baking five thousand pies a yearI was doing all the work myself in my own tiny kitchen, and I was making a thousand dollars a year clear, without a penny’s expense except the ingredients that went into the pies.”
The demand for Mrs. Speer’s home baked pastry became so great that she had to move out of her kitchen into a shop and hire two girls to bake for her: pies, cakes, bread, and rolls. During the war, people stood in line for an hour at a time to buy her home baked foods.
“I have never been happier in my life,” Mrs. Speer said. “I work in the shop twelve to fourteen hours a day, but I don’t get tired because it isn’t work to me. It is an adventure in living. I am doing my part to make people a little happier. I am too busy to be lonesome or worried. My work has filled a gap in my life left vacant by the passing of my mother and husband and my home.”
When I asked Mrs. Speer if she felt that other women who were good cooks could make money in their spare time in a similar way, in towns of ten thousand and up, she replied: “Yes of course they can!”
Mrs.Ora Snyder will tell you the same thing. She lives in a town of thirty thousand May wood, Illinois. Yet she started in business with the kitchen stove and ten cents’ worth of ingredients. Her husband fell ill. She had to earn money. But how? No experience. No skill. No capital. Just a housewife. She took the white of an egg and sugar and made some candy on the back of the kitchen stove; then she took her pan of candy and stood near the school and sold it to the children for a penny a piece as they went home. “Bring more pennies tomorrow,” she said. “I’ll be here every day with my home made candy.” During the first week, she not only made a profit, but had also put a new zest into living. She was making both herself and the children happy. No time now for worry.
This quiet little housewife from May wood, Illinois, was so ambitious that she decided to branch out—to have an agent sell her kitchen made candy in roaring, thundering Chicago. She timidly approached an Italian selling peanutson the street. He shrugged his shoulders. His customers wanted peanuts, not candy. She gave him a sample. He liked it, began selling her candy, and made a good profit for Mrs. Snyder on the first day.
Four years later, she opened her first store in Chicago. It was only eight feet wide. She made her candy at night and sold it in the daytime. This erstwhile timid housewife, who started her candy factory on her kitchen stove, now has seventeen stores fifteen of them in the busy Loop district of Chicago.
Here is the point I am trying to make. Nellie Speer, in Jackson Heights, New York, and Mrs.Ora Snyder, in Maywood, Illinois, instead of worrying about finances, did something positive. They started in an extremely small way to make money off the kitchen stove no overhead, no rent, no advertising, no salaries. Under these conditions, it is almost impossible for a woman to be defeated by financial worries.
Look around you. You will find many needs that are not filled. For example, if you train yourself to be a good cook, you can probably make money by starting cooking classes for young girls right in your own kitchen. You can get your students by ringing door bells.
Books have been written about how to make money in your spare time; inquire at your public library. There are many opportunities for both men and women. But one word of warning: unless you have a natural gift for selling, don’t attempt door to door selling. Most people hate it and fail at it.
RULE 9.10: Don’t gamble ever.
I am always astounded by the people who hope to make money by betting on the ponies or playing slot machines. I know a man who makes his living by owning a string of these “one armed bandits”, and he has nothing but contempt for the foolish people who are so naive as to imagine that they can beat a machine that is already rigged against them.
I also know one of the best known bookmakers in America. He was a student in my adult education classes. He told me that with all his knowledge of horse racing, he couldn’t make money betting on the ponies. Yet the facts are that foolish people bet six billion dollars a year on the races—six times as much as our total national debt back in 1910. This bookmaker also told me that if he had an enemy he despised, he could think of no better way of ruining him than by getting him to bet on the races. When I asked him what would happen to the man who played the races according to the tipster sheets, he replied: “You could lose the Mint by betting that way.”
If we are determined to gamble, let’s at least be smart. Let’s find out what the odds are against us. How? By reading a book entitled How to Figure the Odds, by Oswald Jacoby an authority on bridge and poker, a top ranking mathematician, a professional statistician, and an insurance actuary. This book devotes 215 pages to telling you what the odds are against your winning when you play the ponies, roulette, craps, slot machines, draw poker, stud poker, contract bridge, auction pinochle, the stock market. This book also give you the scientific, mathematical chances on a score of other activities. It doesn’t pretend to show how to make money gambling. The author has no axe to grind. He merely shows you what the odds are against your winning in all the usual ways of gambling; and when you see the odds, you will pity the poor suckers who stake their hard earned wages on horse races or cards or dice or slot machines. If you are tempted to shoot craps or play poker or bet on horses, this book may save you a hundred times yes, maybe a thousand times what it costs.
RULE 9.11: If we can’t possibly improve our financial situation, let’s be good to ourselves and stop resenting what can’t be changed.
If we can’t possibly improve our financial situation, maybe we can improve our mental attitude towards it. Let’s remember that other people have their financial worries, too. We may be worried because we can’t keep up with the Joneses; but the Joneses are probably worried because they can’t keep up with the Ritzes; and the Ritzes are worried because they can’t keep up with the Vanderbilts.
Some of the most famous men in American history have had their financial troubles. Both Lincoln and Washington had to borrow money to make the trip to be inaugurated as President.
If we can’t have all we want, let’s not poison our days and sour our dispositions with worry and resentment. Let’s be good to ourselves. Let’s try to be philosophical about it. “If you have what seems to you insufficient,” said one of Rome’s greatest philosophers, Seneca, “then you will be miserable even if you possess the world.”
And let’s remember this: even if we owned the entire United States with a hogtight fence around it, we could eat only three meals a day and sleep in only one bed at a time.