Dale Carnegie credits Willis H. Carrier, a brilliant engineer who launched the air-conditioning industry, and who headed the world-famous Carrier Corporation, in Syracuse, New York, with providing him with the best techniques he ever heard of for solving worry problems.
The story goes that when Carrier was a young man working for the Buffalo Forge Company in Buffalo, New York, he was handed the assignment of installing a gas-cleaning device in a plant of the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company—a plant costing millions of dollars, a huge sum in those days. The purpose of the installation was to remove the impurities from the gas so it could be burned without injuring the engines. It was a new method of cleaning gas and had only been tried once before, and under different conditions. The process worked somewhat, but not well enough to meet the guarantee Carrier’s company had made.
Carrier was stunned by his failure. It got to the point that he was so worried he couldn’t sleep. Finally, his common sense reminded him that worry wasn’t getting him anywhere; so he figured out a way to handle his problem without worrying—and it worked superbly.
Dale Carnegie, himself, used this same anti-worry technique for more than thirty years. It is simple. Anyone can use it. And it consists of three steps:
Step 1 — Analyze the situation fearlessly and honestly and figure out what was the worst that could possibly happen as a result of the failure.
Step 2 — After figuring out what was the worst that could happen, reconcile yourself to accepting it, if necessary.
Step 3 — From that point forward, calmly devote your time and energy to trying to improve upon the worst that you had already accepted mentally.
The key to this process is allowing yourself to stop worrying about the situation because one of the worst features about worrying is that it destroys our ability to concentrate. When we worry, our minds jump here and there and everywhere, and we lose all power of decision. However, when we force ourselves to face the worst and accept it mentally, we then eliminate all these vague imaginings and put ourselves in a position in which we are able to concentrate on our problem.
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