How to Stop Worrying and Start Living Summary: Dale Carnegie

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living Summary

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living Summary provides a free book summary, key takeaways, review, top quotes, author biography and other critical points of Dale Carnegie’s famous book.

Dale Carnegie packs his books with time-tested wisdom. This book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living is about tips on how to stop worrying about issues. Carnegie presents some core precepts to help you avoid worrying. He mainly draws from common sense. Plus, people who’ve attained happiness and peace. He also compiles the sayings of business leaders and philosophers. Carnegie wrote this book during the 1940s. Hence, some examples may look old. But, his core principles are ageless. They are even ahead of that time. His writing is straightforward to read and relatable. He shows many techniques to let go of worries and become more productive. Thus, everyone should read this self-development bestseller.

“Shut off the past! Let the dead past bury its dead. Shut out the yesterdays which have lighted fools the way to dusty death.”

This Summary Will Help You Learn

  • Why stop wasting time obsessing over the past and worrying for the future;
  • How to examine a situation to fix it; and
  • Ways to change your mindset and become happy.


  • Your present is the most precious thing.
  • Learn to embrace the inevitable.
  • Stop worrying about both the future and the past. Live in today.
  • Leave old mistakes behind and move on.
  • Worrying makes you nervous and tense. This impacts your body functioning too.
  • Analyzing a problem will make you worry less as so you can fix it.
  • Busy yourself with other things. This something else must be constructive. It’s a useful technique because humans can’t think about two things at a time.
  • Don’t worry about small things.
  • Change your mindset and be positive.
  • Always be yourself, regardless of what happens. Don’t ever copy others.

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How to Stop Worrying and Start Living Summary

Stop Worrying About the Past or the Future

To learn the most from this classic, read the core principles. Then, consider how to use them. After that, apply them whenever there’s a chance. Keep a journal telling where and when you used them.

Most importantly, analyze the progress regularly. Think of ways to improve how you use these principles. Some core precepts which will help you stop worrying are:

Put the past in the past and focus on the present: Most times when you’re worried, you think of the past. And then, you blame yourself for things that went wrong. But, if you can apply this principle, you may remove many tensions. Like writer Thomas Carlyle said, “Don’t see what’s present dimly at some distance. Rather, do what’s there in your hand.”

Do not become anxious about the future: Another cause of worry is thinking of the future. Yes, it’s crucial to plan for the future. But, don’t get anxious about it. Understand that good thinking does cause and effect analysis. And, then it results in logical and positive planning. 

Focus on what you can do in the present. To stop worrying about the future or past, start living in today. Remember, today is the most valuable thing. It’s our only guaranteed possession.

Think of the worst that may happen. And, then get ready for that. Another way of avoiding worrying is analyzing the situation. Then, see what’s the worst thing that may happen. After that, prepare yourself to accept the situation. At the same time, divert your energy and time to improve the worst. And, this worst you’ve already agreed in your mind. This is a useful approach as it releases energy from the mind. Hence, when you embrace the worst, there’s nothing else to lose. This means there’s only to gain now. Such thought will keep you relaxed. Hence, do all that you can to improve the situation. Then move on.

What Worry Can Do To You

You may also stop worrying by knowing the risks of worry itself. A primary cause of worry is fear. If you worry, you get nervous and tense. Hence, worrying impacts your physical functioning. It can cause ulcers and illness. Mayo Clinic did a study on business executives. The findings showed that one-third of participants had three diseases linked to stress. These were high blood pressure, heart disease, and ulcers. Hence, worrying is very harmful to health. Keep reminding yourself of how worry can cost you. Your life will be extended if you worry less.

Get the Facts and Decide What to Do

You’ll also worry less if you review an issue. This way you can fix the situation. The first step is getting the facts right. Next, is to examine the facts. Lastly, arrive at a decision and act upon it. When you have the facts, you can do something about the issue. In the absence of facts, you’ll roam around in confusion.

In contrast, get the facts in a fair way. And then your worries will go away. Another way of getting facts reasonably is to imagine you’re gathering information for another person. This way you’ll think less emotionally. Try collecting facts for both ends of the issue. For example, a lawyer will collect facts to analyze a case’s weaknesses and strengths. It also helps in writing down what your exact worries are. Then, determine what to do and start. 

Make your staff use this technique. This will help decrease the issues they bring to you. For example, when keeping a problem-solving meet, ask the staff to do their analysis. Ask them to think about the problem and how to fix it. They must find themselves three things. First, what’s the issue? Second, what are its causes? Third, what’re the possible answers? And fourth, what solutions should I give? When employees do this, they’ll find answers. This will make them take the actions themselves. Hence, they’ll not need your guidance. 

Techniques to Break the Worry Habit

Remove worries by getting busy with some other thing – Human mind can’t think so many things at the same time. Hence, you can’t be happy about something and be worried at the same time. Thinking of what you like to will cloud your tensions. This is the reason why occupational therapy is useful for people having anxiety. It involves their mind somewhere else and distracts it from worries. So, stay busy to avoid worrying.

Don’t bother yourself over small things – You may end up getting tensed unnecessarily about minor matters. Such small jolts to your self-esteem are not needed. Hence, if you want mental peace, don’t mind trivial things. Avoid them as the law does. This is stated in the popular legal saying “De minimis non curat lex.” It means the law doesn’t bother itself with trifles. Hence, shift your focus, so your mind is on essential things. Don’t let yourself be sad over small things you must forget. Remind yourself that life is very short to be upset over such things.

Join forces with the inevitable – There’s no sense fighting against something which will happen. Instead, you should accept what indeed will happen. And then, you should act to take the best out of it. Because, if you resist then only you’ll end up hurting. Yes, fight hard if there’s something you can do to change the situation. But, if you can’t then let it go and move on.

The Law of Averages

By the law of averages, your tensions don’t have much reason. Thinking of this law will help you avoid taking tensions. It’s because you’ll understand that so many things you’re worried about never happen. Mostly, all our tensions and worries come from what we imagine. There’s little reality to it. Hence, be more practical about your concerns. Question yourself what’re the actual chances of something happening. And, if the answer is unlikely, there’s no need to worry about it.

Stock-loss over Principle

Apply the principle of stock-loss order to your tensions. For example, you plan to meet someone. But, that person isn’t on time. So, don’t wait and get upset. Instead, inform him/her in advance that you plan to wait for a specific time only. And then, leave when that waiting time is over. Through this, you decide beforehand how much energy and time you plan to spend. Don’t waste any more energy or time after that point.

Avoid Sawing Sawdust

This principle asks you to put old mistakes behind you. Move on. Review your past mistakes to learn from them. But, don’t stick to them or regret them. In other words, “there’s no point crying over spilled milk.” Worrying over things of the past means you’re trying to saw sawdust. This is a total waste of time.

Ways to Change Your Attitude

Apart from taking steps to avoid worrying, you also need to change your mindset. This’s because we are what our thoughts are. Hence, to worry less and shape your life, pick the right thoughts. This means keeping a positive attitude and not a negative one. Yes, have concerns about your problems. But, don’t get tense about them. Allow your positive mindset to help you take useful steps to solve the issues.

Being positive can have incredible effects. If you change your thoughts, you may remove fear, worry, and other illnesses. Even the Bible stresses the importance of keeping a positive mindset.

Only making up your attitude could be tough to change your emotions and feelings. But, you can do this if you change your actions. Such actions will influence your thoughts. For example, if you act the signs of being happy, you’ll feel satisfied. It’s physically not possible to stay unhappy if you’re acting happily. In simple terms, act happy, and you’ll feel happy. 

“Every day is a new life to a wise man.”

Other Keys to Gaining Peace and Happiness

Some other ways to gain a more optimistic attitude include:

  1. Avoid getting even or taking revenge if someone wronged you. Its because hating your enemies only gives them more power. Instead, ignore them and don’t think about them. As General Eisenhower said: don’t waste second thinking of people you hate.
  2. Don’t expect that others will be grateful. It’s because humans often don’t remember showing gratitude. It’s more of a surprise when they’re grateful. Instead, give for the pleasure of giving.
  3. Never count your problems. Instead, always count your blessing. This means focusing on the right and good things in your life. You’ll find that almost 90% of your life is going well. So, why focus on the rest of 10%?
  4. Focus on being who you are. Avoid trying to become someone else. Each person is unique. So, regardless of the situations, be yourself. Don’t copy others. Instead, find and stick to your real self.
  5. Use prayer, no matter what your religious background is. This will help keep you inspired. Prayer will help you give voice to what’s troubling you. You’ll feel as if you’re sharing your problems and aren’t alone. Hence, you’ll get a new sense of energy to solve your troubles.

If life gives you a lemon, make a lemonade. In simple terms, think of the lessons you could learn from a tough situation. For example, a farmer’s farm was infested with snakes. He discovered that by canning the snakes’ meat, he could offer a unique item. Thus, he earned a fortune from his problem. Same way, consider how you can turn threats into opportunities. Think of how you can make a profit from losses. Many people who began life with significant handicaps became great achievers as they overcame their weaknesses.

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How to Stop Worrying and Start Living Review

The worries of life are something that everyone faces in their lives on a routine basis, but the important thing is to stop worrying. This is what Dale Carnegie has tried to explain in this book that how people can start living their lives by stops worrying about issues. It is true that issues will be common in everyone’s life, but one has to remain firm in his/her life to face these worries, stop them and move forward. The author presents various methods that people can use to avoid being worried. It was important to get ideas from people, who are happy and successful in their lives. So, Dale Carnegie has used examples and material from the lives of those people, who have attained peace as well as happiness in their lives. The other good thing about this book is the inclusion of sayings from various famous philosophers and business leaders so that people can get good advice.

The other thing that I liked about this book is its straightforward approach, which allows every other common man to relate to it. You may read this book and say, this is what I am going through right now. Therefore, the book is a great asset for people, who have worries in life and not able to get over them. I loved one quote from the book for such people, which states that “Shut off the past! Let the dead past bury its dead. Shut out the yesterdays which have lighted fools the way to dusty death”. It certainly is not an easy thing to do, but if someone wants to enjoy their future life, they must bury and forget their past, which is filled with issues. One has to change his/her attitude towards life and be positive to avoid problems. People should never count their issues in life instead focus on their blessings. This book is very informative for people to live their lives in peace, contend, and happiness.

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living Quotes

“Shut off the past! Let the dead past bury its dead. Shut out the yesterdays which have lighted fools the way to dusty death.”

“Every day is a new life to a wise man.”

“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon – instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.”

“True peace of mind comes from accepting the worst. Psy­cho­log­i­cally, it means a release of energy.”

“Remind yourself of the exorbitant price you can pay for worry in terms of your health. Those who do not know how to fight worry die young.”

“If a man will devote his time to securing facts in an impartial, objective way, his worries will usually evaporate in the light of knowledge.”

“It is the failure to arrive at a fixed purpose, the inability to stop going round and round in maddening circles, that drives men to nervous breakdowns and living hells.”

“Worry is most apt to ride you ragged not when you are in action, but when the day’s work is done. Your imagination can run riot then and bring up all sorts of ridiculous pos­si­bil­i­ties and magnify each little blunder.”

“The remedy for worry is to get completely occupied doing something con­struc­tive.”

“We must accept and cooperate with the inevitable.”

About the Author

Dale Carnegie was a famous writer and motivational teacher. His books were all bestsellers during the 1940s. They also became the grounds for many corporate training programs and seminars. His most famous works include How to Win Friends and Influence People, How to Enjoy Your Life and Your Job, How to Develop Self-Confidence and Influence People by Public Speaking and The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking.


Do you enjoy How to Stop Worrying and Start Living Summary? How to Stop Worrying and Start Living is one of the famous books written by Dale Carnegie. His books help lots of people grow. Please feel free to share your comment with us.

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  1. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living Summary: Dale Carnegie by Francis, it is very interesting topics because this teaches us to Ways to change your mindset and become happy which very beneficial for our health and examine a situation in every stage. the most loved quotes is “Every day is a new life to a wise man.”

  2. By Nico “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living Summary: Dale Carnegie” explained, it is the very interesting point. Thank you for uploading this I feel myself getting better and breathing better already. So much wisdom in this book. Whenever I’m having a tough time I seem to find my way back to this summary

  3. There are some fascinating points in time on this article however I don’t know if I see all of them heart to heart. There’s some validity however I’ll take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we would like extra! Added to FeedBurner as nicely.

    • Hi Nedo,

      Thanks for your comment. We will continue to prepare more insightful summaries for our readers. Please revisit later!

  4. Yes. certainly, “Thinking about the future is not helpful”. Through this, we end up with worries and frustration. Thanks! for providing us descriptive article’s on how to stop worry.

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