Looking back on various moments in his own life, Carnegie saw cycles of worry, fear, and inertia, interspersed with action, improvement, and recovery. When he recalled the worries he’d had as a young boy, he often reflected that his greatest fears (such as being buried alive) were fruitless and unnecessary. Although his poverty had caused him constant distress, his family had survived. Perhaps he was even the better for it. Similarly, the despair he’d felt when he lost speaking contests at college gave way to triumph when he won all the prizes just a year later. Typically, he seized his bleakest hour, as a down-and-out Packard salesman in New York, to take direct action that would improve his life and help bring him closer to his dreams.
Reflecting on these transitions-especially with the added perspective of more years-Carnegie saw a common theme in his own experiences. Worry and fear were internal forces that held him back. Conquering worry and fear gave him a new hold on life.
Did other men and women have this pattern to their lives? He suspected they did, even though they might not admit it. Later, he would use the Dale Carnegie Course as a forum for discussing a topic that would have been taboo in any academic program. Let people talk about their fears and worries. That could become the first step toward conquering them!
St. Martin's Press