Six major troubles hit me all at once.
- My business college was trembling on the verge of financial disaster because all the boys were going to war; and most of the girls were making more money working in war plants without training than my graduates could make in business offices with training.
- My older son was in service, and I had the heart-numbing worry coming to all parents whose sons were away at war.
- Oklahoma City had already started proceedings to condemn a large track of land for an airport, and my home – formerly my father’s home – was located in the center of this tract. I knew that I would be paid only one tenth of its value.
- The water well on my property went dry because a drainage canal had been dug near my home. To dig a new well would be throwing five hundred dollars away because the land was already being condemned. I had to carry water to my livestock in buckets every morning for two months, and I feared I would have to continue it during the rest of the war.
- I lived ten miles away from my business school and had a class B gasoline card: that meant I couldn’t buy any new tires, so I worried about how I could ever get to work when the super annotated tired on my old Ford gave up the ghost.
- My oldest daughter had graduated form high school year ahead of schedule. She had her heart set on going to college, and I just didn’t have the money to send her. I knew her heart would be broken.
This specific individual went on to say that one afternoon while sitting in his office, worrying about his worries, he decided to write them all down for it seemed no one ever had more to worry about than he had. He could do nothing to solve them. So he decided to write them down and file them away. Months went on and he had forgotten that the list even existed. Eighteen months later he went through his files and there was the list that he wrote 1.5 years earlier. Well, the problems solved themselves.
- I saw that all my worries about having to close my business college had been useless because the government had started paying business schools for training veterans and my school was soon filled to capacity.
- I saw that all my worries about my son in service had been useless; he was coming through the war without a scratch.
- I saw that all my worries about my land being condemned for use as an airport and been useless because oil had been struck within a mile of my farm and the cost of procuring the land for an airport thad become prohibitive.
- I saw that all my worries about having no well to water my stock had been also useless because, as soon as I knew my land would not be condemned, I spent my money necessary to dig a new well.
- I recapped my tires and managed how to survive.
- Sixty days before opening of college, I was offered – almost like a miracle – an auditioning job which I could do outside of school hours, and this job made it possible for me to send her to college on schedule.
I can turn myself into a shouting optimist within an hour!
One man said when he found himself depressed over his present conditions, he would, within an hour, banish worry and turn himself into an optimism. How?
He read 20th century history for about an hour. After that happened, he realized that bad as conditions were at the moment, they were infinitely better than they used to be. This enabled him to see and face his present troubles in a much more proper perspective, as well as to realize that the world as a whole is constantly growing better.
Here is a method that deserves a whole chapter. Read history! Try to get the viewpoint of ten thousand years – and see how trivial YOUR troubles are, in terms of eternity!
I was terribly depressed at one moment, and when I was, I forced myself to become physically active almost every hour of the day. I played five or six sets of violent games of tennis every morning, then took a bath, had lunch, and played eighteen holes of golf every afternoon. On Friday nights, I danced until one o’clock in the morning. I am a great believer in working up a tremendous sweat. I found that depression and worry oozed out of my system with the sweat.
Physical activity – which can involve any type of strenuous activity, allows you to take your mind off the present.
I am a great dismisser
When I turn from one task to another, I dismiss all thoughts of the problems I had been thinking about previously. I find it stimulating and refreshing to turn from one activity to another. It rests me. It clears my mind.
I have had to school myself to dismiss all these problems from my mind when I close my office desk. They are always continuing. Each one always has a set of unsolved problems demanding my attention. If I carried these issues home with me each night, and worried about them, I would destroy my health; and, in addition, I would destroy all ability to cope with them.
I was committing slow suicide because I didn’t know how to relax.
I used to rush through life in high gear. I was always tense, never relaxed. I arrived home from work every night worried and exhausted from nervous fatigue. Why? Because no one ever said, “Paul, you’re killing yourself!”
Every since then I have practiced relaxation. When I go to bed at night, I don’t try to go to sleep until I’ve consciously relaxed my body and my breathing. And now I wake up in the morning rested – a big improvement, because I used to wake up in the morning tired and tense. I relax and now when I eat and when I drive.