Charles Warren Stoddard used to tell of the great dread Mark Twain was wont to feel, during the exhaustion and reaction he felt at the close of each of his lectures, lest he should become incapable of further writing and lecturing and therefore become dependent upon his friends and die a pauper. How wonderfully he conquered this demon of perpetual worry all those who know his life are aware; how that, when his publisher failed he took upon himself a heavy financial burden, for which he was in no way responsible, went on a lecture tour around the world and paid every cent of it, and finally died with his finances in a most prosperous condition.
The anticipatory worries of others are just as senseless, foolish and absurd as were those of Mark Twain, and it is possible for every man to overcome them, even as did he.
The cloud we anticipate seldom, if ever, comes, and then, generally, in a different direction from where we sought it. Time spent on looking for the cloud, and figuring how much of injury it will do us had better be utilized in garnering the hay crop, bringing in the lambs, or hauling warm fodder and bedding for them.
There is another side, however, to this worrying anticipation of troubles. The ancient philosophers recognized it. Lucan wrote: “The very fear of approaching evil has driven many into peril.”
There are those who believe that the very concentration of thought upon a possible evil will bring to pass the peculiar arrangement of circumstances that makes the evil. Of this belief I am not competent to speak, but I am fully assured that it is far from helpful to be contemplating the possibility of evil. In my own life I have found that worrying over evils in anticipation has not prevented their coming, and, on the other hand, that where I have boldly faced the situation, without fear and its attendant worries, the evil has fled.
Hence, whether worries in hand, or worries to come, worries real or worries imaginary, the wise, sane and practical course is to kill them all and thus Quit Your Worrying.
HOW OUR WORRY AFFECTS OTHERS
If worry affected merely ourselves it would be bad enough, but we could tolerate it more than we do. For it is one of the infernal characteristics of worry that our manifestation of it invariably affects others as injuriously as it affects ourselves.
An employer who worries his employees never gets the good work out of them as does the one who has sense enough to keep them happy, good-natured and contented. I was lecturing once for a large corporation. I had two colleagues, who “spelled me” every hour. For much of the time we had no place to rest, work or play between our lectures. Our engagement lasted the better part of a year, and the result was that, during that period where our reasonable needs were unprovided for, we all failed to give as