Dr. Musgrove to his Nervous Breakdowns, tells a story of two commanders which well illustrates this point:
In a certain war two companies of men had to march an equal distance in order to meet at a particular spot. The one arrived in perfect order, and with few signs of exhaustion, although the march had been an arduous one. The other company reached the place utterly done up and disorganised. It was all a question of leadership; the captain of the first company had known his way and kept his men in good order, while the captain of the second company had never been sure of himself, and had harassed his subordinates with a constant succession of orders and counter-orders, until they had hardly known whether they were on their heads or their heels. That was why they arrived completely demoralised.
In war, as in peace, it is not work that kills so much as worry. A general may make his soldiers work to the point of exhaustion as Napoleon often did, yet have their almost adoring worship. But the general who worries his men gets neither their good will nor good work.
A worrying mother can keep a whole house in a turmoil, from father down to the latest baby. The growing boys and girls soon learn to dread the name of “home,” and would rather be in school, in the backyard playing, in the attic, at the neighbors, or in the streets, anywhere, than within the sound of their mother’s worrying voice, or frowning countenance. A worrying husband can drive his wife distracted, and vice versa. I was dining not long ago with a couple that, from outward appearance, had everything that heart could desire to make them happy. They were young, healthy, had a good income, were both engaged in work they liked, yet the husband worried the wife constantly about trifles. If she wished to set the table in a particular way he worried because she didn’t do it some other way; if she drove one of their autos he worried because she didn’t take the other; and when she wore a spring-day flowery kind of a hat he worried her because his mother never wore any other than a black hat. The poor woman was distracted by the absolute absurdities, frivolities and inconsequentialities of his worries, yet he didn’t seem to have sense to see what he was doing. So I gave him a plain practical talk—as I had been drawn into a discussion of the matter without any volition on my part—and urged him to quit irritating his wife so foolishly and so unnecessarily.