• May 2012

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Richard Carlson’s “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff About Money” is a book that has been on my shelf since 2001, the year I made the leap from full-time journalist to entrepreneur.

Making any career change is nerve-wracking, at best, so the simple, sage advice provided in the pages of Carlson’s book made me feel better every time I picked it up.

When I launched Be Inkandescent magazine in January 2010, he was tops on my list to feature as an Entrepreneur of the Month. Needless to say, it came as a shock when I learned that Carlson had died of a pulmonary embolism on Dec. 13, 2006.

“He was on an airplane bound for New York when he fell asleep and died,” explained his wife, Kristine, when I interviewed her in April 2012. “I’ll never forget getting that call with the news. In the beginning, I thought I would be in deep grief forever. But now I know differently. Richard had such an extraordinary way of seeing the world, and an extraordinary way of expressing it. In some ways, he’s still here.”

Kristine admits it took time, and courage, but she is proud to release the first addition to the Don’t Sweat series since Richard’s death: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Moms. It hits bookstores this month in celebration of Mother’s Day. Because Richard’s goal was to help entrepreneurs, Kristine gave us permission to run the introduction to “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff About Money,” in our Tips column.

As you read on, consider these words of wisdom from Richard Carlson: “I’ve learned that there is often a fine line between success and failure. So often, the difference lies in overcoming worry. So, please, don’t sweat the small stuff. And it’s all small stuff.”

Here’s to your sweat-free life!Hope Katz Gibbs
Publisher Be Inkandescent • Founder Inkandescent PR

Richard Carlson Suggests 6 Ways to Create A Life of Abundance—And Fun

MAY 2012: DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF—AND IT’S ALL SMALL STUFF

When Richard Carlson passed away in December 2006, he left behind a legacy of 30 books that have helped millions learn not to let the small things in life get the best of them.

Carlson was considered one of the foremost experts on happiness and stress reduction, and his Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff series made publishing history as USA Today’s #1 bestselling book for two consecutive years. The title spent more than 100 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and is considered one of the fastest selling books of all time.

To inspire and calm you, following are six excerpts from Richard Carlson’s 100 tips. Illustrations by Michael Gibbs

1. Remember that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. “Sometimes, when you consider taking on a new venture—raising a child, writing a book, starting a new business, beginning a savings plan, or anything else—the task can seem overwhelming. It’s as though you’ll never be able to arrive at your final destination, as if the first step isn’t going to help. The trick to success sounds very simplistic, because it is very simple: Just begin. Take a single step, followed by another, and another. Don’t look too far out into the future, and don’t look too far back either. If you follow this simple plan, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish over time.”

2. Learn the magic of nonattachment. “Being attached to an outcome takes an enormous amount of energy—not only during an effort, but often after an effort is complete, after you’ve failed, or been let down, or were dealt a bad hand. Being nonattached, however, creates emotional freedom. It means holding on tightly but letting go lightly. It suggests trying hard, really caring, but at the same time being completely willing to let go of the outcome. It works like magic, allowing you to have fun in your efforts, and enjoy the process. Plus, it helps you succeed at whatever you are doing by giving you the confidence you need. You win regardless of the outcome. And, it helps you stay out of your own way.”

3. Become a stress-stopper. “There’s little doubt in the minds of most business people I’ve met that, overall, stress interferes with the quality of business. People who are too stressed are reactive and frightened, and tend to make more mistakes than those who are calm. If you want to maximize your chances for success and profit, when stress is present in your workplace or mind, you should do everything you can to prevent its spread. So when you get all riled up and bothered, keep what’s bothering you to yourself. Doing so can pay handsome rewards.”

4. Consider the possibility that if it sounds too good to be true, it might not be. “The suspicion, cynicism, and doubt that are inherent in this old adage can and do keep people from taking advantage of excellent opportunities. If you think it’s too good to be true, you’ll be very hesitant to take a careful look at it, and you’ll dismiss it as being superficial or too risky. What happens if you’re wrong? You’ll miss out. Being a nonworrier doesn’t guarantee success, but it sure makes it easier to spot opportunities when they come your way.

5. Learn about moods and money. “Moods are one of the unavoidable, mysterious parts of life that must be dealt with by everyone. Our understanding of moods greatly affects not only our wisdom and perspective, but our overall level of satisfaction. When we feel low, we think of our dissatisfactions more than when we feel good. The trick is to be grateful when your mood is high and graceful when it is low. The same dynamic applies to your creativity and ability to create abundance. When you are in a low mood, don’t make important business (or life) decisions. Don’t force it. Resist the temptation to worry about your moods. They are always changing, so simply realize that you are in a stuck place—and it’ll likely raise your spirits. Don’t worry! As your mood rises, your capacity to create will unfold.”

6. Pay yourself first. “On the surface, this is one of the least original ideas I have. Most financial professionals realize that it’s virtually impossible to accumulate great wealth without this type of discipline and wisdom. Despite its importance, however, a very small percentage of people actually implement this strategy. The major reason: worry. From this moment on, make a commitment to ignore all thoughts of worry and pay yourself—before anyone else. Write yourself a check, invest in yourself, and trust in yourself. You will then have enough for everything else.”

Don’t stop now! For more tips from Richard Carlson, click here.

Hung Up About Money? "Don't Sweat It," Insists Richard Carlson

By Richard Carlson, Ph.D. (1961-2006)

Author of the bestselling, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” book series

From the introduction to his 2001 book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff About Money.

When the subject of money comes up, there’s often stress in the air. Money is necessary, of course, but it’s confusing to most of us.

Most people feel they have too little of it; a few people have too much. Money causes rifts between friends as well as family members. Money breaks up marriages and lifelong friendships. I’ve heard there are more arguments, fights, and disagreements about money than about any other subject in the world.

People become greedy about money, and they become stubborn. Rarely does this topic bring out the best in someone; often it brings out the worst. Many people are foolish and wasteful with their money. Others become very controlling and uptight. To further complicate matters, money is often associated with power and prestige. Therefore, many people attach their self-esteem to their net worth and, in doing so, ruin their chance to have happy and peaceful lives.

You’d think that when a person acquired a certain degree of wealth, they’d stop sweating about money, but usually the opposite occurs. Rather than feeling relief, they become even more obsessed. Now they are worried about keeping it, protecting it, caring for it, and so forth.

I’ve been with many poor people, a great number of rich people, and a vast number of people in-between. In all honesty, I’d have to say that 99 percent of them, regardless of their financial statures, sweat the small stuff about money.

Indeed, it’s a universal tendency. You can’t (and probably don’t want to) avoid the issues surrounding money, but you can learn to take them more in stride. And when you do, your entire life will become more relaxing and peaceful.

It’s quite possible to achieve great wealth and success in your life, yet remain unaffected by it. It’s possible to make wise and appropriate decisions about money without excessive worry or grief. That’s what this book is about: finding ways to create abundance and more fun without the stress that is usually associated with such intentions.

Learning how not to sweat the small stuff about money won’t take away all the monetary issues you have to deal with, but it sure will bring you more peace of mind. With added perspective, and perhaps a bit of humor, you’ll be able to tend to your money wisely—make great choices and see things clearly without having fiscal issues take over your life.

If you’ve read any of my Don’t Sweat books, you know that I believe strongly in the potential of people. I believe we have the potential for great joy, compassion, and wisdom. And part of this potential is manifested when we learn to stop sweating the small stuff.

When you stop sweating the small stuff about money, everyone benefits. You’ll feel better, and what’s more, you’ll probably make more money, too. To me, it’s pretty obvious that any success we enjoy is despite our worry, not because of it! Worry and excessive stress are distractions that keep us from our dreams and from our greatest potential. So as we discover ways to worry less, to “not sweat it,” we ignite that capacity within us.

Even as importantly, others benefit, too. As we worry less about money, we are more willing to do things for others. We are more generous and charitable. Rather than postponing the giving of our time, energy, ideas, or money because of fear, we learn to give freely, from the heart.

I’ve known many people who, after dropping some of their concerns about this issue, started donating money and volunteering their time for others. Without the emotional burdens of getting too uptight about money, you can use your energy in more constructive ways, doing the things that bring you the most joy.

The 100 strategies in Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff About Money were written to help you banish worry from your life forever.

Whether you want the confidence to pursue a new career or dream, the emotional freedom to ask others for help or for a raise, the ability to handle criticism or rejection, the confidence to take a risk, speak to a group, do more for your favorite charity, creatively and confidently market a service or product—or simply to become less uptight about money—consider these strategies. I am hopeful that they will help you create an even better life.

For more information about Carlson’s books, visit www.dontsweat.com.

Click here to buy the book.

The follow-your-gut mentality of the entrepreneur has the potential to take you anywhere you want to go or run you right out of business.”

– Bill Rancic, "The Apprentice"

There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.”

– JFK

The mind is everything. What you think, you become.”

– Buddha

My goal was to tell the life side of the story. We have become a nation of voyeurs that expect sensationalism, and that offends me.”

– Kathleen Jo Ryan

To follow, without halt, one aim: There’s the secret of success.”

– Anna Pavlova

You don’t love someone because of their looks or their clothes or their car. You love them because they sing a song only your heart can understand.”

– L.J. Smith

A man without a smiling face
 should not open a shop.”

– Chinese Proverb

If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise.”

– Robert Fritz

An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he’ll quickly learn how to chew it.“


– Roy Ash, co-founder of Litton Industries

At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.”

– Lao Tzu

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”

– Anais Nin

Do not say, ‘why were the former days better than these,’ for it is not from wisdom that you ask this.”

– Ecclesiastes, 7:10

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”

– Dalai Lama

As each woman realizes her power, she transforms the world.”

– Patrice Wynne, WomanSpirit Sourcebook

He who knows he has enough is rich.”

– Tao Te Ching

We never know how high we are
 till we are called to rise;
 And then, if we are true to plan,
 Our statures touch the skies.”

– Emily Dickinson

The quality of your life is directly related to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably live with.”

– Tony Robbins

If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all.”

– Anna Quindlen

This is the age when magical technologies make more and more radically fun ideas plausible, even easy. You’re only limited by your creativity.”

– Martha Beck

Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail. There’s only make.”

– Corita Kent

Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.”

– Basil King

History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside.”

– John F. Kennedy

Persist and persevere, and you will find most things that are attainable, possible.”

– Lord Chesterfield

Do you have the desire to create something new; the strength of conviction to believe your creation will be successful, and the reservoir of energy necessary to thrust it into the marketplace?”

– Steven Schussler

Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value.”

– Albert Einstein

Almost anyone can start a community, but it takes real talent and commitment to get people to show up and keep coming back.”

– Andy Sernovitz

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.”

– President Calvin Coolidge

My job is my hobby. I come to work to play.”

– Uli Becker, president, Reebok International

Who cares if my glass is half empty or half full; I still have something to drink.”

– Optimism rules

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”

– Groucho Marx

You often meet your fate on the road you take to avoid it.”

– Goldie Hawn

I don’t do very well without fear. There needs to be a part of me saying, ‘That’s going to fail,’ so I can prove myself wrong.”

– Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe

That man is richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.”

– Henry David Thoreau

Do you believe it is important to give back some portion of your wealth to support charitable causes?”

– Steven Schussler

You must have chaos within you, to create a dancing star.”

– Frederic Nietzsche

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

– Albert Einstein

If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”

– Thomas Edison

We are all of us born with a letter inside us, and that only if we are true to ourselves, may we be allowed to read it before we die.”

– Douglas Coupland

The great use of life is to spend it on something that will outlast it.”

– William James

The best hobbies are the ones that take us furthest from our primary occupation.”

– Dr. Evelyn Vogel, Dexter

Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do.
 Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.”

– Ella Fitzgerald

Passion makes perfect.”

– Eugene Biro

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.

– Robert Frost

When you are asked if you can do a job, tell ‘em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

You may ask me for anything you like except time.”

– Napoleon

Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.”

– Leon Joseph Suenens

The fixity of a habit is generally in direct proportion to its absurdity.”

– Marcel Proust

You take your life in your own hands, and what happens?
 A terrible thing: no one to blame.”

– Erica Jong

Entrepreneurs are willing to roll the dice with their money or reputation on the line in support of an idea or enterprise.”

– Victor Kiam

Most people never pick up the phone and call. Most people never ask, and that’s what separates the people who do things from the people who just dream about them.”

– Steve Jobs

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