Thursday, April 11, 2013



Nowadays there is an “information overload” of self-help advice.

If you visit a bookstore you will find the shelves flooded with numerous self-help books.

If you Google any self help topic on the internet you will be deluged with a surfeit of self-help websites and blogs.

If you switch on your TV you will see Self-Help Gurus bombarding you with advice (in fact there are dedicated self-help channels, spiritual and religious). 

All this self-help information overload leaves the seeker confused.

Many persons start on one self-help strategy. And barely before they can grasp the basics, they are induced by another new self-help mantra. 

Like the saying: “Too many cooks spoil the broth” – it the same with self-help techniques – too much self-help advice confuses the seeker

That’s why I prefer to stick to one simple principle that appeals to me and apply it meticulously for a few days, examine the results, and if it works for me I follow it throughout my life.  

It was in the year 1974, in July 1974 to be specific, when I had just entered the third year of my five year B. Tech course in Engineering, that I read my first ‘self help” book – HOW TO STOP WORRYING AND START LIVING by Dale Carnegie. I had bought the book at the inimitable Taraporevala Book Store Mumbai.

Those days, while on our way to college, we used to come down from Pune by the morning Deccan Queen, keep our luggage in the Cloak Room at  Mumbai CST (then known as Bombay VT) Railway Station, spend the day loafing around in Fort, Colaba, Curchgate etc, do some window shopping, browse books, see a movie, enjoy some good food, and then board the Calcutta Mail (now Mumbai – Howrah Mail) at night. 

I was passing through testing times, a rather difficult phase of life, and tended to worry about my future. That’s why probably the title of the book “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” appealed to me and I picked up the book. Later, in the hostel, I read the book, and found it very practical and simple in its approach.

As I told you earlier, this was my first self-help book (though I used to regularly read the works of Swami Vivekananda which were inspirational in nature and from which I derived immense motivation).

I started reading Dale Carnegie’s How to Stop Worrying and Start Living and immediately applied the first precept enunciated in the book to my life:


I learnt how to live one day at a time and soon I stopped worrying about the future.

That is the key.

Forget the past.

Don’t speculate about the future.

Just think of today. 

This is how I do it.

Every morning, the moment I wake up I recite my Morning Sanskrit Shloka (taught to me by my late grandmother):

कराग्रे वसते लक्ष्मिः करमध्ये सरस्वति 
करमूले तु गोविन्दः प्रभाते करदर्शनम् 
समुद्र-वसने देविपर्वत-स्तन-मंडिते 
विष्णु-पत्नि नमस्तुभ्यंपाद-स्पर्शं क्षमस्व मे 

Karaagre Vasate Lakshmi Karamadhye Sarasvati,
Karamuule Tu Govinda Prabhaate Karadarshanam,
Samudravasane Devi Parvatastanamandale,
Vishhnupatni Namastubhyam Paadasparsham Kshamasva Me

The front part of the hands (the finger tips) is credited to Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth. The middle part or palm is credited to Goddess Saraswati, the Goddess of Learning and the Root (the part of hand near the wrist) to Govinda. So, every morning, one should have a reverent look at one's hand which represents sincere labour. I bow to Mother Earth, who has mountains and jungles on her body and whose clothing is made by the ocean. The wife of Lord Vishnu, please pardon me for touching you with my feet.

After reciting this morning prayer I close my eyes and continue to lie down in bed and plan for that one day.

Yes, I decide what I am going to do “today”

Then I get up and Carpe Diem – I seize the day and make the most of it.

Living in day-tight compartments will enable you to get rid of your worrying habit.

This one day at a time art of living philosophy will also help you get rid of other bad habits.

Suppose you want to quit smoking. 

Just promise yourself that you are not going to smoke “today” and keep your promise. 

Do this one day at a time, day after day, and soon you would have got rid of your smoking habit forever.

It is the same with quitting drinking or getting rid of other addictions – just do it one day at a time. 

I think Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) says the same thing - just do not drink today and do this every day.

In the morning, just tell yourself that you are not going to drink alcohol “today” and keep your promise. 

Do this every morning, one day at a time, and soon you won’t remember the last time you had a drink.

Living in day-tight compartment, one day at a time, works wonders – you can take my word for it. 

Every morning is a new day, a new life – so make the most of today – then hit the bed and go to sleep, forget about the day passed, and wake up to another fresh new day.

It may be apt to recall these words from Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite hymn LEAD KINDLY LIGHT:

Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene — one step enough for me

Do not look too far ahead, just “one step” is enough.

Yes, one step at a timeone day at a time. That is the best way to live.

I am embedding this hymn below for you to hear. 

Before you go away please click the link below and hear the hymn LEAD KINDLY LIGHT – listening to this melodious song will have a soothing effect on you.


1. Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom;
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home;
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene—one step enough for me.

2. I was not ever thus, nor prayed that thou
Shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path; but now,
Lead thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years.

3. So long thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone.
And with the morn those angel faces smile,
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile!

Dear Reader - Please comment and let us know your views on living one day at a time.
Wish you a worry-free and stress-free life full of health and happiness

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2013
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved. 

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Copyright © Vikram Karve 2013. All Rights Reserved

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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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