Adapted from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie
What, then, was the secret of Sir William Osler’s success?
He stated that it was owing to what he called living in “day-tight compartments.” What did he mean by that?
A few months before he spoke at Yale, Sir William Osler had crossed the Atlantic on a great ocean liner where the captain, standing on the bridge, could press a button and –PRESTO– there was a clanging of machinery and various parts of the ship were immediately shut off from one another – shut off into watertight compartments.
Dr. Osler said to those Yale students, “Now each one of you is a much more marvelous organization than that great liner, and bound on a longer voyage. What I urge is that you so learn to control to machinery as to live with ‘day-tight compartments’ as the most certain way to ensure safety on the voyage.
Get on the bridge, and see that at least the great bulkheads are in working order. Touch a button and hear, at every level of your life, the iron doors shutting out the Past — the dead yesterdays. Touch another and shut off, with a metal curtain, the Future — the unborn tomorrows. Then you are safe – safe for Today!
… Shut off the past! Let the dead past bury its dead … Shut out the yesterdays which have lighted fools the way to dusty death … the load of tomorrow, added to taht of yesterday, carried today, makes the strongest falter. Shut off the future as tightly as the past … The future is today … There is no tomorrow. The day of man’s salvation is now.
Waste of energy, mental distress, nervous worries dog the steps of a man who is anxious about the future … Shut close, then, the great fore and after bulkheads, and prepare to cultivate the habit of a life of ‘day-tight compartments.'”
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