Today marks the fourth anniversary of the sudden, untimely death at forty-five of Richard Carlson, the psychologist/author of the best-selling Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff series of self-help books. I devoted nearly a page and a half of my book, in a section on leaving your legacy, to Carlson’s example. I wrote that I twice interviewed and wrote about him for USA TODAY. In our telephone conversations, he seemed very in line with his image: a genuinely nice guy, who had important things to say, and who was adept at getting his ideas across in reader/listener friendly ways. (I happened to come across his phone number in an old address book the other day; a somewhat eerie experience, considering how close it was to the anniversary of his death.) At this time of year especially, it would benefit many of us to consider two things about his legacy: 1. The importance – despite the difficulty – of heeding his message about not getting too stressed out about little things (even if they don’t seem little at the time). His books conveyed the related message that many of our problems can be dealt with by stopping to consider options before leaping to negative conclusions. 2. He put a lot of care and devotion into his work each day, and part of the result was many books, web materials and articles that will continue to nourish people for years. His life example helps prove that it is what we do daily that contributes to our legacy for the future. Carlson also wrote about the fact that not all problems are small: his 2002 book What About the Big Stuff? Finding Strength and Moving Forward When the Stakes Are High deals with tough topics in ways that are ultimately positive, optimistic and life-affirming. His work has been extended and expanded upon by his widow, Kristine Carlson, who is a prolific author and media presence in her own right.