Day 7. Perspective


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 7.  April 1, 2011 

I was talking to a friend named Harold.  Harold is very experienced and skilled in his career.  While we were both taking a break, Harold felt it was important to give me advice on how to do my job.  The thing is—our job responsibilities couldn’t be more different. 

I didn’t ask for the advice and frankly I wouldn’t seek it from Harold.  He doesn’t have the experience to give me the advice. 

I’ve often been told my eyes give me away—that you can tell what I think of a person just by looking at my eyes. 

Well today being Day 7 of my 365 day challenge of living the Dale Carnegie principles, I wasn’t going to go down without a fight (a different sort of fight).  So, instead of calling Harold a misguided fool or an idiot (with my eyes of course)… I decided to take a different approach. I took a deep breath.  I focused on the prize.  The prize is changing my behaviors and attitudes. 

I remembered a passage from Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People.  The passage is about Abraham Lincoln:
“And when Mrs. Lincoln and others spoke harshly of the southern people, Lincoln replied:  ‘Don’t criticize them; they are just what we would be under similar circumstances.’”  (Part I, Chapter 1)

Harold is behaving the way he knows how to behave.  I tried to put myself in Harold’s shoes.   Harold likes to feel important – and in fact, all of us do.  I took another deep breath before responding to Harold.

I thanked Harold for his kindness in giving me advice.  Harold went back to work happily and ironically… I did too. 

There are multiple principles I used in this situation.  Among them are:

From Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Don’t fuss about trifles.

From Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 9.  Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely. 
Principle 10.  The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
Principle 17.  Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.

The next time someone frustrates you—take a deep breath and think about Abraham Lincoln’s words:  “they are just what we would be under similar circumstances.”

When you do this, you will be reminded that this frustrating individual is human, makes mistakes just like you and me and craves the need to feel important—just like you and me.  If you can sincerely find a way to make the individual feel important—you will grow as a person and you’ll be much happier.

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