365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles
Day 15. April 9, 2011
It was Saturday, January 8, 2011. My hairdresser wasn’t available—but another stylist was willing to cut my hair. I didn’t think it was a big deal—it’s just a short haircut—surely anyone can cut my hair. I showed the stylist a photo of my last haircut and explained I like it short but feminine.
This woman began cutting mercilessly, with what appeared to be trimmers that are meant for yard work. (Yes, I mildly exaggerate, but these were some large scissors my hairdresser would never use on me).
At this time I was still enrolled in the Dale Carnegie course. I reviewed the principles in my head and decided I’d trust this woman to cut my hair. She’s a professional. But halfway into this I did remind her politely—please be sure it’s still feminine….
When she was finished—I had super short, spiked hair. She put gel in it to make sure those spikes would stick up. I wanted to cry. I clung to my Carnegie principles as best I could but the look on my face gave me away.
I kept reminding myself it’s just hair and that I will have to be patient as it grows back. The worst that can happen is that someone mistakes me for a boy. So I solved this problem by wearing earrings, necklaces, mascara and a headband. I also decided that if I smile maybe people will be distracted by the smile they won’t notice the horrible haircut.
Fast forward to Saturday April 9, 2011. My hair is finally long enough to get it cut by my trusted hairdresser. As I watched my hairdresser cutting with focus and precision with her small scissors I reflected on the last three months.
Ironically, the last three months have been among the best:
- I graduated the Dale Carnegie course.
- I had an incredibly successful business trip where I was able to use my new skills from the Dale Carnegie course.
- I’ve made some new contacts and new friends.
- New opportunities have opened up for me.
- I smiled far more than usual.
The Dale Carnegie principles I applied in this story included:
From How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 5. Smile.
From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
- Keep busy.
- Don’t fuss about trifles.
- Cooperate with the inevitable.
- Decide just how much anxiety a thing may be worth and refuse to give it more.
- Try to profit from your losses.
By applying the principles I accepted the reality of my bad haircut and focused on other activities and other people. By doing this the bad haircut became a trivial matter.
So remember, if you are faced with a disappointment figure out how to use it to your advantage. Your life will be more fulfilling because you won’t waste your time and energy blaming circumstances or people for your unhappiness.