365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles
Day 71. Saturday, June 4, 2011
This afternoon I did a quick Google search to find a museum that would interest me. I couldn’t find anything. So I decided to fill the car with gas, turn on my new GPS and drive without a plan. I took one main highway and kept driving North.
I had no idea where I was going. My only objective—take photos of something. Anything. And take plenty. I was calling it my photo scavenger hunt. My first random stop—a town named Sherman.
I was a bit nervous deciphering the one-way streets through the main square. I decided to park at the library and take photos of railroad signs across the street. I saw a “No Trespassing” sign on one of the buildings that I was approaching. But I justified my actions by deciding I’m on a public sidewalk. So I snap to my heart’s somewhat nervous content.
As I headed back to my car, a woman from the library walked out and asked what I was taking a picture of. My heart sank to my stomach. I thought—geesh—they must have cameras in this very quiet, isolated part of town. Do I really look that threatening?
I nervously search for words. “I—um… I’m taking pictures of that railroad sign…. I cross my arms as if to indicate the sign. I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I wasn’t allowed.”
She proceeds to ask why.
I replied, “I’m taking photos for my blog… 365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles.” (at this point I realize what a ridiculously long blog name I have).
I continued, “I am driving aimlessly today taking random photos. I’m sure it sounds crazy….”
The woman replies—“no problem. You see, my office is just right there beside the window and you are the 5th person I have seen taking photos in that area. I decided to finally get out of my office and ask what it is people are taking photos of and why.”
I smile with relief and walk back to my car.
I continue to drive North.
I see a sign, “Durant.” I think to myself—hmm… I’ll go there. That’s when it occurred to me…. That’s not Durant, Texas. I’m approaching Oklahoma!
I’m a little iffy on whether I’m wearing the right clothes. I didn’t exactly plan to be seen this day. But after glancing at the people entering the casino I determine I’ll fit right in—inasmuch as I would fit in at a casino….
I walk around the casino wide-eyed with fascination. I went to the cashier—and true to my personality I say, “hi, um… is this where I get change? I’ve never been here before….” I half expect her to growl at me for sounding like an idiot but she greets me warmly and makes change for my 20 dollar bill. She says you never know—you may have beginner’s luck.”
I head to one of the 1 cent slot machines. I don’t have a clue what I’m doing but I’m feeling pretty bold and confident after drinking my free root beer soda. I put 50 cents into the machine, pressed a few buttons and watched with fascination. Why do people like this? I thought to myself.
I begin losing on this machine. But then I won. I won again. And again. I was trying to exhaust the money but I kept winning. This was getting interesting. When I reached $3.25 I decided it was time to quit while I was ahead. My 45 minute adventure in the casino had come to an end.
With my winnings burning a hole in my pocket I did the most logical thing I could think of. I found a Starbucks and enjoyed a Java Chip Frappuccino.
On the way back home I chased a sunset with my car. I was able to find a secluded open field where I could park the car, stand outside and watch the “show”. I breathed in the intoxicating scent of wild flowers, listened to the birds chirping and lived in the moment. I thanked God for the wonderful day and all the thoughtful details that came along with it.
I’m sure you’re wondering what Dale Carnegie principles I employed in today’s story. They are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Count your blessings—not your troubles.
Don’t worry about the past.
I had a difficult evening on Friday—and I was worried the effects would invade my Saturday and perhaps my Sunday. With the help of at least three friends, I was able to renew my focus and determination and make today a great day.
My lesson to you—there are people and circumstances that may succeed in dragging you down. But you have the ability to pick yourself back up and create your own happiness. The best way to achieve this goal is to keep busy. Stay focused on the present moment. In the event you do think on the past (as I do!) do it for one reason—to propel yourself to make the present all the more positive, meaningful and richer.
Housekeeping / Notes:
I must thank three people and I’m going to break Dale Carnegie’s rules on names. I am hoping you will be able to recognize your code names below.
Special thanks to: