Day 110. Surround yourself with positive individuals

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 110.  Thursday, July 14, 2011
Despite getting 4 hours of sleep I woke up chipper. 

I wasn’t even stressed with traffic on the way to work.  I kept singing my new favorite song for most of the 30 mile drive.

I got to the office and began sifting through my email.  My team emailed their completed projects for the week.  I reviewed them and they did a great job.  Clearly my morning is well on its way to being productive and stress free.  What a difference from earlier this week or even last week.  Thank God!

Some friendships and associations lead you away from happiness, health and peace. Read the road signs along the way.

Then I encountered an associate about mid-morning.  I was chipper and friendly with her but she didn’t respond back in the same fashion.  In the past I have let myself be influenced by her.  Her mood has influenced my mood.  If she’s having a bad day I’m having a bad day.  I’d like to say we mirror each other—but only when it comes to being moody.

When I realized nothing I could do would improve the matter with her—I decided it was best to take care of myself.  I carried on with my good mood.  To strengthen my resolve to remain in a good mood—I thought of upbeat, positive individuals in my life.  My gym trainer for instance.  My team of co-workers who rarely complain.  My best friend here in Dallas.  My friends at my favorite coffee shop.  These are individuals who are consistently positive and upbeat.  These are individuals you want to know. 

After reflecting on these individuals I felt better.  I then focused on working with enthusiasm.  The rest of my day remained productive and positive.

The Dale Carnegie principles I used today are from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Fill your mind with thoughts of peace, courage, health and hope.

Sometimes there are individuals that are negative influences in your life.  It is true we all have a bad day—but some individuals seem to have more than a bad day and they tend to drag you down with them.  You don’t have to live like this!  You can certainly do your best to lift their spirits but ultimately they have to choose their mood.  Don’t let these individuals bring you down. 

You need to focus on maintaining your own physical and mental health first.  You are worth it!  When you take this approach you’ll discover that individuals who are also positive will tend to gravitate toward you.  And individuals willing to change will also want to be around you.  These individuals will help you grow—as you will help them grow. 

The remaining individuals who are negative and are not willing to change will continue as they are.  It’s commendable to help them and you can do what you can but never lose sight that you must protect your happiness first.

Day 25. Fight for your happiness

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 25.  April 19, 2011 
This morning Malcolm and I had a meeting.  The meeting began this way: 

DEEP SIGH from Malcolm. 

Then he grumbled unenthusiastic words to me, “how are you this morning?”  The meeting pretty much continued in this way. 

I found myself getting sucked into the black hole of Malcolm’s unhappiness.  By the time the meeting wrapped up I was completely irritated.  I just kept thinking get me out of this miserable place.

As I drove to Starbucks for some coffee—I resorted to a new technique.  I decided to fight for my happiness.  I was not going to let Malcolm’s unhappiness drag me down. 

Fight for your happiness.

I gave myself a very direct and impassioned pep talk that went like this:
“No one—not Malcolm, or “so and so” has control over my mood.  I create and determine my happiness.  I will not surrender control of my mood to Malcolm.  Malcolm has no right to control my mood.  I will have a good day.  I control my happiness.” 

And you know what happened?  I had a great, productive, happy day.  I’m not sure what tickles me more—the fact that I had a great day or the fact that I proved I control my own happiness despite my surroundings.

The Dale Carnegie principle I used is from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Fill your mind with thoughts of peace, courage, health and hope.
Do not imitate others.

Remember, no matter your surroundings– YOU control your happiness.  When you find yourself sinking into unhappy oblivion, take forward thinking action, take deliberate measures to take control of your happiness.  Go for a walk.  Smile at a complete stranger.  Take a deep breath.  Do everything you can to control your outlook.  You can control your happiness.  You just have to take action.

Day 21. Do you know someone that seems to live just to frustrate you? Try this approach.

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 21.  April 15, 2011
I was in a meeting with an associate named Felix.  Felix began huffing and puffing—he was complaining about pretty much everything.  We were discussing upcoming projects that would involve some careful planning and every suggestion I made was shot down instantly. 

Before I took the Dale Carnegie course the scenario would have taken this path:

“What if we take this approach, Felix?”

Felix would reply, “No, that won’t work because of XYZ….”

Then Felix would proceed to talk on and on in a manner that would discourage me or that would get me fired up to defend my position.  Either way, the outcome was never a positive experience.  And after a few days, Felix would eventually come around to my way of thinking.  But until that day came, I would stew over Felix’s stinging, provoking words.  I would put way too much energy into thinking about Felix’s actions towards me. 

But having taken the Dale Carnegie course, the scenario happened differently.  To be clear, it was not easy to change my approach.  Old habits are not easy to break. 

I took a deep breath.  I let Felix do all the talking.  Mentally, I gave myself a pep talk as the man continued to breathe fire at me.  My demeanor was calm, peaceful.  I was standing firm in remaining professional and unaffected.  As Felix complained and noticed I wasn’t reacting, he seemed at a loss.  He had nothing more to say.  I didn’t give him what he wanted.  Instead my neutral reaction made him look foolish.  Once the storm of complaints passed from his lips—I responded in a calm tone by saying, “no problem.”  And I moved on to another subject matter.  Minutes later the meeting was over.  I returned to my desk, sat down and took a real deep breath.

Now for the real challenge.

Would I sit at my desk and stew over Felix’s words?  Would I let Felix have control over the outcome of the rest of my day?  I prayed I had enough inner strength to not let Felix steal my happiness.

I even went outside and picked a rose from a huge rose bush nearby.  I must have smelled the scent right out of that rose in an effort to control my thoughts and mood.  I returned to my office, rose in hand, turned on the radio to listen to my favorite tunes, and sat happily as I worked at my desk. 

Dale Carnegie helps me to smell the roses

I control my happiness.  Not any other human being.  Period. 

The Dale Carnegie principles I exercised today are from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 10. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
Principle 11.  Show respect for the other person’s opinion.  Never say “you’re wrong.”
Principle 15.  Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.

From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:

  • Keep busy.
  • Don’t fuss about trifles.
  • Fill your mind with thoughts of peace, courage, health and hope.
  • Expect ingratitude.
  • Pray.
  • Do the very best you can.

Even though today was not easy—I derive particular joy from my accomplishment of not letting another individual’s negative mood or behavior affect me.

Remember, the next time someone tries their best to drag you down with their words of criticism toward you, your work or of life in general—stay strong against their actions.  When you take this approach, you are taking positive action toward controlling how you want to live your life not how someone else wants you to live.