Day 73. Wow! My friend “Batman” used Dale Carnegie’s principles to help the Smiling Daffodil

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 73.  Monday, June 6, 2011
I chatted with my friend “Batman” today.  I told him that I was frustrated with myself because I got to work so incredibly late today.  I explained that although no one at work complains—it still bothers me. 

Owl paperweight....(A metaphor for night owl with needless weight on shoulders)

I work 8-10 hours a day and I don’t take lunches.  It was just last week that management was thrilled with a marketing campaign I put together. 

Batman listened attentively and asked an interesting question. “Do you think it’s society’s pressures that you work certain hours?  It sounds like the job you have is flexible enough that it doesn’t matter.”

I can’t explain it—but somehow those words were like a rope to pull me out of my box.   I felt better.  I place very high standards upon myself—that are not always level headed, reasonable or balanced.  Batman reminded me that I put in the same hours—just at a different time than most.  No one complains at work—in fact they continue to tell me they are pleased—which is far more than I received a year ago when I was putting in far more time into work and playing far less.  Back then a blog was the furthest thing from the Smiling Daffodil’s mind.

The Dale Carnegie principle used in this story is from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Don’t fuss about trifles.

The Dale Carnegie principle my friend Batman used is from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 4. Become genuinely interested in other people.
Principle 7.  Be a good listener.  Encourage others to talk about themselves.

I am blessed to have a job that is extremely flexible—I earned this privilege because I have put in many hours.  There’s no sense in worrying about “being late” when everyone knows I’ll stay until the cows come home, will work weekends, etc. 

The lesson I want you to take from this story—sometimes standards you place upon yourself are unreasonable and defy logic.  I am well aware it’s difficult to break these patterns of behavior—but do your best and try.  Don’t worry so much about trifles—just focus on doing your best. 

Also—take “Batman’s” approach in this story to reach out to friends, family, customers and associates.  Sometimes all a person needs is a ready and sympathetic ear. 

Thank you Batman!

Housekeeping / Notes:
Mark your calendars!  Wednesday is the big day for my guest blogger!  His story rivals my blog posts!
A special thanks to “Scrapbooking Queen” for reading all my blogs in what appeared to be one sitting!  You made my day ; )  I loved that you “got” my red pen story
Share the love!  Forward your favorite blog posts to family and friends.  I’ll make it easy. Here’s the link:

Day 66. Sincere appreciation is the spice of life. For best results, sprinkle it often and liberally.

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 66 Monday, May 30, 2011
My associate and I had to work on Memorial Day.  It’s not something either one of us wanted to do but it was necessary. 

When I arrived at the office I greeted my associate.  He explained that he has been working the entire weekend—getting up at 6 am and working all day.  He said he wasn’t complaining but he just wasn’t happy.

I responded by telling him that it shows he worked all weekend.  I told him, “Look at all the progress you made. As a result of your effort we will be ready for our big presentation on Tuesday.  We are more prepared than we have been in the past for other presentations.”

Showing appreciation adds flavor

I admired the work he did, asked questions and showed interest. 

Once I did this—his demeanor changed.  He seemed to feel more at ease, less stressed.

The Dale Carnegie principle I used is from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 2.  Give honest, sincere appreciation.
Principle 7.  Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

Sometimes all a disgruntled, frustrated person needs is some appreciation for his/her efforts.  Everyone needs to be shown appreciation—and it must be sincere.  Flattery does not work—it’s empty, meaningless and most people recognize it.  (And if you’re like me—you resent it.)

Sincere appreciation requires empathy, thought and care.  When you show appreciation you’ll discover you have the power to affect a person’s behavior in a positive way.  This transformation benefits you by making you more aware that your actions towards other people really do matter.  You’ll start looking for more occasions to appreciate others.

Housekeeping / Notes:
Enjoy some eye candy while catching up on past blog posts.  Visit the Attn. Non-Readers section
Don’t let this be a solitary sport.  Please rate the posts!

Day 64. It has taken me longer than 64 days to figure this one out.

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 64.  Saturday, May 28, 2011
I wasn’t looking forward to having brunch with Robert, an associate from work.  In my mind, I had better things to do with my time on a Saturday.  I even tried to scheme a way out of the meeting. But there was no use.  Sure, I could probably get out of the brunch—but in the long run, I would not be better off for skipping the meeting.

I showed up on time and was mildly hopeful the meeting would go well. Robert and I chatted idly for a bit.  I could sense we were both trying hard to make the best of the circumstance.


Robert and I aren’t great conversationalists with each other.  Neither party seems terribly interested in the other.  But today was different.  I put effort into finding something that interested Robert.  In this case, it was his recent trip to Florida.  I asked him how his trip went and he proceeded to talk non-stop about it.  I listened with interest, asking questions here and there.  When I asked particular questions—his face lit up—as if in shock that I would remember random details he had shared with me in the past.

He and I must have talked for about an hour.  Rather, he did most of the talking, I did the listening.  The brunch / meeting ended up being one of the most effective meetings we’ve had in a long time.

The Dale Carnegie principle I used is from How to Win Friends and Influence People
Principle 4.  Become genuinely interested in other people.
Principle 7.  Be a good listener.  Encourage others to talk about themselves.

I am flabbergasted just how easy and pleasant today’s brunch went.  The reason is simple.  I became interested in the other person.  I chose a topic that was near and dear to his heart—and he talked on and on about the subject.  When we had exhausted the subject he then turned to me and asked me questions about subjects near and dear to my heart.  He too listened attentively and asked questions.

It is true that most people like talking about themselves.  That won’t change.  But your approach can change.  By taking interest in other people and encouraging them to talk about themselves, you end up making friends along the way.  This is a more rewarding approach to take with people instead of dominating a conversation or not engaging at all with them.

Day 27: The effect of a smile does not expire like a coupon.

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 27.  April 21, 2011 
As I walked into Church’s Fried Chicken today I was greeted with a big smile from the cashier I had smiled at a week ago.  The look on her face said she was happy to see me.   

I was oozing with excitement to see her reaction because it proved last week’s application of the Dale Carnegie principles “stuck”.  She remembered I had smiled at her and that I took interest in getting to know her SEVEN days ago. 

Since we were on familiar terms—I asked how her baby is doing—if she’s able to sleep through the night, etc.  I decided to improve my skills and learn her name—“Esther” and also her baby’s name—“Melanie”.  I’m horrible with names—so to help me remember I asked her to spell her name.  I visualized the letters in my mind.  I made a mental note of the name “Melanie” by thinking of a Melanie I knew in school. 

Next week when I return to Church’s Fried Chicken I will be ready to call her by her first name and ask about her baby, Melanie. 

As I left we both smiled and wished each other a happy Easter. 

The Dale Carnegie principles I used are from How to Win Friends and Influence People
Principle 5.  Smile
Principle 7.  Be a good listener.  Encourage others to talk about themselves.

This story is a simple example of cause and effect.  People remember how you treat them.  So take positive actions—such as smiling or being a good listener instead of taking an indifferent, disinterested or even a negative approach.  You’ll be amazed how much more interesting even a simple visit to a fast food restaurant becomes.

Day 20. Ordering a chicken strip combo meal turned into an ideal opportunity to use the Dale Carnegie principles

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 20.  April 14, 2011 
It was 5:15 pm as I walked into Church’s Fried Chicken in a rough part of the city.  I looked at the cashier and hesitated—waiting for her to greet me— or at least speak to me.  I found myself getting irritated by the lack of enthusiasm for my business.

I proceeded to order a chicken strip combo meal.  She behaved completely disinterested in the transaction.   

As I was filling my cup with ice—the cashier sighed heavily.  I thought to myself—here’s my opportunity to practice the Dale Carnegie principles. 

I said to the cashier, “has it been a long day?” 

Her demeanor softened and she said, “yes.” 

She explained that while her shift started an hour ago—she has a 5 month old baby at home that’s keeping her very busy.  Not to mention three other little children.  I proceeded to ask questions here and there—showing interest. 

I asked, “do you at least live nearby?”

“Yes, about 10 -20 minutes from here,” she replied.   

“Ah, that must be nice—I live about 30 miles from here.” 

We talked for several minutes as my chicken strips were getting fried.  She asked where I worked and what I do. 

As she was bagging the food she asked with particular care if I wanted any hot sauce or ketchup.  She handed me my food and said warmly—“see you next time!”


As I walked to my car I thought to myself—using the Dale Carnegie principles is like taking candy from a baby.  It doesn’t get any easier than this to change an indifferent moment or even a negative experience into something positive.  You just have to put the effort into taking action.  Everything else will fall into place.

Candy buttons

The Dale Carnegie principle I used today is from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 4.  Become genuinely interested in other people. 
Principle 7.  Be a good listener.  Encourage others to talk about themselves.
Principle 8.  Talk in terms of the other person’s interests. 

When you encounter an individual who is grumpy, negative or indifferent—you’ll find it takes very little effort to transform their demeanor simply by showing them genuine interest.  When you take this approach—you will experience the similar pleasure I did—of knowing you caused that transformation.

Day 18. How Dale Carnegie helped me sell my first large photograph

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 18.  April 12, 2011
As I parked my car at the Hilton hotel this evening my favorite song began:  The Dog Days Are Over—by Florence + Machine.  I drew courage from that song—for I was going to embark on a different experience this evening.

I recently donated a 24” x 36” framed photograph to a charity auction.  And this evening was the big auction.  The attendees were important people—in an expensive part of the city.  I labored this morning trying to figure out what to wear so that I’d blend in.  As I entered the reception hall—I drew from the Dale Carnegie principles.  I smiled. 

My 24" x 36" framed photo in a public setting (sorry about the glare)

You see, the important detail here is that I didn’t know a single person at this event.  The only vague connection I had was that I knew the mother of one of the event coordinators for this event. 

I planned on just stopping in for an hour—to see my framed photograph in a public setting.  But I ended up staying for the entire event.  You see, I met the vague connection—her name was “Patricia”.  We ended up talking the whole evening.  I asked questions, listened and asked more questions.  I was interested in learning more about her, what she does for the company she works for and more about her mother— whom I know pretty well.  I wasn’t trying to get anything in return.  I just listened.

I mentioned to “Patricia” I was afraid no one would bid on my photograph.  (The sheet was blank with no bidders yet). 

Then when I checked back I noticed she put her name down as a bidder.  Then a couple other individuals starting bidding.  There was a bidding war over my photograph.  They asked me questions about the photo—what was my inspiration—where did I take it—how did I get so close up to the subject in the photograph.   I felt like a real photographer. 

By becoming interested in other people—they became interested in me—and as a result—my photograph brought in $250 for charity.  Everyone won this evening.

The Dale Carnegie principles I applied are from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 4.  Become genuinely interested in other people.
Principle 5.  Smile.
Principle 7.  Be a good listener.  Encourage others to talk about themselves.

So remember, if you enter an uncomfortable situation where you don’t know anyone—try the time tested technique of smiling.  This tends to disarm people.  Then encourage others to talk about themselves and what interests them. You will discover this technique puts you at ease and makes you a more personable individual to those you meet.

Day 16. A trip to the nail salon is a great place to apply the Dale Carnegie principles…

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 16.  April 10, 2011 
I was at the nail salon today getting a manicure and pedicure.  The challenge is—I feel the same way about getting my nails done as I do about getting teeth pulled.  It’s a mild form of torture—and how I wish they would just sedate me for the entire process.

Using the Dale Carnegie principles... one step at a time

I wondered if I could swing the application of Dale Carnegie principles while I was there.  I smiled as I walked through the salon seeing the other customers.  I grinned as I showed the manicurist my accidental mishap with the nail polish I spilled all over my hands.  The other customers looked amused at least.   As the mild mannered gentleman clipped, sanded and used all sorts of horrifying implements on my feet I sat cringing, with my hands on the arm rests in a death grip.  Oh, I put on a good show.

Suddenly one of the manicurists got up and dismissed herself.  Apparently she wasn’t feeling well—and her two clients were left with half finished manicures and pedicures. 

These two clients started to complain – they had been there for an hour and a half, etc, etc.  One of the manicurists—a junior in high school— did her best to shuffle from one client to the next. 

Somewhere along the way light conversation began among all of us.  Nothing profound—just friendly, small talk.  It was a nice human connection and a great way to diffuse the stress levels.  The woman next to me was getting her nails done because she was going to a musical tonight.  The other two complaining ladies admitted they were enjoying the massaging chairs and they were happy to be away from their husbands and kids.

Find opportunities to smile

I enjoyed watching and being an active participant in this process.  Another customer came and started to complain that she had an appointment and she’s been waiting 20 minutes.  The staff apologized. 

I informed the complaining customer that they were short staffed—an employee went home sick.  The look on the customer’s face completely changed.  Oh—I understand.  Her demeanor turned to pleasant and accommodating. 

Armed with confidence that the Carnegie principles were working—I decided to turn my attention to the high school student who was now painting my toenails.  I told her I admired her patience and skill with the task.  That I have no ability to do what she does—and besides—my own feet scare me.  She thanked me and laughed.  I learned she wants to go into medical school but she’s worried her grades aren’t good enough.  I asked questions here and there and she continued to talk about herself.

When it was time to pay she thanked me for my patience.  They had been short not one—but two employees that day and that it was especially hectic for her and the others to pick up the slack. 

I smiled, thanked her and gave her a good tip.

The Dale Carnegie principles I used today:
From How to Win Friends and Influence People
Principle 1.  Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
Principle 2.  Give honest, sincere appreciation.
Principle 4.  Become genuinely interested in other people.
Principle 5.  Smile.
Principle 7.  Be a good listener.  Encourage others to talk about themselves.
Principle 8.  Talk in terms of the other person’s interests. 

Remember, the next time you’re in a setting where the service isn’t what you are accustomed to—take a moment to remember the employees are human.  A kind word, patience and understanding can go a long way in making sure you get good service and you also diffuse a stressful situation.

Day 12. A different kind of family reunion

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 12.  April 6, 2011 
Preface:  Ever since I began this blog I’ve been waking up excited—which is really bazaar because I’ve been battling mornings since the first day of kindergarten. (Yes, I distinctly remember that day).  Dare I say it… I’m actually smiling in the morning these days.

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Principle 5. Smile!

I had no idea I just needed a goal to get me going each day and to keep me focused.   Quite simply, the goal is to have good material to write this blog for the two people who read it.  Ha. 

Hello Carnegie Graduates!
The first week of every month is reserved for a very special family reunion.  No, this isn’t with in-laws, grandparents or second cousins twice removed.  This is the class reunion of Carnegie graduates. 

I’m not sure how it happened but I’m the ringleader of this monthly reunion.  With our busy work and family schedules it’s a challenge to settle on a date that works for everyone.  I chose Wednesday because that was the day we would meet for class.  I had confirmations from guests but still wondered…what if I’m the only one that shows up this time?

Before the Carnegie course this is how the scenario would play out in my head:

  1. Why would I want to be in charge of organizing this Dale Carnegie class reunion? 
  2. Will people show up? 
  3. What will we talk about? 
  4. Where will we eat, what time, what day…and the details and worries go on and on – with the main concern being—what if I am the only one that shows up?  Oh, I’ll be mad and disgraced alright.

Now, since I’m a Carnegie graduate who is working diligently to hold on to the Carnegie principles—this is my thought process:

  1. Yes, I should be the ringleader organizing this event—I do a good job handling details and it looks like everyone seems to appreciate that I am taking on this role.  If I didn’t do this task—we’d never keep in touch and that would be a waste of an opportunity to help and support each other.  Besides, we had such a fun time in our last reunion….
  2. Several people have sent their RSVP and expressed their excitement.  I’m sure they will come and I’m looking forward to seeing them and hearing how they are applying the Carnegie principles.  I can learn from their experiences.
  3. What will we talk about?  This one oddly enough is funny.  It turns out even the quietest, shyest Carnegie graduate (me!) cannot stop talking.  There are so many topics that can be discussed—everyone has something interesting to say and we are a group of people who encourage one another.  These are people you want to be around.  Their stories are among the best.  We are good at talking and listening.
  4. If no one shows up it will be ok.  I’ll certainly order dinner and have a pleasant meal by myself.  Besides—it will be an interesting test to see how I react to the unexpected or a disappointing circumstance as a Carnegie graduate.  Besides, I will take heart knowing I did my part of stepping out of my comfort zone. 

I’m sure you’re at the edge of your seats… did I eat by myself this evening?  Oh the drama….

No I did not.  What a marvelous time the five of us Carnegie graduates had together!  We come from completely different backgrounds—yet we all have a firm desire to improve ourselves and the way we handle circumstances in our lives.  We build up, encourage and are genuinely interested in each other. 

The Dale Carnegie principles I applied today:
From How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 7.  Become genuinely interested in other people.

From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Ask yourself, “What is the worst that can possibly happen?”  Prepare to accept the worst.  Try to improve on the worst.
Create happiness for others.

Getting the group of Carnegie graduates together—whether it’s two, three, five or ten of us—is an opportunity to create happiness for others and the perfect chance to become genuinely interested in and learn from people that come from different walks of life.  Sure, I run the risk of being the only one that shows up to an event—or being that person that sends those countless annoying email reminders about upcoming events… but that is a position I am willing to put myself in because of what I can gain.  It’s all about perspective.

Day 3. Be a good listener.

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 3.  March 28, 2011

Preface:  Mondays were designed for applying virtually any of the Carnegie principles. 

Spent blooms from the Dallas Arboretum

I was talking with a dear friend today—she was sharing an exciting piece of news that you could see in her eyes meant so much to her.  She was being recognized by an industry organization.  She was receiving recognition.  For a split second—(let’s be honest, I’m human) I was green with envy.  But then I put deliberate effort into focusing on her—on her words, on the excitement in her eyes.  I let her do the talking—asking a few questions here and there and just sat and absorbed the moment. 

The outcome—I lived the joy, the thrill, the giddy excitement with her.  She is long overdue for recognition, for being valued and appreciated for her efforts— and I’m genuinely happy for her.

Turns out I used multiple principles from Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People:

1.  Become genuinely interested in other people.
2.  Be a good listener.  Encourage others to talk about themselves.

When you exercise the above two principles, you through no great effort, get to join in someone’s parade of happiness.  My ordinary, blah Monday became more meaningful because I listened to what is important to another person.