Day 98. As long as I bring a smile I bet I can get away dressing like this everywhere


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 98.  Saturday, July 2, 2011
I got dressed this morning—with one objective—to survive the 100+ degree weather.  I found a pair of shorts, t-shirt and my favorite pair of brown sneakers.  I like the sneakers because they are comfy, they are brown and they are the closest thing to “cool” I can get.  But I admit—with shorts—I look a bit like a 12 year old especially with the sneakers. I considered swapping out shoes—my running shoes—but they are strictly for the gym. 

“I am who I am” I think to myself as I look at myself in the full length mirror. 

I look a bit sloppy—considering I’m an adult.  But I’m only going to the movies.

I drove to the movies.  I ordered a small bag of popcorn (this is the main reason I like the movies).  I smiled and thanked the cashier.  He returned with a genuine smile.  He did not have the glazed over, I-have-to-be-courteous-even-though-I-don’t-want-to-be look.  His behavior was sincere.

I handed my movie ticket to the attendant and smiled and chatted with him.  He too returned with a genuine smile. 

As I walked down the hall toward where the movie was being shown—I couldn’t help but smile.  I proved my sloppy attire had nothing to do with how I would be treated.  I was friendly, made eye contact and smiled at the people I encountered.  Nothing else mattered.  Not even my t-shirt, shorts and brown sneakers. 

The Dale Carnegie principles I used are from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 5.  Smile.

My lesson to you—try smiling and making eye contact with the people you encounter in your day to day life.  You will be amazed by the reactions you receive and life will be more interesting.

Housekeeping / Notes:
Catch up on previous blog posts by clicking here.
Learn how you can become a guest blogger by clicking here.
Read the most recent guest blog post by Tyrone by clicking here.

Day 91. He did not judge a book by its cover… and it paid off.


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 91.  Saturday, June 25, 2011
What am I going to wear today?  I was frantically searching for something “professional” looking to wear.  I can’t wear jeans or shorts—I have to dress the part—I have to look like the title I have at work.

I had to be at a convention about 50 miles away.  The ever important question of why I volunteered to attend this event was lingering in the back of my mind.  The best I could come up with—I care too much.

I drove as fast as I could within the speed limit (give or take).  I was running terribly late.  I was worried the event would be closed by the time I arrived.

I pulled into the parking lot at the convention center at 3:15 and noticed a sign that said parking was 15 dollars.  What?  Are you out of your mind?  I rolled down my window ready to argue but the attendant said I arrived so late that parking was free.  Nice!

I raced into the convention center and noticed the ticket counter was closed.  I turned and looked at the two “guards” at the Expo door and I smiled.  They said I arrived so late that I could get in free.  Nice!

I passed all the booths in the Expo hall and made my way to the one booth I drove 50 miles to visit.  By this time I was out of breath and “glistening” (it was 100 degrees today) and I’m certain I hardly looked like the professional individual that my title implies I’m supposed to be.  What I did have going for me was a sincere smile. 

I smiled at Enrique.  Enrique was so relieved to see me.  He had been anxious and worried I would not arrive.  (I was there to pick up one of his products). 

We hugged and chatted for awhile.  Actually—we chatted until the event closed.  Enrique has a good reputation and some great products that I am enamored with.  His face lights up—and he’s incredulous that I have such high regard for his products.  I like to point out the specific reasons why I like his products—they are superior quality, they are unique, etc.  I’m always stunned by his reaction that my opinion means that much to him.  

As we wrapped up I told him I’d be interested in featuring at least two of his new products to our customers and I told him I’d be in touch in the coming weeks.  He loaded me down with free product samples and thanked me for stopping by. 

A blank journal I picked up in Spain and a Dale Carnegie book I won...

One of the aspects I like about my job is the opportunity to make someone’s day.  If you were to look at me and then look at my title you’d quickly recognize the mismatch. For those that can get past this—there is great opportunity. 

Enrique is one of these individuals. 

The Dale Carnegie principle I used today is from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 2.  Give honest, sincere appreciation.
Principle 5.  Smile.

Enrique produces great products and appreciates the support I give him through my company.  I appreciate the fact that he recognizes and values what we do for him by giving us superior products that our customers love.  He does not give us mediocre products. He gives us his best so that we can give our customers our best. 

Everyone wins.

I hope you gather the following lesson from this story:  if you value, like or appreciate a person or something that a person has done for you—don’t be afraid to tell him or her.

Enrique’s surprised reaction made me realize that he probably doesn’t receive praise or recognition for his work enough from other individuals.  When I left him in his booth—he was walking on air—he was so happy with my words of praise and encouragement. 

When you take this approach you will build loyal, appreciative and understanding business partners and friends who will stick with you through the good, the bad and even those days where the temperature is 100 degrees and you look like the sun melted you.  

And if you ever show up late to an event, an appointment or work… try smiling!

Day 62. I found an out of the box way to make someone smile and you can too!


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 62.  Thursday, May 26, 2011
Today a friend was having a stressful day.  I wasn’t sure how to help her.  She always helps me out when I have a bad day.  I need to do the same for her.

I decided to do my best to make her smile.  Hmm… what can I do to make her smile?  What can I say?  I wasn’t really sure.

That’s when I remembered my unusual hat that I happen to keep at the office.  It was the right color to match the shirt I was wearing.  Although I did just get a haircut that I wanted to show off—this hat is sure to bring a smile to my friend’s face.

I put it on in a very nonchalant way and just sat quietly working at my desk.  I knew my stressed friend was busy but I came up with a false pretense to visit her in her office.  She took one look at me and grinned.  I smiled back innocently….

You see, I was wearing mushrooms on my head. 

Mushroom Head!

 

I picked up this ‘special’ hat made of mushrooms in Budapest a few years ago.  It was so unusual I just had to have it.  Who knew it would come in handy to make someone smile? 

The Dale Carnegie principles I used in this story are from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 5.  Smile. 

From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Create happiness for others.

My friend has been a reliable source for advice, a ready and sympathetic ear, a figurative punching bag, and countless other traits you could ever want in a friend.  While my help pales in comparison to what she has done for me—I want to do my best to help her when she is stressed.  I chose to help her in a very simple way—by making her smile. 

Remember, sometimes the smallest of actions can bring a smile to a person’s face—and this may be all that a person needs to refocus his/her attention and to lighten his/her burdens even for just a moment.  When you take the time to create happiness for others—you benefit by being able to enjoy the smile you helped create.

Day 36: How Dale Carnegie made today’s 5K run more interesting.


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

 Day 36.  April 30, 2011
As I was driving this morning I was listening to the theme song from the “Rocky” movie.  I was feeling confident.  I was wearing my favorite running ensemble—black shorts, black shirt, black hair band.  I not only looked good.  I was ready to rumble.  Not that this was a boxing match. It was a 5K run. 

They sounded the buzzer and we were off and running.  I kept a steady pace—I didn’t want to burn out in the first half of the race.  I turned on my iPod and pretended I was at the gym running on my favorite treadmill.  I pretended so well, I got some runners turning around looking at me and smiling. 

You see—I sing when I run on the treadmill.  I don’t sing because I sing well.  I sing because it gives me something to focus on.  Lyrics in songs fuel my engine for running.  Not slow, sappy songs—we’re not strolling in the park.  I like songs with energy, gusto and passion—and if there’s some angst thrown in—that’s a bonus because that makes me run faster. 

To help me run I planned on focusing on a distinct bad day from last year.  I take particular delight in making lemonade out of rotten days.  But today was different.  I had a smile on my face as I ran and sang.  My fingers danced in the wind.  I pretended I was wearing a Superman cape and I was flying like the wind. 

There were bystanders along the way cheering us on.  They were holding signs and banners—with words of encouragement like “Keep going!”  I smiled and gave everyone a thumbs as I passed by.  Not sure how—but the encouragement of random strangers fueled me to continue. 

I decided I’d be a smiling, running ambassador for Dale Carnegie’s principle number 5 as I passed everyone by. 

The run is basically a circle—you end where you began.  When I was more than halfway through the race I crossed paths with a LONG line of people who were walking the race.  I was heading back as they were still progressing through the race.  I wasn’t sure how it was technically possible that they were that far behind.  I imagined what they were thinking—geesh—there are people that are almost finished? 

I did my best to make eye contact with them as I smiled and gave them a thumbs up.

As I neared the end, there was a couple—an older man and woman who were the very last ones in the race.  They were walking slowly.  The man was a bit overweight. 

I looked at them and said—“You can do it!” as I ran by them. 

I can put food away!

Now, you have to understand that at this point in the race—yesterday’s very large taco dinner was still settling in my stomach.  I wasn’t feeling my best.  But somehow focusing on other racers and the bystanders gave me strength to continue.  I kept telling myself—I’ve got this.  I’ve got this.  I’ve done this before—I will do this again.  Period.

When I could see the finish line—I went full speed.  I pretended I was stepping on a gas pedal in a car—I ran like I meant it.  As I did this I remembered what my friend Esteban-the-Gym-Rat told me the evening before:  “remember, they take your picture as you cross the finish line—so you want to finish big—with a smile and your game face.  Some people cross the finish line—crying and vomiting—that’s not the photo you want hanging over the mantle in your living room.”

A winning smile.

I crossed the finish line with a beaming smile. 

The Dale Carnegie principles I used today are from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 5.  Smile.
Principle 22. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.

From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Create happiness for others.

I focused my attention on other people as I ran.  I showed my appreciation for the bystanders who were cheering us on.  I encouraged other participants in the race as I passed them by.  When I did this—I was distracted from my own concerns of – will I finish this race?  Will I come in under 30 minutes?  Will my foot start hurting? And is my stomach going to explode from that very extensive taco dinner I had last night? 

So, remember, there’s a real benefit to creating happiness for others—your words and actions can affect them in a positive way at just the right time and you are able to distract yourself from your own troubles.  Everyone wins! 

Special thanks to “Esteban-the-Gym-Rat” for his coaching advice—including tips on focusing on the horizon, proper ways to tie the shoe laces and the importance of hydration.  You made me feel like an “official athlete”—I felt important. 

Thanks to my friend “Jewel” who reminded me a week ago I could take some time off from the gym to prepare for the big race without my gym routine crashing into disgraceful oblivion.

Thank you “Dr. House” my gym trainer who knows just the right things to say that click in my head—like—“Gym Rat, of course you’ll be ready for the run two months away.” 

Thank you to my buddy “Bell” who despite living clear across the planet—convinced me to go to bed early so that I’d be well rested for the race. Sometimes the obvious isn’t always so!

Housekeeping/Reminders:
Be sure to read Friday’s blog post—the photo will bring you a smile.
Don’t forget about the open invitation to be a contributing writer to this 365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie principles blog.  You will approach life with an improved perspective.  What a deal!

Day 32. The Dale Carnegie Principles kept me from getting into fight with the President of the Homeowner’s Association Part 2 of the Lassie Story


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 32.  April 26, 2011
Preface:  Please read Part 1 of the Lassie Story first.  Fans of the blog have given it a top rating, it features some great Carnegie lessons and Part 2 will make more sense.   

Unexpected discovery on Easter

It was 7:45 am on Monday—and I decided to call the animal hospital before they close for the day.  “Hi—I’m the woman that found the sheltie—did anyone claim him yet?”

 The operator responded, “No—not yet.”

“Ok, I replied.  I’m going to knock on doors in the neighborhood and post signs.”

“Oh, that would be great.” said the operator.

I put on some nice clothes and set out on my mission.  I wanted to be sure I looked well put together so that people would be open to hearing what I had to say and not think I was soliciting.  (in other words… I put on my best pair of jeans, a nice t-shirt, my new shoes and a smile.)

I was certain I knew where the dog lived.  He lives at the house where I saw him circling the car.  I knocked on the door, smiled and asked the gentleman if he was missing a dog.  No, he wasn’t.

I was not expecting this answer.  I was rather stunned. 

So I tried some other homes.  I was getting one of two response—either no one was home or they weren’t missing a dog. 

What was striking about this experience was how friendly and appreciative the neighbors were.  They were grateful I was on a mission to find the dog’s owner.  To me this was an obvious course of action—I promised the dog I’d find his owner and I fully intended to follow through.  Personally, I go nuts losing anything

After awhile I realized I needed to treat this task like a marketing campaign.  I decided to strategically post my waterproof signs throughout the neighborhood.  (I made the signs waterproof by sealing them in clear plastic bags.)  I taped the signs on the lampposts and stop sign posts.  I even went to the local gas station and gave the cashier one of my flyers. 

Then as I was taping a sign on one of the most frequented light posts in the neighborhood… a woman drove up beside me.  She said to me in her British accent… “you can’t post signs.”

I had a split second to react…

I turned to her and calmly said… “what would you suggest?  I found a dog last night and I’m trying to find the owner.” 

She gave me her business card and said I could visit the Homeowner’s Association website and post information there.  Her name, of course, was the infamous, “Betty Lou”. 

I have never met Betty Lou in person but I am well acquainted with her.  I am certain this woman watches every move I make.  She sends me postcards in the mail letting me know I have weeds in my flowerbeds and I need to remove them.  She lets me know I left my trash bin outside on a day other than trash day and that I must remove the bin immediately or pay fines.

She is President of the Homeowner’s Association—and I have the privilege of paying her salary and the services she diligently provides. 

I remove the sign, dejected.  I start scanning my memory for a Dale Carnegie principle to get me through this.  I manage to amuse myself by concluding she and her staff are very efficient.  Their very existence is to make sure no one breaks rules.  I can appreciate they don’t want to junk up lampposts.  After all  look at how pretty all the lampposts are without signs… (well, except for the lampposts that still have my signs plastered on them…)

I decide to outsmart Betty Lou.  There are no rules against putting flyers on doors—I know that for a fact because I get flyers daily. 

So I walk the neighborhood putting flyers under doormats, carefully positioning the flyers so that the homeowners see the dog’s photo first.  There are a lot of homes with signs—“no solicitors, no flyers.”  I decide the signs aren’t directed to me—I’m doing a public service.  So I continue my mission.

I found a house with the fence fallen over from the storm.  The owner had a door mat that said “Wipe your paws.”   I can picture the sheltie living here.  This must the house.  I knock on the door—no answer.  I left a flyer under the mat.

As I’m walking—I see a woman—and approach her with a smile.  No, she hasn’t lost a dog.. but there’s a neighbor three houses away that did lose a dog!

I raced over to the house and knocked on the door with anticipation.  No one answered the door.  I left a flyer under the mat.

By this time it’s 11 am.  I decide I’ve done enough for the day and I’m late enough for work.

Once at work, I call the Homeowner’s Association to find out where I could post information on their website.  I spoke with “Patricia”.  I told her the entire story about Lassie—the Easter dog I found.  She was completely sympathetic.  

“It even knows tricks…I’m sure someone is missing their dog,” I tell Patricia. 

 “Oh yes, no doubt”, she replied.  

Patricia gets information on the dog just in case someone calls looking for him.  At one point in the conversation I hesitate—and said, “I’m going to get in trouble with you…. You see, I posted signs on lampposts.  I know I’m not supposed to… but I feel so bad for the dog and the dog’s owner.  I have a dog too and if I lost my dog… I would hope someone did the same for me….”

Patricia said.. oh, don’t you worry.  I would have done the same.  The worst that will happen is that they remove the signs.  But it will be ok.” 

 “Oh thank you,” I said to Patricia. 

 ———
It’s evening now and I’m driving into my neighborhood.  My heart sinks.  ALL the waterproof signs I lovingly posted on lampposts and stop sign posts are gone.  I wanted to cry.  Really?  Do you not have a heart Betty Lou and your minions?  (Patricia is excluded from this group of course)

As I am checking my mail a neighbor drives by—and asks if I found the dog’s owner yet.  I was touched he cared enough to ask and he expressed his gratitude for my mission.

After having dinner I went to the store to pick up a stuffed animal toy for the dog.  Then driving over to the vet, I remembered I held the dog in my arms.  He knows my scent.  I decide to rub the stuffed animal on me—so that my scent is on the toy.  This way, he will be comforted with a familiar scent. 

I walked into the animal hospital and the same technician from the night before greeted me.  She said…we have good news!  We found the owner!

“Thank God!” I replied. 

The technician said, “you were his guardian angel!  We called the owner and he insisted the dog was home.  We explained we tracked him down with the microchip in the dog and the owner admitted he was out of town until Wednesday.  The dog must have escaped somehow.  So the dog will remain with us until then.” 

I smiled completely unaffected by the carelessness of the owner to leave a dog alone for three days.  I was just relieved I was able to keep my word with the dog to reunite him with his owner. 

Before leaving I told the technician, “I brought a toy for the dog.”

The technician replied, “oh, I’ll make sure the dog goes home with it!” 

I handed her the little stuffed lamb I carefully selected for the sheltie.  

A variety of Dale Carnegie principles were used in this story:
From How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 5.  Smile.
Principle 10.  The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
Principle 13.  Begin in a friendly way.
Principle 19.  Appeal to the nobler motives.
Principle 18.  Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.

From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
–          Live in “day-tight compartments.”
–          Do the very best you can.
–          Put enthusiasm into your work.

 I did not let the Homeowners Association prevent me from executing my plan of action.  When they tried to stop me—I found creative ways to comply with the rules while still keeping focused on my goal.  I was even able to convince Patricia, an employee with the Association that breaking the rules did make sense in this case. 

In this story enthusiasm trumped everything.  I was no longer nervous about knocking on strangers’ doors, interrupting their mornings and asking them if they lost a dog.  I was able to think creatively and strategically—from waterproof signs, to observing which homes had fallen fences to posting signs at busy traffic areas. 

You might ask why I didn’t just wait a day or two to see if the microchip had current contact information on the owner.  I couldn’t bear to think of the owner being worried sick about his/her missing dog.  I would want someone to do the same for me.  I even planned for the worst—I was thinking of individuals who could adopt the dog. 

If you take anything from this story—I hope it is this—approach a task with enthusiasm.  When you approach a task with enthusiasm you will accomplish things you never would have imagined.

Day 30. Create happiness for others… with a smile, your time and cookies!


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 30.  April 24, 2011
I was at Albertson’s today—checking the bakery department for the perfect cookies.  I found my favorites—soft sugar cookies with yellow frosting and sprinkles.  These are perfect, I thought to myself.

I headed over to Church’s Fried Chicken.  I pulled into the parking lot around 4:45 pm and thought – dear God—clearly I’ve lost my mind.

I stuffed the package of 1 dozen sugar cookies in my very large purse.  I walked into Church’s Fried Chicken and I was greeted by none other than Esther! 

I smiled at her and said I wasn’t there to order chicken.  I pulled the cookies out of my purse and said, “these are for you!”

“For me?  Thank you!  Did you just get out of work?  Are you sure you don’t want chicken?  How about just a drink?”

I replied, “no, no.  I am stuffed from a big lunch—but thank you.  I had to pick up some items from work—and I thought I’d stop by to see you—you mentioned you had to work on Easter Sunday.”

As I was leaving—she said—“wait.  I am getting married soon and my friend is throwing a party for me.  Will you give me your information?  I’d like you to come!”

The Dale Carnegie principle I used today:
From How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 5.  Smile.

From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
– Create happiness for others.

I made a mental note Esther had to work on Easter Sunday—and I imagined myself in her shoes—wanting to be home with family but having to work instead.  What would I like if I were in her shoes?  I decided a simple gesture of stopping by with some cookies would be nice. 

Magnify your awareness of others

When you take the time to create happiness for others—you reap the benefits.  Your perspective changes.  You become more aware of other people instead of spending all your time focusing on yourself and you will discover a deeper level of happiness in your life.

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 24: Use humor as your weapon of choice when the day greets you with disappointment


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 24.  April 18, 2011 
I was invited to go to a very exclusive educational trip next month.  I was not merely happy to go, I was leaping with excitement.  At last, my hard work has paid off—I am being recognized for my skills and my potential to expand my skills even more.  I was telling everyone about this “big fancy trip”.

Well, today I decided to register for the classes, secure the hotel and airfare.  That’s when I saw the fine print to this invitation.  Basically I am only going for two days—not the entire week.  I am only taking one class.  If I want to take more than one class—I will have to pay for the hotel and the fees for the additional classes. 

No problem.  I am willing to pay.  That is, until I saw the costs.  I can’t afford it.

Imagine being a kid in a candy store and not having any money to purchase candy. Or imagine being in the best steakhouse on a Friday during Lent.  (You aren’t permitted to eat meat on Fridays during Lent).

To say I was devastated is an understatement.  I tried to remember the Dale Carnegie principles.  But I was mad.  I was disappointed.  I was in tears.  I was the full range of emotions.  Why bother making this trip just for one silly class? 

I drove home from work trying desperately to understand Dale Carnegie’s principle of “Live in day-tight compartments” while listening to the radio play “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by The Rolling Stones.

Suddenly the car in front of me caught my attention.  It jolted me enough for me to make a split second decision to follow it as it turned left into a shopping center. I had to get a picture of this car.  It had the coolest vanity license plate I have ever seen. 

I felt a bit absurd on my mission to follow it instead of going directly home but I couldn’t help myself.  I discreetly tracked down the car in the parking lot.  I looked around for witnesses as I pulled out the camera and took a picture. 

By this time I’m smiling, quite pleased my mission was accomplished.  On this random evening on my drive home from work, I managed to notice a car with a nickname that friends at the gym call me:  

I drove home with a smile on my face—realizing I got to experience firsthand what living in day-tight compartments is like.  Yes, I was disappointed and irked 10 minutes prior but somehow I managed to live in the present moment and find pleasure and simple humor in my surroundings. 

Let’s be clear.  Dale Carnegie principles don’t make your problems magically go away.  Sometimes there is pain, disappointment, frustration and all the other emotions that come with life.  But the Dale Carnegie principles are tools you can use to help get yourself past the negative emotions.  You just have to be willing to work for it.

The Dale Carnegie principles I applied:
From How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 5. Smile.

From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
– Live in day-tight compartments

So next time you find yourself a ball of emotions like me—step away from the moment.  Put effort into seeing the big picture—or even noticing the details in your surroundings that will bring you humor.  You will find immense satisfaction controlling your focus and emotions.  And it’s during this process you will discover what living in day-tight compartments feels like.

Day 19. Learn a proven method for dealing with a grumpy ill-mannered woman


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 19.  April 13, 2011 
I was standing in line at a bookstore waiting to purchase two books for my friend Beatrice.  There was just one cashier working at the counter.  A sloppy dressed mother and daughter were standing in line behind me for about a minute when the mother began to complain about having to wait in line.  

The mother said, “this is taking forever.  I hate waiting.  I can’t believe they only have one cashier….” 

I didn’t want to listen to this customer’s endless complaints for something so trivial as standing in line for a few minutes.  In all honesty I felt she was an ill-mannered fool.

I turned around to the mother and daughter and with a calm voice said, “would you like to go ahead of me?  I’m in no hurry.” 

The mother replied, “no that’s ok.”

I replied, “no I insist—knock yourself out—please go ahead of me.”  

So we switched places in line. 

The mother continued to complain about the cashier—saying “I wish she would hurry up and stop talking.”

I gently told the woman, “You know—I bet she’s had a long day just like you and me.”

The scowl on this mother’s face completely softened.  She said, “yes, you’re probably right.”

She paused and said, we’ve been shopping all day trying to find these school books….”

It was now the mother and daughter’s turn to go to the cashier.  As they approached the cashier the mother turned to me and said politely “thanks again.” 

They paid and left.  It was my turn to pay for my books.  I approached the cashier with a smile—knowing full well the cashier had no idea I probably saved her from a grumpy customer.

The cashier greeted me and I commented that I liked her hair.  It was the kind of hair I’ve always wanted.  It was a nice dark brown, long and curly.  We began to discuss hairstyles and how she always wanted straight hair but now she likes her curly hair. 

The transaction probably lasted a minute.  But I am certain in a small way I made that cashier feel admired for having such nice hair. 

The Dale Carnegie principles I used this evening are from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 1.  Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
Principle 5.  Smile.
Principle 8.  Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
Principle 9.  Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely. 

I could have told the customer to shut her vey large mouth and quit complaining.  I could have criticized the customer for not dressing in a presentable manner in public or for being an overall belligerent human being.  But instead, I spoke to her in a civil manner that interested her.  She wanted to be served next and I was happy to accommodate. 

The next time you encounter an individual who won’t stop complaining and is encroaching on your peace—rather than escalate the problem by telling the person off—diffuse the situation.  Talk in terms of that person’s interests in a calm, friendly way.  It won’t cost you a dime and it will give you a sense of peace knowing you controlled the situation. 

Incidentally, the two books I purchased this evening for my friend Beatrice were How to Win Friends and Influence People and How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.

A feast better than prime rib, mashed potatoes, sauteed mushrooms and asparagus is proving Dale Carnegie's principles work!

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.