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:
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Day 71. As Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz would say, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more”

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 took an exit and head to my new adventure in Durant:  Choctaw Casino Resort. 

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.

It's all about perspective ; )

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. 

Sunset in June

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:
Keep busy.
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:
Tofu Fairy

Day 70. A trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles is the perfect setting for using Dale Carnegie’s principles

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 70.  Friday, June 3, 2011

I was at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office waiting to get my Driver’s License renewed.  A chair became available in the second row so I sat down beside a young ‘lady’ we will call “Suzie”.

I quickly observed Suzie and her friend Camille were criticizing everyone.  As number 154 was called, a tall teenage girl stood up with her father and two of her friends.  She stood in front of the white panel, got her photo taken etc.  While all of this was unfolding—Suzie and Camille—reminded me of why I love the Dale Carnegie principles.

Suzie:  “Why did that girl bring all these people with her?” 
Camille:  “They are high schoolers.  They have nothing better to do.”

They continued to criticize these individuals—who fortunately—weren’t anywhere near earshot of Suzie and Camille.

My thoughts on the tall girl being criticized:  “wow—that’s cute that her father came to “support” his daughter—it’s probably her 16th birthday.  Her friends are young, innocent and oblivious to the cruelty of people like “Suzie and Camille”.  Good for them.”

The Dale Carnegie principle I used is from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Do not imitate others.

My experience sitting at the DMV reminded me of the great value of living the Dale Carnegie principles.  Despite the behaviors of Suzie and Camille—I managed to find the good in my surroundings.  I observed a father who cared enough to spend quite a bit of time waiting at the DMV with his daughter.  I saw his daughter’s friends who were comfortable in their skin.  They were young and happy.    

My lesson to you—don’t imitate others’ negativity.  Focus on creating your own happiness.  I guarantee you will come out ahead.

Housekeeping / Notes:
If you read Day 69 you may be wondering… did I follow through and take a half day off from work?  I did indeed!  I was encouraged to follow through by my friend Avery.

Day 29. It turns out the Dale Carnegie principles work in social settings where you don’t speak the language

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles 

Day 29.  April 23, 2011
I’m sitting in the second row of a church I don’t belong to and the entire service was in Spanish.  I’m not fluent in Spanish—I can understand roughly every third word—if it’s spoken slowly.

I wondered if there’d be a way to use the Dale Carnegie principles.  I wasn’t sure how I could—since I don’t speak the language.  I decided to turn on my other senses.  I observed with my eyes. 

There was a woman invited to speak—she had long dark hair—she was wearing a black blouse with a pretty turquoise skirt.  She approached the pulpit and from what I gathered—she said she was nervous about speaking in front of us.  She started out a bit soft spoken. 

I immediately connected with her—thinking she looks confident enough—I would never sense she was nervous.  From what I could piece together—she had been away from the church but having returned she found peace.  One of the parishioners turned on a CD with instrumental music—and this soft spoken woman who said she was nervous— began to sing.

And oh how she sang!  She belted it out with all her passion and might.  That spot right between the eyes above the bridge of the nose—wrinkled as she sang.  I could completely relate to that feeling and look—because I sing with all my heart too.  (granted, unlike her, I have ZERO singing skills).  

My interpretation of what woman sang...

It was a moving experience.  Despite being nervous she did what she set out to do and she gave it her best—which was a wonderful gift to the audience.

Afterwards there was a reception and I happened to be standing next to her.  I turned to her—not certain if she spoke English but I said—you sang beautifully!  She smiled and said, “thank you.”

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

If you find yourself out of your element—use it as an opportunity to grow.  Open your eyes, your heart and your mind to learn from these experiences because that’s how they become more meaningful.  Even though I didn’t understand most of what was going on in the service I observed courage in another person and I had the opportunity to show her my appreciation.  It was a wonderful way to spend my evening!  When you are willing to take a chance and grow you will discover nothing will hold you back and life becomes more interesting.