Day 72. Frosties ignited a frosty reaction so I made lemonade….


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 72.  Sunday, June 5, 2011
I decided to do something unusual—I went to Wendy’s for dinner. 

There was a family sitting in the corner—they were the only customers.  They weren’t saying much.  Then the mother started to speak.  She explained that they may have to move.  That she’s worried about money… and this and that.  The two teenage boys sat quietly along with the gentleman that was with them.  She talked about maybe having to ride a bike to work because of the expenses. 

I sat quietly eating my hamburger and fries.  I said a prayer for them.  I really wanted a frosty.  And I thought—well, I wonder if I could swing buying these four strangers a frosty too?  It’s not that I was doing it because they were poor.  I just wanted to bring them a smile.

So I did.  They were getting up to leave and I said, I’d like you to have these frosties. 

The mother looked at me and said no.  They just had dessert. 

I’m not entirely sure they had dessert. 

I walked away dejected with four frosties. 

Perhaps it was my approach.  Perhaps it was the woman’s pride.  I will never know—and it really doesn’t matter. 

The Dale Carnegie principle I am currently using as I type this story is from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Live in “day-tight compartments”.

While it is true that the execution of this scenario didn’t happen as I had hoped.  My heart was in a good place.  And if nothing else—the attempt at being kind to perfect strangers may still have had the effect I had hoped for.  I can’t and won’t spend my time worrying about it.  I’m pretty certain, my prayers for these perfect strangers before my frosty mishap will be beneficial. 

Remember, not everyone is receptive to your positive actions towards them—but don’t let them hamper your resolve. Continue to smile.  Continue to do your best.  Continue to live in day-tight compartments.  Make lemonade from frosties.  Make lemonade from each and every disappointment. 

Housekeeping / Notes:
Mark your calendar!  Wednesday’s blog will feature a guest blogger!  Yay!
The Day Old Bread and Doggie Bag Series has been updated.  My flight to California was cancelled.  What a great opportunity to employ the Dale Carnegie principles.

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:
Batman
Superman
Tofu Fairy

Day 67. The Dale Carnegie principles backfired on me. I had a different blog planned for today….


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 67.  Tuesday, May 31, 2011
This day did not turn out as expected.

In preparation for our video presentation on Tuesday, I worked on Monday (Memorial Day).  My boss had commented that one of our studios was a mess.  So I decided I’d clean it on Monday.  This studio has become a storage room for trash to be “recycled.”  I have no idea why we are recycling—and I don’t know why we are storing it in my studio. 

To be recycled...

As I was cleaning this room, I discovered the bags of trash were quite heavy, they stunk and they were leaking goo all over the floor.  This made me mad.  I starting writing a scathing email that I was going to send to management about this matter but then I deleted it.  I knew we needed to make a good impression on our guests so I did my best to focus on cleaning the mess. 

As I said, the bags were heavy—I could not lift them.  So I carefully dragged them through several rooms, then to the warehouse near the dumpster.  As I was dragging this very disgusting trash—I thought to myself—“why am I doing this?  No one will notice.  No one will say thanks.  Why do we store trash to be recycled in our offices?  Why am I working on Memorial Day?  I am a fool for caring.” 

I decided just to accept the inevitable.  Someone has to get the office ready for our guests.  And I will simply apply Dale Carnegie’s principle:  Expect ingratitude.

I completed this task and considered other details.  Our guests have a long day ahead of them on Tuesday.  What can I do to make the day easier?  I decided I’d pick up their favorites snacks.  I also bought a bouquet of flowers—this would be a great way to welcome our guests when they arrive. 

I worked busily getting all the details together.  I again decided to accept the inevitable.  No one will notice.  No one will care.  I will expect ingratitude.  And I could very well be a fool for caring.

When my boss and guests arrived to the office this morning… I heard a squeal of delight as they noticed the flowers.  I was stunned. 

Then we walked through the offices together—and I knew my boss was cringing as we were approaching the trash filled studio.  She looked at me and when our guests weren’t looking, she whispered, “you cleaned it?!” 

We continued walking through the offices into our filming studio.  My boss looked at me again and said—“you’ve prepared the room so well.  It looks great.”

As the day progressed everyone enjoyed their favorite snacks.  I offered them Dr. Pepper—their favorite soft drink.  They responded by saying—“wow—she thought of everything.” 

I brought water bottles for the individuals who were the “stars” of the presentation.  I had straws ready—(so they wouldn’t ruin their makeup).  This detail was commented on and appreciated.

The final blow happened at the end of the day.  My boss made a comment about me in front of everyone:  “we would be screwed without her.”

So… clearly, my day and blog did not turn out as anticipated.  I was fully expecting ingratitude.  Instead everyone seemed to use a Dale Carnegie principle on me:
From How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 2. Give honest, sincere appreciation.

I find myself at a loss for words with this blog.  I think you my readers would be better equipped to write the conclusion or life lesson you are to take away from this story.  I think I’m too close and too affected by this experience. 

In a nutshell—do your best, expect ingratitude and show appreciation towards others.  When you do these three things—you will reap what you sow.  And don’t forget to thank God for the harvest.

Housekeeping / Notes
Your opinion counts! Don’t forget to rate my blog posts.
Feel free to judge a book by its cover!  I’ve created a handy page that shows all photos from past blogs.  Just click on the photo that draws your attention.

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 65. My choice in fingernail polish turns into opportunity to use a Dale Carnegie principle


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 65  Sunday, May 29, 2011
I decided to try something out of character today.  It’s something I’ve wanted to do but just couldn’t bring myself to spend the money on—especially considering I probably won’t like the outcome.  But once an idea is planted in my head—it’s pretty much set in motion.

I decided this was no big deal.  Women do this all the time.  Granted, I have an important day at work on Tuesday—I need to present myself in a professional manner.  This action may contradict professionalism. On the other hand… I just turned 33—who cares what anyone thinks or says?

So I boldly went into the nail salon.  I told them I wanted a manicure.  But this time—not a French tip manicure.  I wanted color.  Not just any color.  I chose the darkest color I could find other than black.  “Eiffel for you” was the name of the color—a play on words “I fell for you”.  It was a very deep, dark purple…nearly black. 

I handed it to the manicurist and studied her reaction. The world didn’t come crashing to an end—which surprised me.  She did say it was dark but she didn’t try to talk me out of it. She applied the first coat and I was surprised I loved it.  She warned it would get darker with the second coat. 

Oh my!

Once she finished I had very striking painted fingernails that were screaming for attention.  Clearly the nail polish lives up to its name—because I absolutely fell for that color. 

So by now you’re thinking what Dale Carnegie principle could I have possibly exercised in this scenario?  From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Don’t fuss about trifles.

Yes, it’s just a silly trip to the nail salon.  The color of fingernail polish isn’t exactly life threatening or a monumental decision that can produce catastrophes if the wrong color is chosen.  Yet for whatever reason I had always hesitated to experiment with color.  I figured it was childish—or unprofessional or whatever other adjective you can think of.  But it’s just fingernail polish!  And in the event that someone doesn’t like it… it doesn’t matter because I do.  The key is to not fuss about trifles. 

As I’ve demonstrated in my special way—I let a trifle take hold of me for too long.  Shame on me—yet it’s good that I finally decided enough is enough.  So learn from me—and take the first step towards not worrying about trifles.  Odds are your trifle isn’t as silly as fingernail polish—which means you’re already quite a few steps ahead of me!  So now there’s really no excuse for you to not take the steps towards overcoming your own trifles.  When you do this… you might discover something new about yourself.  In my case… I LOVE very deep, dark purple nail polish.

Housekeeping / Notes
Catch up on past blog post entries.  Day 64 was about good listening skills.
Pictorial / Blogs at a glance page has been updated for a quick overview of the past 65 days by photo. 
I’m looking for a few good writers!  That means you!  Read up on how you can become a guest blogger.  I’ll do most of the work for you!

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.

Listen!

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 63. Place your bets now: A short-term loss will pay off on Tuesday and beyond.


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 63.  Friday, May 27, 2011
It was roughly 4:45 pm.  Everyone is in “vacation” mode because it’s a three day weekend.  I met with my associate and asked how confident he felt about the upcoming video we are shooting on Tuesday.

He sighed. “I’m not feeling very good about it,” he said. 

I paused. I weighed the options in my head.  I took a deep breath and said, “you know—I realize it’s the weekend and you probably have plans with your family.  But maybe we should work on Monday (Memorial Day).  If it means we will be more prepared for Tuesday, I’m all for it.  Because come Tuesday, we will be too stressed with final preparations that creativity will probably go out the window.”

My associate agreed. 

So on Monday, a national holiday, we’ll be working—getting final preparations complete for our video on Tuesday.

The Dale Carnegie principle I employed is from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Cooperate with the inevitable.
Do the very best you can.

I have been looking forward to a day off.  I’ve been pulling some very late nights.  There are a variety of art projects I want to work on in my personal time.  Heck, I just want to sleep!   Having a three day weekend is just what I need.  But I am also aware that if we are not prepared for this big shoot on Tuesday—the experience will be very unfortunate, very disappointing.  We must do our best.  And to do our best we must work on Monday.

There's no use hiding. Cooperate with the inevitable.

There is no use griping, complaining, weaseling out of or pretending that “things will work out” without actually putting forth the necessary effort to ensure things will indeed work out.  And as disappointing or irritating it is to have to sacrifice a much needed day off—in the end the organization will be better off for having prepared. 

When you accept the inevitable, you don’t waste your energy on negativity. Instead you focus on the tasks that need to get done and in the long run you will be a better person for it. 

(Full disclosurethis day by no stretch of the imagination was easy.  Even the Smiling Daffodil for all her efforts continues to struggle.  However, I can take a day off any day I choose.  So it’s not a complete loss.  Again, the goal is to minimize stress on Tuesday.  Place your bets now….)

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 61. Dale Carnegie’s principles prevent road rage.


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 61.  Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The wonders of perspective.

I was driving home from work considering my blog options for the evening. I was thinking— no I can’t write about that instance quite the way I want to— I need to keep this blog family friendly. (it was a very frustrating day).  I grumble to myself.

The route I drive home is a long street that spans several cities.  It has synchronized lights pretty much the entire journey. As I crossed an intersection with a fresh green light, going 45-50 mph—I spotted unusual movement from the left side of the intersection. It couldn’t be, I thought. I verified my green light. I tap slowly on the brakes….then I stomp on the brakes and blared my horn like my life depended on it.

The unusual movement I noticed was a car that turned left on a red light… into my lane.  I was certain the accident was unavoidable.

I have no idea how I stopped just short of rear ending the car. 

I was so tempted to follow her and tell her exactly what I thought of her.  I came very close.  I slowed the car down and quickly weighed the options.
I decided not to escalate the moment any more than she had done with her carelessness. I instead focused on the miracle of not rear ending her while going 45-50 mph.

The Dale Carnegie principles I used are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Count your blessings—not your troubles.
Pray.

Despite being so shaken and upset by the driver I was very quick to thank God for protecting me. I was lucky to have noticed her. It was a busy intersection. I was lucky there wasn’t a car behind me—because I could have been rear ended in the process of avoiding an accident. 

The idiot driver who ran the red light was lucky she didn’t hit traffic that was in front of her. 

So remember, as bad as a day may have been at work it could always be worse.  So count your blessings and don’t dwell on your troubles.  When you take this approach the hassles of the day take on an insignificant role and you are left to focus on the important aspects in your life.

Day 59. When you feel overwhelmed, consider your surroundings


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 59.  Monday, May 23, 2011
Having arrived at 2 am from my trip on Monday morning, I opted to go into the office a little late today. 

Despite getting rest I was stressed all day.  I learned new techniques from the art conference I just returned from and I had so many different projects I wanted to test them on—that my day was rather unproductive.

My desk was messier than usual with all the new supplies and materials I brought from the convention.  At the end of my “half day” at work—I felt very unproductive and wondered why I went to the office.

Then I came home and continued to feel overwhelmed.  I realized the problem.  My suitcase needed unpacking. I had a load of laundry to run.  I needed to unload the dishwasher.  I had a stack of mail to go through.  I needed to sweep the kitchen. 

Time to clean!

Once I took care of these and a various other tasks this evening, I didn’t feel so overwhelmed anymore.

I adapted Dale Carnegie’s principle from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Clear your desk of all papers except those relating to the immediate problem at hand.

When you start feeling overwhelmed, look at your surroundings and consider the possibility that the excessive clutter and disorganization may be the cause of the unnecessary stress.  Then take the important step of cleaning.  You’ll be amazed how good the results feel.

Housekeeping / Notes
Help yourself!  Send friends, family, associates and challenging individuals in your life a link to one of your favorite Smiling Daffodil blog posts.  You never know… the positive influence might just rub off on them… and you’ll be the hero!

For your convenience, read past entries and browse oddball photos here