Day 86. In retrospect, my gift was more like a macaroni art project….


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 86.  Sunday, June 19, 2011
I was up late on Saturday.  I was frantic because I wasn’t certain I had a sewing needle in the house.  I can’t give an unfinished pillow as a gift with the stuffing falling out….

I painstakingly stitched the pillow closed—hoping no one would notice the imperfections with the crooked stitches.  I wrapped the finished pillow in tissue paper and was actually glad I took the time to make a gift instead of buy a gift card.

The colors for the pillow were chosen for a reason.  They had an Asian flair to them. 

I pride myself in my marketing skills.  But I failed at this task completely.  I presented the gift to the recipient and I think he was either embarrassed, puzzled or didn’t like it.  He thanked me.  I replied, “I made it.”  “Yes, I can see that.”

Some see food, others see art project. It's all about perspective....

In retrospect I should have thought about what is important to this person.  His likes, his preferences, his interests—instead of thinking he’d like a homemade pillow.  I felt dejected—thinking my pillow was the equivalent of a child’s macaroni art project. 

I was at a very important crossroad in my mind.  I decided to take a very sharp turn and create happiness for others instead of dwelling on everything that went wrong with this day. 

I remembered Walter—he’s divorced, his kids are grown and odds are he’s alone today.  I sent him a text message wishing him a Happy Father’s Day.  To my surprise, he immediately texted me back thanking me.

This was balm for my wounds.  So I sent another text—this time to Alejandro.  Alejandro has a stepson.  Every year that he’s been married I have wished him a Happy Father’s Day.  I am the only one in his life that wishes him a Happy Father’s Day.  He too responded back immediately—thanking me and pointing out yet again that I never fail at remembering year after year.

Last, I sent a text to another friend—Mustafa.  He’s divorced and has a little girl.  I’m always touched by his Facebook wall posts about his weekends with his daughter.  You can really see that he loves his daughter.  He also responded immediately.

For my final mental trick—I was leaving my home when I noticed my neighbors were packing their suburban.  The last time I saw my neighbor she was pregnant.  (You might remember the “Ode to the Rotting Fish story”)   Well, she has since had her baby—and I could see the baby seat in the car.  I rolled down my window and smiled.  Then I got out of my car and excitedly went to see the new baby.  I wished her husband a Happy Father’s Day. 

I’d like to say this day was a piece of cake.  I’d like to say that it’s easy to implement the Dale Carnegie principles every single day.  Some days are a real challenge.  However, through the entire process I was aware I had the tools I needed to get through the day.  I also have black and white proof—85 days to be exact—of implementing the principles. 

It is true I should have been more aware of the person’s interests when choosing a gift—and perhaps I could have marketed the homemade pillow better—pointing out the features and why it should be of interest or value. 

 On the bright side—as the day unfolded not as I planned—I knew I had potential for a good blog.  It was just up to me to figure out how to make lemonade from this day.  I knew I had to choose to make lemonade otherwise I’d have an unhappy day.

The Dale Carnegie principles I used today are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Create happiness for others.
Profit from your losses.
Keep busy.

From How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 17.  Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.

I hope you find value to this story for the right reasons.  My main objective in sharing it is not for sympathy.  Understand that people are who they are—and they don’t always realize the effects of their actions.  I’m among those people more often than not.  Knowing what disappointment feels like—I realize the need to be more appreciative of others for what they do for me.  Remember this the next time you are met with disappointment and learn to change your own behavior before pointing the blame at everyone else. The only person you can change is yourself and how you deal with situations. 

Incidentally, I made two more heart pillows today for no other reason than to keep my mind busy for my own sake.  And let me tell you…. they are stunning.  I might have to go into the pillow business if my lemonade stand doesn’t last. 

Housekeeping / Notes

  • Coming soon!  Two guest blog posts!  Two of my favorite gentlemen have stepped up to the challenge.  More information coming soon.
  • Don’t forget—mi casa es su casa (my home is your home).  There is always room for a guest blogger at the Smiling Daffodil’s blog home.  All are welcome.  You don’t even need skills at writing.  Click for more information.
  • It was a busy weekend.  In case you missed a post, click on the Pictorial/Archive section. Thank you for reading my blog. 

Day 25. Fight for your happiness


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

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

DEEP SIGH from Malcolm. 

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

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

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

Fight for your happiness.

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

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

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

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