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.