Day 97. A method you can implement to help you “count your blessings – not your troubles”

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 97.  Friday, July 1, 2011
I was driving home from work—I was mentally drained.  Half the staff took the day off today since it’s the Friday leading to the 4th of July weekend.

Those of us that had to work had a busy day.  I had a marketing campaign to launch.  Plus I had invoicing to complete and a variety of marketing projects to plan. 

My commute is about 30 miles and I tend to think too much during that time.  Several friends are on vacation.  I haven’t taken a vacation in quite some time. 

You can see where my thoughts were going….

I decided to focus on counting my blessings instead of my troubles.  And to do this effectively I chose a random letter of the alphabet and tried to name off my traits, qualities and blessings that matched the letter.

Example:  the letter “T”
I have tenacity

Example:  the letter “C”
I am good at making cookies
I have courage.
A friend of mine said recently I was cute.

Example:  the letter “D”
I am disciplined.
I can appreciate delicious food. (I am convinced not everyone does)

Example:  the letter “S”
I made two shirts that my peers really liked.

Example:  the letter “G”
I am the godparent to my friend’s baby boy.

You get the idea.  While it seemed a bit childish or perhaps self-serving—it was a positive mental exercise.  Coming up with words became an interesting puzzle to focus on during the very long commute.  It also reminded me that no matter what I think—I am blessed and should be grateful for every gift no matter how insignificant.

 By the time I made it home my entire outlook improved.

The Dale Carnegie principle I used today is from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Count your blessings not your troubles.

My lesson to you—if you find yourself feeling down or disappointed about your circumstances or your station in life—take a very proactive approach to changing your outlook.  Identify your blessings in a very specific way as I did.  By doing this—you spend your time thinking about the positive rather than what you don’t have or your troubles.  The outcome—you’ll feel a lot better.

Day 94. I was enthusiastic over a hotdog….

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 94.  Tuesday, June 28, 2011
This morning my associate asked me to photograph a holiday table runner. (if you’re not in to decorating—a table runner is a linen you would place on a table for decoration).

My specialty is photographing butterflies, spiders, flowers—basically anything in nature.   Clearly a table runner is not any of these things.  And to make matters worse—the table runner needs props—like a nice table, maybe a plate of cookies, or perhaps props to suggest a picnic or 4th of July cookout… like a hamburger or hotdog….

My heart sank as I thought about having to do this task.  I don’t have any of these props—and this is not my area of expertise.  This is why we use a professional studio for these types of products—because we just aren’t equipped to do this ourselves.

I decided I couldn’t avoid the task even though I felt this was beyond my skill level. I started scouting the office building for a nice table and various other props I could use for this photograph.  It was a real stretch of the imagination—we have office furniture like filing cabinets, desks and shelves—not picnic tables, or side tables or 4th of July props. 

I managed to find a nice oak finish table but the shot looked pretty boring.  I needed a festive plate of cookies or something.  I went to the kitchen to see what I could “borrow”. 

That’s when I spotted them on the counter… hot dog buns from a recent company cookout.  Then I checked the refrigerator… yes!  I found an unopened package of Hebrew National Hotdogs!  But wait… it gets better.  Mustard!  Potato chips! 

My thoughts were racing as I grabbed all the food and took everything to my little photography studio.  I thought I could get away with just throwing all the props on the table runner and taking a photo.  But I really needed to set up a hotdog in a bun with potato chips on the side.  The scene I was creating had to look authentic. 

I tracked down the owner of the hotdogs for permission to use one for my photo shoot.  He looked at me with amusement and said—“that’s an unusual request.  Go for it Smiling Daffodil.” 

So I did.  I prepared my plate of food to use as a prop—a cold hotdog in a bun with mustard.  It was a thing of beauty.  I think everyone in the office thought this time I really lost my mind.  But I was having ridiculous fun. 

I set my plate of food on the table runner and snapped photos.  The scene was good considering I’ve had little experience or success with these types of scenes.

Oh, the perks of being a "photographer" today! After the photo shoot I got to eat the props. Tomorrow I'm hoping to photograph a steak!

The Dale Carnegie principle I used today is from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Put enthusiasm into your work.

Today I photographed a hotdog on a table runner with enthusiasm and it shows.  If I had thrown my hands up in the air in defeat before even starting I would have failed.  Instead I decided to do my best and make this task fun and creative. 

My lesson to you—if I can get excited over a hotdog—imagine what you can do!  Put enthusiasm into your work—and you might just discover success will come naturally. 

Housekeeping / Notes:
Mark your calendars for Guest Blog Wednesday!  (for new arrivals— all my blogs get posted sometime between 11 pm – 3 am.  Guest Blog Wednesday
theoretically happens on Thursday). 

Catch up on past blogs, reread your favorites or look at past blog photos by clicking here

Writers needed!  If I can write about a hotdog I am certain you have an even better story to share.  Just pick any of the Dale Carnegie principles (they are at the bottom of each of my blogs—and tell me how you have applied the principle.  That’s it!  If you are reading this blog—I am certain you know how to reach me.  Post a comment, email or send an instant message.  Or try the old fashioned way— talk to me face to face.  Ha.

Thank you for reading.  (Yes, the final photo with the actual table runner looks much better than the photo featured here…)

Day 89: San Quentin, rotting fish and Dale Carnegie’s principle– “don’t fuss about trifles.”

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 89.  Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Last week I noticed one of my blog posts appeared when someone used a search engine.  This was not unusual.  But the phrase that the person used was unusual.  Someone typed the phrase:  “Why can’t you wear jeans at San Quentin?”  and my blog appeared in the results.  I have no idea how that happened.  It is true—sometimes it feels like I am in a prison—but I’ve never verbalized it.  (Oops!)

This morning I woke up and reached for my iPhone to review stats and search engine terms for my blog.  Sure enough—someone did a search and my blog post appeared in the results.  Although I was half asleep at the time—the phrase startled me completely awake:  “Dale Carnegie rot”.   


I thought—maybe someone can’t spell?  But I couldn’t think of an alternative word that was also positive… rotten, Rottweiler….

Since I was wide awake I got up and ready for the day.    

“Rot?”  I mean really?  I thought about the word way too much. 

I considered shutting down the lemonade stand—also known as my blog.  Someone thinks my stories are rot….

I struggled finding something to wear today.  I considered the fact that I have missed the gym for 5 days now.  I feel huge.  My blog and work are keeping me too busy to have time for the gym.  As it is I’m going to bed around 2 am.  I’m blissfully happy and productive but I’m also sleepy and I feel chunky. 

Maybe I should shut down the blog.  But then I remembered today is Guest Blog day.  I can’t let my friend down.  His blog proves the value of using the Dale Carnegie principles.  And if he was willing to be a guest blogger—surely then my blog isn’t “rot”. 

I considered the perspective of the person that typed “Dale Carnegie rot”.  Hmm… Yes… my stories can be a bit on the absurd, happy-go-lucky, pour on the extra sugar and syrup—sappy side. 

Yes, I can see how my writings might inspire the word “rot”. 

Hmm… I wonder which blog story came up in that search?  I concluded with sadness that all of them qualify for that description.

Well, I’m feeling fat, I have blemishes on my face, my hair is the wrong style, my house is a mess and my blog stories appear in search engines with the words “Dale Carnegie rot.”  Grumble.  This day doesn’t look so good.

So I decided to do the most logical thing.  I pulled out the Clorox and vacuum and I cleaned.  I amused myself thinking—it took the word “rot” to inspire me to clean.

Around this time I remembered some details I had forgotten about my own blog.  I had written a blog with the word “rot” in it.  My first blog was about a rotting fish.  It was the catalyst for me to begin this blog. 

It’s one of my favorite stories.  Instead of focusing on the malicious person who threw a large dead fish into my backyard to rot—I scooped it up, disposed of it and focused on making lemonade—by starting a blog.

Oddly, I have fond memories of the stench from that rotting fish.  The stench from that horribly rotten and fly infested fish—has become symbolic for me.  I take “rot” and other frustrations and try to find the positive and humor in them. 

So, a special thank you to whoever it was that searched “Dale Carnegie rot”.  I was inspired to clean the house and return to the gym.  (And I don’t think you were trying to imply my stories were bad.  I’m still trying to master the “get thicker skin” and “don’t assume the worst” principles by the way…)

The Dale Carnegie principles I used are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Get all the facts.
Keep busy.
Don’t fuss about trifles.

The lesson I hope you take from this story—you have the ability to control how you react to the day’s events.  Don’t jump to conclusions.  Don’t assume the worst about yourself or people’s opinions of you.  Simply don’t worry!

Do your best to look for the good, the humor—or my personal favorite—the irony of the day.  It makes the day more manageable and amusing.

As I type this blog and look back at how the rest of the day turned out—I had a really wonderful day!  To think I was going to let trifles get the best of me!

Housekeeping / Notes:
Be sure to read the post by my newest guest blogger, Esteban.  He not only makes lemonade but he demonstrates the qualities of a good father.  Click here to read his story.

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 53. My dog did not eat my homework. I was simply using a Dale Carnegie principle….

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 53.  Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Despite getting 4 ½ hours of sleep I had the perfect Tuesday. I was convinced I was invincible.  I can operate with little sleep, I can be productive at work, I can convince others of my perspective AND I haven’t blown a fuse with anyone at work.  Life is good.

When I sat down on Tuesday night—I labored on the blog entry.  To be specific… I fell asleep while writing it.  For 52 days the words have come out so easily but Day 53 the well was dry.  I had TONS to say but the words weren’t coming out right.  When I woke up from my “cat nap” in the living room I considered my options:

Option 1.  My blog must get posted now. 
Option 2.  I’m really exhausted and need sleep right now.

Reluctantly, I shuffled into bed.  My last thoughts as I rested my head on my pillow were a jumble of words for my precious blog.

When I woke up this morning I felt something strange.  I was well rested.  My head didn’t have that zombie-like feeling like the night before. 

There is a Dale Carnegie principle I don’t often apply from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.  I avoid it—to be exact.  But I have proven through my missteps that it is an important one:
Rest before you get tired.

It turns out… grumble… that I’m not a machine.  Double Grumble.  I had an entirely different blog written and I could have dug my heels in deep and found the energy to post it.  However, it was taking an incredible amount of effort to do this—simply because I was exhausted.  Perhaps you, my readers would have been satisfied with the blog—but in my heart of hearts I know it wasn’t my best because I was drained.

What I have proven and I hope you see—it’s not only ok to let yourself rest—it’s vital.  If you don’t rest—it does catch up to you—you might lash out—you might not produce your best, you might have that zombie-like feeling I experienced.  It doesn’t diminish you as a person for needing rest.  It simply proves you’re human.  This is where I can’t resist ending with… GRUMBLE.  Ha.

Spread the love!   Please pass the links along with family, friends or people you think might benefit from a little Dale Carnegie in their lives.  It’s my version of vegetables… dipped in dark chocolate. 

Don’t forget to visit the Non-Readers section for a pictorial view of the blog.
Feedback folks!  Rate my blogs, post comments.  My playground is your playground.