Day 31. Dale Carnegie’s principles gave me courage to save Lassie’s relative. Part 1


Lassie's relative: Francis the Easter Dog

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 31.  April 25, 2011
It was 11 pm on Sunday.  The Easter festivities from the day were over.  I was going to pick up my workout clothes at home and head to the gym.  (I spent entire day trying to figure out how I could do two workouts in one day since I skipped my Saturday run at the gym).  So much for living in day-tight compartments.

There had been a severe storm with heavy winds and hail that evening.  It cleared up but it was still very wet outside.  As I reached the end of a street and stopped at the stop sign—I noticed a dog.  It was circling a parked car.  I looked around to see if there was an owner but the dog was by itself. 

I parked my car at the stop sign and got out of the car.  The dog came up to me immediately.  I was a bit scared… is it a dog… is it a coyote… after composing myself I confirmed it was the same type of dog from the old TV program— “Lassie”.  Ha! Certainly not a wild, fierce animal. 

It started circling my car.  The poor thing was scared.  I started talking to it—“where are your parents?  Do you know where you live?  What’s your name?”

Since it was a dog—clearly it couldn’t answer.  But it sure was friendly—it came up to me—and at one point I bravely stroked its fur.  I wasn’t sure what to do with the dog.  I couldn’t leave it alone.  But it’s 11 pm.  The neighborhood is asleep.

I said a prayer, “please God I don’t know what to do.  I am afraid of big dogs—and there’s no way I’m going to pick it up.”

I decided to open the back passenger door of my car.  If it’s meant that I get involved—the dog will enter the car without coaxing. 

 Well, the dog hopped right into my car. 

I closed the door, walked around to the driver’s side and entered my precious car that now has a wet dog inside.  I prayed the dog wasn’t waiting to bite me as I sat down.

Well, it sat there in the back seat, waiting for me to drive.  So I did.  I carried on a lengthy conversation with it as I drove.  I did this mainly to keep my nerves down as I figured out what I was supposed to do with a wet dog at 11 pm on Easter Sunday.  I was worried the dog was waiting for the right moment to jump on top of me and bite me or perhaps have an accident all over the interior of my car.  But it didn’t.  It just sat there. 

I headed into another city nearby—where there’s an animal hospital that is open all night.  I’m telling the dog about my own dog and some other dogs I know—and about the friendly animal hospital we are visiting.  I assure the dog we will find his parents. 

 As I pull into the animal hospital I explain to the dog that I will be right back.  I head into the hospital and open with:  “I may have lost my mind…. I never do things like this… I was driving home… there was a bad storm… and there was a lost dog… I couldn’t leave it….”

They assured me I did the right thing.  They gave me a leash and I returned to the car where the dog is waiting.  The dog is scared.  I am scared.  I try to get the leash on—but the dog decided to move to the driver’s seat.  I head to the front passenger’s seat—but am still scared of putting the leash around its neck.  I’m also scared of getting bitten. And I’m scared of fleas and ticks.  And what if it growls at me. 

I decide to embrace the inevitable.  I must get the dog out of my car with or without getting attacked.  I decided to talk to the dog who is still sitting nervously in the driver’s seat of my car.  With blind faith I picked him up.  I carried the shivering, wet dog inside the animal hospital—still talking to it assuring him it will be ok.  Oddly, between the dog and me—I think I was the braver, calmer one. 

I set him down and the vet gave him a dry towel.  It turned out the dog didn’t have a collar but he had a microchip embedded in him.  The vet explained that it will take at least a day for the microchip center to research the owner—and hopefully the microchip has current information. 

I gave the hospital all my contact information and they assured me they will do their best to find his owners.  The dog kept looking at me—as if we had bonded—I felt so sad leaving him there.  But the vet was very attentive and loving toward the dog.  He was in good hands.  They even mentioned they might take him home for the night.  I took several photos of the dog and assured him I would find his owners. 

By this time it’s midnight.  I realize that the gym is out of the question.  I decided that in the grand scheme of things—missing the gym for a second day in a row is not the end of the world.  And for this dog’s sake and the dog owners’ sake it was a necessary sacrifice. 

Sometimes events out of the norm give the right dose of perspective on what’s important.  I spent the entire day devising creative ways I could get two gym workout sessions done on Easter Sunday—of all days.  Despite all the planning and worrying—a new opportunity unfolded—as if to test my flexibility and to remind me to live in the moment and do what needs to be done.

 The Dale Carnegie principles I used:
From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
– How to face trouble:  
     *
As yourself, “What’s the worst that can possibly happen?”
     *
Prepare to accept the worst.
     *
Try to improve on the worst.

– Cooperate with the inevitable.
Pray. 

The Dale Carnegie principle that is a work in progress for me:
– Live in ‘day-tight compartments.’

This story is to be continued…

Day 11. A fork in the road


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 11.  April 5, 2011
 I was at work with some associates when a discussion arose regarding another employee—named ‘McKinley Jones’.  The discussion was whether McKinley would be the appropriate person to take on a new responsibility at work. 

Now, before I took the Dale Carnegie course, I would have said something like this:
McKinley does a good job BUT…. McKinley doesn’t tend to come up with new ideas… if you remember, McKinley had a difficult time completing the last task… etc etc….

But now that I’m a Dale Carnegie graduate, I responded to my associates with these words:
It’s been my experience and I’m sure you’ll agree that McKinley is very good at following through on specific goals.  I think McKinley is up to the challenge of this new responsibility and will do well.  I am certain that if we clearly define the goals and tasks we expect McKinley to accomplish we will not be disappointed.

Now, to be clear—the second response did require some mental acrobatics on my part.  I had to take a deep breath and think hard about my decision.  I reached that fork in the road—where I could take the easy route of criticizing, condemning and complaining about an individual—or I could try a new, unworn path of finding the positive in an individual.  I chose the unworn path.    

Take a deep breath as you approach the fork in the road. Choose not to criticize, condemn or complain.

The effect—I did not damage the perception of McKinley Jones – I pointed out the positive attributes that McKinley contributes to the company.  Odds are high that when people think of McKinley they will think—that person is goal oriented.  Give McKinley a task and it gets done.  Period.

Imagine what the perception would be if I took the negative route to describe McKinley.  People would walk away thinking, gosh, you can’t rely on McKinley to come up with ideas.  Why is McKinley still here—or I sure hope I don’t get assigned to a project with McKinley.  This perception would not only affect the office but it would affect McKinley in a negative way.  McKinley would live down to the expectations. 

The principle I used today (and was really proud of this huge accomplishment) is from Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 1.  Do not criticize, condemn or complain.

So remember, your words are powerful.  They can affect the perception that people have of another person.  Choose your words carefully and avoid criticizing, condemning or complaining about an individual. Focus on the positive characteristics of a person and that person will live up to the perception and expectations you have set forth.  You will also demonstrate a higher level of maturity and discipline.

Day 1 of 365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles


As a recent graduate from the Dale Carnegie course, I have been putting effort into living the Dale Carnegie principles.  To take the process one step further—I have decided to make myself accountable by starting a daily blog to document exactly what principles I have lived for the next 365 days. 

My hope is to grow as a person and invite others to grow with me in this process.  I am certain if you put any one of the principles into practice you too will benefit from the results.

Day 1.  March 26, 2011

How I turned rotting fish into lemonade using the Dale Carnegie approach.

It was a beautiful Spring morning—warm and sunny with the promise of a great day.  I was approaching the gate on the side of my house to enter the backyard.  I stopped in my tracks… I noticed a very foul stench and looked around for the cause.  I opened the gate and there was the source of the foul stench:  a Wal-Mart bag with a huge dead fish. 

At this juncture I’d like to say that I handled the moment in a civilized fashion—but I’m human.  I was just plain livid—spouting out a colorful bouquet of choice words for the prankster(s).  My instinct was to go to the neighbors and politely accuse them of throwing a rotting fish in my backyard.  But I didn’t.  I grabbed my shovel, a trash can and bag and scooped the rotting fish, mush and all.  In all it took minutes—I did what needed to be done—as an adult, a homeowner and as a Carnegie graduate. 

As I did this task—I racked my brain trying to make sense of things.  What human being would throw a fish into someone’s yard?  What does this say about the person?  I’ve been listening to Jim Rohn and the Art of Exceptional Living.  As Jim Rohn describes it—a person who says he doesn’t do his best in just one area of his life—is fooling himself.  A behavior—good or bad—trickles into all areas of a person’s life.

So today I decided to turn a rotting fish into lemonade by creating a blog.  The principle I used is from Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Part 4:  Try to profit from your losses.

When you try to profit from your losses– you will grow as a person, discover new opportunities and find happiness even in the most unpleasant of circumstances.