365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles
Day 84. Friday, June 17, 2011
It was noon and I had enough of the day. I turned off my computer and I left the building.
I decided to take a lunch. I never take lunches. I have a light “snack” at Starbucks everyday instead of a lunch. But today was not an ordinary day. I had to get out of the building for a change of scenery.
I ended up at Wendy’s. I stood in line for a minute and determined it wasn’t worth the wait in line. I returned to my car and sat there a few moments and prayed.
“Dear God. I need a place to eat. I don’t want to eat but I need a change of perspective. I’m trying to make lemonade out of this ridiculously horrible day.”
That’s when it hit me. McDonald’s has a new strawberry lemonade. Although I hate everything that has lemon flavor I do happen to like this drink. Besides, what a great pun!
As I drove to McDonald’s I gave myself a pep talk.
Smiling Daffodil’s Pep Talk: “I determine my own happiness. I manufacture genuine happiness each and every day. I will not let people’s thoughtless behaviors or unreasonable demands affect the outcome of my day. I will profit from my losses. I will expect ingratitude. I will figure out how to use their carelessness towards me to my advantage. I have succeeded at this for 83 days. Today will be no different. People are who they are and they will not change. All I can do to cope with this is to change myself and how I react to people.”
I arrived at McDonald’s full of hope and an open mind. I was determined to find something positive at McDonald’s to change my outlook on the day. There were a lot of families with their children and the children were quite… rambunctious. I found this distracting and entertaining.
I ate my meal and lived in the moment trying to think of Dale Carnegie principles that would help me deal with my frustrations from the silly people I work with. I even sent an SOS for prayers from a friend. I don’t like to do that often… but today was one of those days.
I don’t know how it happened. Was it the strawberry lemonade? Perhaps the homemade lemon decorations all over the restaurant?
Maybe it was the friendly manager that apologized for the noise of all the children.
Maybe it was my resolve to turn this day into a good blog. Or it was the prayers on my behalf that were kicking in.
I have no idea what caused the change of perspective. But I found myself calm. I was able to reflect on the day and I resolved to stay focused and do my best to get through it.
You see—I had two projects that had to get finished TODAY. I can’t go home / go to sleep / have my weekend / etc until these two tasks are done. No exceptions. Normally I just have one of these projects on Fridays. But today was special. I had two disastrous, stressful projects to complete.
And to top it off—management had TONS of changes to one of the projects. I did my best to smile as they gave me their changes. But it was very hard. I felt so helpless trying to figure out how I could spin time out of straw. My eyes betrayed me again—but this time I knew my best bet was to remove myself from the building, take a deep breath and figure out how to solve the extreme workload.
I returned and the work was still there waiting for me. It was a big heap of chaos on my desk. I decided to delegate what I could and I slowly chipped away at all the details.
Surprisingly, I got my work complete in a calm, professional manner. I gave appreciation where it was due. Without my assistant I would not have been able to complete one of the projects without staying very late.
There’s an assortment of Dale Carnegie principles I used today. From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Try to profit from your losses.
Use the law of averages to outlaw your worries.
Cooperate with the inevitable.
I knew there was no point in arguing or complaining about the absurd workload today. I accepted the inevitable that I would have to work a very long, tedious and mentally draining day. I reminded myself this is not the first time this has happened. I have a successful track record of getting tedious projects finished. I was also aware of my own impatience with absurd people—so I prayed and asked a friend for backup prayers. In the end—everything worked out as things usually do.
This is a long story but I hope it has value to you. When you find yourself surrounded by very absurd people or circumstances and what’s worse—you’re the only one that can recognize the absurdity—these are the days that you really appreciate the value of living the Dale Carnegie principles. These principles are not pie in the sky or overly optimistic and nauseating statements. I have tested them. They are real and they work.
Housekeeping / Notes:
If you missed a blog post or two this week, you are welcome to click on over to the Pictorial archive section.