A turning point in my life came in 1982, at age 25. I purchased a paperback copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People for 50 cents at a garage sale. I kept it in my service truck and read it at lunch. It inspired me to listen to books on tape. I quit listening to my extensive blues collection, gave up the front page of the newspaper, and began keeping a journal. I turned into a sponge.
As an HVAC technician, I had a C-plus level of technical skills, but with Dale Carnegie's help, I became an A-plus People Guy. Sales and opportunity soon followed. His book became my human relations bible. That copy is now so dog-eared, pages fall out when I open it.
Born in Maryville, Missouri on November 24, 1888, Dale knew only poverty as a boy. He ascended to become the top salesman in his company and region by hard work and study. He moved to New York City in 1911 and began teaching public speaking courses at night so he could research and write during the day. In 1936, How to Win Friends and Influence People was published in the teeth of the Great Depression. Over the next 20 years it went on to sell over 5,000,000 copies by his untimely death in 1955. Dale believed in and taught one powerful strategy: It's possible to change other people's behavior by changing one's behavior toward them.
His ideas seemed counterintuitive to me when I first read them:
You can make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than you can in two years trying to get them interested in you.
Talk to someone about themselves and they can listen for hours!
Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn and most fools do. But it takes real character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.
I reread his classic self-help book, and listened to it on CD, recently. I borrowed my ten favorite principles from Dale and added ten of my own to create my Top 20 Timeless People Principles. They are rewritten here as affirmations or goals. If you adopt them and make them your own, people will want to spend more time with you, but won't know why! They will go out of their way to see you, buy from you, and tell you things they don't tell their barber, banker, or best friend.
Submitted for your approval, here are My Top 20 Human Relations Goals:
- I smile to as many people as I can all day long. I insist on joy!
- I have an amazing memory for names. I employ I.R.A. (Impression, Repetition, Association) so their name sticks in my mind.
- I dominate the listening in every conversation and people enjoy being around me! I love to listen and learn all day long.
- I employ "Yes AND" while I listen to others talk. I keep the spotlight on other people. I observe, acknowledge, and heighten what I hear to make my conversations about other people. It's not about me!
- I am a GOOD-Finder. I enjoy catching others doing things right. My favorite phrase is "Good for you!" I enjoy making other people feel important.
- I avoid arguments with negative or mean people. I smile politely and walk away. I would rather be happy than right.
- I show respect for other people's opinions, often saying, "You feel strongly about that..." I resist the temptation to correct, criticize, or condemn.
- When I am wrong, I promptly admit it. Life is too short to be a jerk.
- I begin a conversation in a friendly way. My attitude and approach to others is consistently positive, affirming and kind.
- I ask Open-Ended Questions (Who, What, Where, When, How, Why) to learn more about the people I meet. I am naturally curious.
- I enjoy silence. I think twice and speak once, or not at all.
- I let other people feel the idea is theirs. I often give credit away. I build other people's confidence and esteem. I grow people.
- I am an Empathetic Person, easily and consistently seeing things from the other person's point of view.
- I am sympathetic with other people's struggles and challenges. I truly care about my fellow man.
- I appeal to a noble motive to inspire others to greater heights. I dare them, nudge them, assist them in releasing their potential. I throw down a challenge to raise the bar!
- I dramatize my ideas with inspiring and relevant stories to make a point and motivate others to change for the better.
- I genuinely love people and I am making a difference in people's lives.
- I consistently say positive or empowering things behind other people's back. It usually gets back to them. I avoid gossip like a deadly virus.
- I speak in terms of other people's interests. I am OTHER-Centered.
- I affirm these goals twice a day, as they are rapidly becoming a natural and organic part of who I am. I know that all meaningful and lasting change starts first on the inside and works its way out. I love people and my life.
Imagine what would happen and how your relationships might change for the good if you read these 20 goals twice a day for 30 days. Better still, record them on Garage Band, transfer to your iPhone, and listen to them 10 times a day, like your favorite song while you drive, work out, or nap! You just might win way more friends and influence everyone you meet, but that wouldn't work where you live-or would it?
I kind of miss that old service truck. Come to think of it, I kind of miss audio cassettes, too. You know, twisting the reel to make certain it plays right? Okay, not really. Now where did I put my iPhone? I have some goals to listen to...
A Little Something Extra
Every once a while I come across something that makes me say, "Wow!" I do not know who wrote this. Perhaps it was that prolific writer, A. Nony Mous? One thing is clear: it's an amalgam, a jambalaya of ideas from a myriad of sources. It IS, at least to me, inspiring.
Fear less, hope more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more and all good things will be yours. Never regret. If it's good, it's wonderful. If it's bad, it's experience. Sing your song, dance your dance, dream your dreams, hope your hope. The future depends upon what we do in the present. You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. Never, never, never, never give up. Fall down seven times, stand up eight. The harder you work, the luckier you get. No matter what you do, there will always be critics. Don't wait. The time will never be just right. Eighty percent of success is just showing up on time. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter; those who matter don't mind. Believe deep down in your heart and soul that you are destined to do great things. Whatever you are, be a good one. Love is far better than anger, hope is better than despair, forgiveness is better than resentment, so let's be loving, hopeful, forgiving, and optimistic. We will change the world.
I hope you liked that half as much as I did. Make it a great life. Why not you?