I just finished up my second Dale Carnegie book, How To Win Friends And Influence People. It was a quick read, and filled with all kinds of stories about how people were able to overcome various obstacles and improve themselves and their relationships with others.
Overall, I walked away from the book impressed once again at the simple wisdom contained in its pages. If I had to sum it up, I would say that one of the keys to success in life is to genuinely care for other people.
Carnegie spends a good deal of the book explaining how people respond to basic kindness and concern. By trying to understand the other person’s point of view, you can often get them to do the same for you. I remember a phrase from my business school days, dialogue is a two-way street.
It seems to me that we’re slowly coming to understand the negative impact of focusing only on ourselves, our perceived wants and needs, rather than on how our own desires can be combined with those around us and a greater good could be obtained. Just think of the impact of the mortgage crisis and you get the idea.
If we could shift our focus away from ourselves and on to others, it just might make our lives more enjoyable and less stressful. We can do this by:
- Being less critical of others. First, focus on the good, then move towards areas of improvement.
- Giving honest and sincere appreciation whenever you can. The key here is sincerity.
- Becoming genuinely interested in other people.
- First focusing on areas of agreement before talking about areas of disagreement.
- Making the other person feel important.
- Talking less and listening more.
These were just a few of the many tidbits of wisdom I gleaned from Carnegie’s book. Of course, there are many more, and I suggest you get a copy for yourself.
Throughout my reading, I thought of many past situations where I could have benefitted from Carnegie’s timeless wisdom. Oh well. We can’t go back, only forward. 🙂