“The ideas I stand for are not mine. I borrowed them from Socrates. I swiped them from Chesterfield. I stole them from Jesus. And I put them in a book. If you don’t like their rules, whose would you use?” – Dale Carnegie
I’ve told you about my Dale Carnegie experience — how by taking a course designed to improve my public-speaking skills, I discovered something about myself that changed my life.
It was based on an accident. I’d meant to enroll in a speechmaking course but instead got placed in the basic, 14-week, Carnegie self-improvement program, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”
I was the worst student in the class — or tied, perhaps, with OP, who became a lifelong friend. Cynical and suspicious, I despised what I took to be the silly, do-goodish prattle of the class teachers. But I’d paid good money to be there, so I begrudgingly went along with the program — and I’m very glad I did.
My breakthrough came when I realized that all my hard work and ambition were amounting to nothing because I didn’t have an intelligent way to focus my goals. The moment I fixed that problem, major changes took place. (One example: I went from being bankrupt to being a bona fide millionaire within 24 months.)
But there were other lessons to be learned, the most important of which is the title of both the program and Carnegie’s book: “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”
Read the book. You’ll see what I mean. Or, for the moment, consider 10 of Carnegie’s precepts — and ask yourself how many of them you follow:
1. Never say, “You’re wrong.”
2. Never get yourself into an argument.
3. When wrong, admit it immediately.
4. Begin all conversations in a friendly way.
5. Get the other person to say “yes” as soon as possible.
6. Let the other person feel that your idea is his own.
7. Be sympathetic with the other person’s fears and desires.
8. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
9. Give honest, sincere appreciation.
10. Smile.[Ed. Note. Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]