“You can be totally rational with a machine. But if you work with people, sometimes logic often has to take a backseat to understanding.”” – Akio Morita

One of the most powerful personal-development experiences you can have comes from Dale Carnegie. In his How to Win Friends and Influence People program, he points out three habits that tend to diminish and even destroy relationships. All three, happily, begin with the letter C – making them easy to remember.

If you want a good relationship, Carnegie argues, there are three things you must NOT do:

* Criticize

* Complain

* Condemn

As someone who loves to moan and groan, I have enormous difficulty with this advice. But it’s never failed to work wonders for me.

If you have a problem relationship – business or personal – this will have a profoundly positive effect on it. By the time things go bad, there is so much direct or indirect criticism going on that the relationship itself gets stuck.

And unless you make a conscious effort to stop being negative, things won’t get better. (There’s just too much negative stuff you hardly even notice you are doing.)

This formula is very strong. Even if you did nothing else but this, you’d ensure trouble-free relationships.

Clarification: We recognize that from time to time we are asked for criticism or that it is our duty to criticize. I’m not suggesting you discontinue this. But if you avoid the impulsive criticisms, the careful, necessary ones will be better received and have a much better effect.

Today’s Action Brief is meant to help you recognize how often you C, C, or C without even realizing you’re doing it – and to introduce you to the dramatic impact this kind of discipline can have.

Spend the next 24 hours without – ever or even slightly – criticizing anyone, complaining about anything, or condemning any person, place, or thing.

It won’t be easy, but do it anyway. For 24 hours straight. And then, if that works, pick out someone with whom you’re having a bit of trouble. Make yourself a promise not to criticize, condemn, or complain about him for a full week. If that works, extend it to a month. In a month’s time, you’ll have a whole new, very positive relationship. Guaranteed.