Dale Carnegie

Most people don’t have access to the kind of power that money brings or great connections. So, in these typical circumstances how do you gain influence?

According to Tom Peters in his book The Pursuit of Wow and Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, perhaps unexpectedly, the answer seems to be to just act with genuine care, generosity, forgiveness, and empathy

By doing things like demonstrating you care through thank-you notes, voicing appreciation, sharing credit abundantly, and being sincerely interested in others, people who interact with us will experience a psychological affinity. We gravitate toward the good, and we want to follow people who seem to sincerely be seeking our best interests.

In human resources, you’re taught that the best way to treat employees is to trust them. Allow them broad discretion, believe they’ll make good decisions, and show it to them by involving them when possible in the decision-making process.

Autonomy creates satisfaction and productivity. If you don’t believe me, just Google “autonomy and productivity”.

It’s like this with personal relationships as well. Trust the people in your life to make good decisions. Dale Carnegie’s terrific book How to Win Friends and Influence People alludes to this idea when he says that you should “Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to”. 

You might be thinking, “Kyle, but I know people in my life can’t be trusted!”

Here’s the deal: if you know someone in your life can’t be trusted, note the exception. And leave it at that.

The fact is that, despite what you see in media outlets, most people generally try to do the right thing, and if they’re doing the wrong thing, they’re probably misguided.

Sincerely believe in people, and most likely, they’ll wow you.

My post “We don’t care” was quite negative.

It is an unfortunate truth that as we get older it is easy to become embittered for a variety of reasons.

Human beings are capable of terrible things. They can be selfish. They lie. They harm others without caring about their action’s impact.

However, I wanted to take a moment this Christmas Eve to remind you of all the good in the world and the power of optimism.

Optimism is the sole source of change. A cynic never moves. They sit on their discontents, wallowing in their settled observations on the state of existence. These are the Scrooges of the world.

The optimist sees a better future, and they know and trust their power. They seek goodness and in so doing find happiness.

And others want it. They gravitate toward it.

Indeed, they crave it – consciously or unconsciously.

We all want a happy ending. We all want happiness. The Disney experience. We all want what the optimist has.

This is the reason why self-help is such a thriving industry.

A great book on the power of positivity and how to begin to apply it is Napolean Hill’s Success through a Positive Mental Attitude.

Yes, it is hard. As you can see from my post, I am working on this too.

But I am reminded this Christmas Eve that those we want to be around are those who practice this. Those are the doers. Those are the changers. Those are the leaders. Those are the role models. Those are the helpers.

Remember this quote from Margaret Mead:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Those people change the world because they have faith – and faith is optimism despite observation. Cultivate it. Cultivate faith, hope, and love – and seek your vision of a better tomorrow and get to work.

I leave you with this, a story from Dale Carnegie’s fantastic book How to Win Friends and Influence People:

The Value of a Smile at Christmas:

It costs nothing, but creates much.

It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give.

It happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.

None are so rich they can get along without it, and none are so poor but are richer for its benefits.

It creates happiness in the home, fosters goodwill in a business, and is the countersign of friends.

It is rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and Nature’s best antidote for trouble.

Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is no earthly good to anybody till it is given away.

And if in the last-minute rush of Christmas buying some of our salespeople should be too tired to give you a smile, may we ask you to leave one of yours?

For nobody needs a smile so much as those who have none left to give!