November 25, 2008
Have you heard of the book "How to win friends and influence people" by Dale Carnegie? Of course it is one of the big classics and a huge bestseller since its publication in 1936. This is one of the books that in spite of having a title that sounds like manipulation and another set of business tricks, has had a profound impact on me. It basically is a simple guide on how to treat people in everyday life, be it professional or personal and I found a lot of the advice really helpful and universally applicable. It has nothing to do with unproper behaviour, although manipulation probably comes in at some point, though not in the way one would think.
Among ideas like "Remember people's names (because for everyone their own name is the most important word in the world)" and such memorable quotes as "Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain - and most fools do", there is one piece of advice that has been the most important for me:
It is the number one thing you can change in yourself that makes your life better by the minute. Smile when you buy a train ticket, smile when you get stopped by the police, smile when you thank someone for helping you out, smile when you get criticized, smile when no one understands you, at least they can like you then :) Smile on the phone, too! We can hear when someone is smiling!
Today smiling is easy for me, but I have had days when it was really hard. For those days there is a special trick: Stand in front of a mirror and try to smile. If it does not work at once, take your hands and help your mouth. If that does not help just laugh about how unwilling you obviously are to feel better ;)
Take care, and have a wonderful day!