Dale Carnegie always adhered to one all-important law of human conduct. And if we obey that law, we’ll almost never get into trouble, and attract countless friends and constant happiness. The law is this:
Always make the other person feel important.
Sounds simple, right? Well, it is…and it’s easy to do. Dale recalled a story about a time he turned a surly postal worker’s frown into a beaming smile by commenting on how he wished he had the worker’s head of hair. When he told the story to another man, the man asked him, “What did you want to get out of him?”
Dale was incredulous. The only thing he wanted—and got—was the satisfaction that he had done something for that postal worker without the worker being able to do anything in return for him. Dale said, “If we are so contemptibly selfish that we can’t radiate a little happiness and pass on a bit of honest appreciation without trying to screw something out of the other person in return—if our souls are no bigger than sour crab apples, we shall meet with the failure we so richly deserve.”
Dale Carnegie quotes Professor William James as saying: “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” It is the urge that differentiates us from the animals. It is the urge that has been responsible for civilization itself.
Philosophers throughout history have taught the rule of human relationships. From Zoroaster teaching it to his fire-worshippers in Persia three thousand years ago, to Confucius teaching it in China 24 centuries ago. From Buddha preaching it on the banks of the Holy Ganges five hundred years before Christ, to Jesus, Himself, teaching it among the stony hills of Judea nineteen centuries ago. The rule, which ties in eloquently with Dale Carnegie’s postal worker story, is simply: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Dale suggests starting by injecting little phrases into your everyday speech such as, “I’m sorry to trouble you…”, “Won’t you please…”, “Would you mind…”, and, of course, “Thank you.” In the words of Dale Carnegie, “Little courtesies like that oil the cogs of the monotonous grind of everyday life—and, incidentally, they are the hall mark of good breeding.”
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