Dale Carnegie liked to quote Publilius Syrus, a Roman poet born a hundred years before Christ, who said: “We are interested in others when they are interested in us.”
To exemplify this principle, in his book, “How to Develop Self Confidence & Influence People by Public Speaking,” he relays the following words of Martin Ginsberg, who had taken Carnegie courses in Long Island, New York:
“It was Thanksgiving Day and I was ten years old. I was in a welfare ward of a city hospital and was scheduled to undergo major orthopedic surgery the next day. I knew that I could only look forward to months of confinement, convalescence, and pain. My father was dead; my mother and I lived alone in a small apartment and we were on welfare. My mother was unable to visit me that day.
“As the day went on, I became overwhelmed with the feeling of loneliness, despair, and fear. I knew my mother was home alone worrying about me, not having anyone to be with, not having anyone to eat with, and not even having enough money to afford a Thanksgiving Day dinner.
“The tears welled up in my eyes, and I stuck my head under the pillow and pulled the covers over it. I cried silently, but oh so bitterly, so much that my body racked with pain.
“A young student nurse heard my sobbing and came over to me. She took the covers off my face and started wiping my tears. She told me how lonely she was, having to work that day and not being able to be with her family. She asked me whether I would have dinner with her. She brought two trays of food: sliced turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and ice cream for dessert. She talked to me and tried to calm my fears. Even though she was scheduled to go off duty at 4:00 P.M., she stayed on her own time until almost 11:00 P.M. She played games with me, talked to me, and stayed with me until I finally fell asleep.
“Many Thanksgivings have come and gone since I was ten, but one never passes without my remembering that particular one and my feelings of frustration, fear, loneliness, and the warmth and tenderness of the stranger who somehow made it all bearable.”
If you want other to like you, if you want to develop real friendships, if you want to help others at the same time as you help yourself, keep this important principle in mind: Become genuinely interested in other people!
For more in-depth information on this important principle check out Dale Carnegie Training of Michigan’s upcoming schedule of Human Relations courses. Here’s an example in action:
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