Sigmund Freud said that everything you and I do springs from two motives: the sex urge and the desire to be great.
John Dewey, one of America’s most profound philosophers, phrased it a bit differently. Dr. Dewey said that the deepest urge in human nature is “the desire to be important.”
What do you need out of life? Dale Carnegie said that most people don’t need much, but what they do need they crave with an insistence that will not be denied. He said some of the things most people want include:
1) Health and the preservation of life
4) Money and the things money will buy
5) Life in the hereafter
6) Sexual gratification
7) The well being of our children
8) A feeling of importance
There is another longing—almost as deep and imperious as the desire for food or sleep—that is seldom gratified. It is what Freud called “the desire to be great.” It is what Dewey called “the desire to be important.”
Therefore, when dealing with people, play up to this desire. Try to figure out the other person’s good points. Then forget flattery. Give honest, sincere appreciation. As Dale Carnegie said, be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise,” and people will cherish your words and treasure them and repeat them over a lifetime.
Here’s an example of this important principle in action from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of Michigan:
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