28 July 2010

how to win friends and influence people

Okay, this sounds like the corniest title ever, but I now wish I'd read this book ten years ago (at least!). Not only did I learn a lot, I realized I was doing all of the terrible things the book recommends against. I'm embarrassed to admit I criticize, I argue, I interrupt and I get mad at silly things. In order to rectify this, I've just sent this email to my husband, mom and brother:

Dear family,

After reading How to Win Friends and Influence People, I realize I've been making many of the mistakes the book talks about. I want to be my best self, so I'm going to make a few changes that I think you'll really like. Really, really like. :-) I'm putting this down in writing so you can hold me to it (oh, boy!).

From today on,

1. I will not criticize.
At least, not until I'm perfect. It may take a while, but hey, you never know. :-)
Confucius said, "Do not complain about the snow on your neighbor's roof when your own doorstep is unclean."

2. I will not argue.
Benjamin Franklin said, "If you rankle and argue and contradict, you may achieve a victory sometimes; but it will be an empty victory because you will never get your opponent's good will."

Abraham Lincoln said, "No man who is resolved to make the most of himself can spare time for personal contention. Still less can he afford to take the consequences, including the vitiation [corruption] of his temper and the loss of self-control. Yield larger things to which you show no more than equal rights; and yield lesser ones though clearly your own. Better give your path to a dog than be bitten by him in contesting for the right. Even killing the dog would not cure the bite."

For Mama: (沒有人誰是決心使自己最能騰出時間個人爭。更不能他冒不起的後果,包括vitiation (corruption)他的脾氣和損失的自我控制。產量越做越大,您最多顯示的平等權利;及產量較少雖然清楚自己的。最好給你的路徑是狗比咬了他對參加競爭的權利。即使不打死狗治愈咬.)

3. I will not interrupt.
Dale Carnegie (the author of the book) said, "If you want to know how to make people shun you and laugh at you behind your back and even despise you, here is the recipe: Never listen to anyone for long. Talk incessantly about yourself. If you have an idea while the other person is talking, don't wait for him or her to finish: bust right in and interrupt in the middle of a sentence."

4. I will think before I react.
An article from the Economic Press said, "You can measure the size of a person by what makes him or her angry."


P.S. I also typed up a passage from the book I thought you might appreciate:

How to keep a disagreement from becoming an argument
(article from the Economic Press)

Welcome the disagreement. Remember the slogan, “When two partners always agree, one of them isn’t necessary.” If there is some point you haven’t thought about, be thankful it is brought to your attention. Perhaps this disagreement is your opportunity to be corrected before you make a serious mistake.

Distrust your first instinctive impression. Our first natural reaction in a disagreeable situation is to be defensive. Be careful. Keep calm and watch out for your first reaction. It may be you at your worst, not your best.

Control your temper. Remember, you can measure the size of a person by what makes him or her angry.

Listen first. Give your opponents a chance to talk. Let them finish. Do not resist, defend or debate. This only raises barriers. Try to build bridges of understanding. Don’t build higher barriers of misunderstanding.

Look for areas of agreement. When you have heard your opponents out, dwell first on the points and areas on which you agree.

Be honest. Look for areas where you can admit error and say so. Apologize for your mistakes. It will help disarm your opponents and reduce defensiveness.

Promise to think over your opponents’ ideas and study them carefully. And mean it. Your opponents may be right. It is a lot easier at this stage to agree to think about their points than to move rapidly ahead and find yourself in a position where your opponents can say: “We tried to tell you, but you wouldn’t listen.”

Thank your opponents sincerely for their interest. Anyone who takes the time to disagree with you is interested in the same things you are. Think of them as people who really want to help you, and you may turn your opponents into friends.

Postpone action to give both sides time to think through the problem. Suggest that a new meeting be held later that day or the next day, when all the facts may be brought to bear. In preparation for this meeting, ask yourself some hard questions:

Could my opponents be right? Partly right? Is there truth or merit in their position or argument? Is my reaction one that will relieve the problem, or will it just relieve any frustration? Will my reaction drive my opponents further away or draw them closer to me? Will my reaction elevate the estimation good people have of me? Will I win or lose? What price will I have to pay if I win? If I am quiet about it, will the disagreement blow over? Is this difficult situation an opportunity for me?

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