Winning Friends, Influencing People

How to Win Friends and Influence People

I am often asked what books or people influenced the most in my life.  There are so many books, quotes, poems and stories that have changed my thinking and helped form me to become the person I am now.  There are however only a few books that I return to almost every year when I feel that I need to review the lessons written on those pages.  I just finished re-reading a classic by Dale Carnegie, a book that has been read by countless leaders and influencers over the past eight decades since it’s original publication.  If you are looking for one of the most powerful and useful books ever written, read How to Win Friends and Influence People.  The lesson are timeless and applicable no matter who you are.  It is a textbook on how to communicate with others and influence others to your ways of thinking.  At the end of each chapter is a recap about the lesson of that chapter. I have listed those principles below because I believe they may help others.  For more in depth stories about how these principles have been used throughout history, you will have to read the book in it’s entirety. Enjoy…and take notes.

How to Influence Others

1.Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.

2.Give honest and sincere appreciation.

3.Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Making People Like You

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interest..
  6. Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely.

Win Others to Your Way of Thinking

  1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
  2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say “you’re wrong.”
  3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
  4. Begin in a friendly way.
  5. Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately.
  6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
  7. Let the other person feel the idea is his or hers.
  8. Try to honestly see things from the other person’s perspective.
  9. By sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
  10. Appeal to nobler motives.
  11. Dramatize your ideas.
  12. Throw down a challenge.

Be a Leader: Change people without resentment

  1. Begin with honest praise and appreciation. 
  2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
  5. Let the other person save face.
  6. Praise the slightest improvement and every improvement.
  7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
  8. Use encouragement. Make the faults seem easy to correct.
  9. Make the other person happy about doing what you suggest.
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Where Are You Going?

Know Where You Are Headed

I don’t know if you feel the same, but I’m sick of hearing that “life is a journey” and that “it’s about the journey, not the destination”.  These cliches do very little good for anyone and more that’s likely believing them can actually hold someone back from achievement.  I agree that it is important to be mindful of what you are experiencing in the moment and be grateful for the experiences we have in life, but I would argue that if life is a journey, all journeys should have a destination.  In other words, there should be a direction or a target in which you set out to reach or you will end up aimless and drifting though life.  In my experience, the majority of unhappy people are not unhappy because they failed to reach a goal or hit a target.  They are unhappy because they have no idea what they want, where they are headed and feel like they have no control over what is happening in their life.  In other words, if you don’t set a destination for your journey, life will happen TO YOU, not FOR YOU. 

While hitting targets and reaching goals is important for a sense of fulfillment and importance,  I would suggest the real power lies in setting the goal, not reaching it.  Making a decision about the direction your life is headed in shows yourself and others that you have agency in your own existence.  It’s not possible to always achieve every goal we set due to unforeseen circumstances that are outside our control.  But missing a target is much better for a sense of well being that having to target at all.  Aimlessness is a tragedy that will throw your life off track.  Having a sense of purpose and direction is vital to feeling alive and happy in my opinion. That is why we must be careful about internalizing platitudes that are perpetuated online if they allow us to rationalize away the fact that we have not decided what we want from life.  We have to decide what we ask from life.

I admit that it is difficult to know exactly what we want in life at all times.  This is especially true when we are young.  But having a general sense of what makes us happy and what type of life we would like is important.  If you have no idea what you want from life and your philosophy is that “you are just here to enjoy the ride” or some other similar philosophy, I can guarantee you that at the very least you will continually wonder what your purpose is and you will often be at the mercy of others who have a created a plan for their life.  Of course, plans change and destinations must be adjusted or postponed for external events- that’s just life.  But that doesn’t mean we should give up on setting goals and targets for ourselves.  These are essential for our well being.  If life is a truly a journey, it would do us all well to remember the final destination is death.  It is up to you to decide what destinations you’d like to see along the way before the journey ends.