Carnegie Month: P1C1Pr1 “Don’t criticize, condemn or complain”

I’ve been sporadically listening to How to Win Friends and Influence People for a couple months.  I listen to it whenever I drive and am not listening to the radio.  The thing is, though, is that I walk to work, walk to get groceries, and I live with my girlfriend.  So I don’t do a lot of driving.

But, I really like what I’ve heard so far from this book.  So this month I’m going to do a principle each day.

P1C1Pr1 means Part 1, Chapter 1, Principle 1.  I don’t know if that is useful information or not yet, but we’ll see.  The important part is that I just remember the principles and apply them daily and ideally consecutively.  For this project, though, I think I should go for one principle per day and just focus on that principle.


Today I should have neither criticized, condemned, nor complained.  I’m solid on not complaining.  If I say something, I know that in my head it makes it more real.  So if I don’t complain, then whatever I would be complaining about is not as bad.  An example is work being super busy.  If I get home to my girlfriend and say “Work sucked, we were sooooo busy” then it hurts me that much more by reliving it via complaining about it.  So I tend to not complain.

Condemning is a different story.  Apparently the difference in condemning and criticizing is that condemning is publicly or behind-their-back, whereas criticizing is to their face.  I tend to condemn rarely, and usually heavily dosed with “This person is awesome, but they just need to work on this one specific thing…”  Today I did precisely that.  More on that later.

I try to rarely criticize.  Chipotle, where I work, uses the term “elevation”, meaning helping a person do something the by-the-Chipotle-book way.  Is it criticism?  What is the border of criticizing and teaching?  Carnegie writes about positive reinforcement being the way to go.  I try to do that as much as possible, but if someone is just off the mark, what do you do?  Is it different if a person asks for help?

My favorite quote from this principle was: “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be under-standing and forgiving.”  I definitely understand this.  It’s my immediate reaction to correct somebody when they don’t ask to be corrected, when the utility of them being right is not relevant to the task/conversation at hand.  I need to work on that.

I definitely need to work more on all this at Chipotle.  I need to find out how to teach without criticizing and condemning.

At home, I should never criticize, complain, or condemn.  I don’t think I did tonight.  But I’ll keep an eye out next time.  I’ll also just do better tomorrow at focusing on the next principle.  And that principle will be:

“Give honest and sincere appreciation”