Carnegie writes, quoting Charles Schwab, to “be ‘hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.'” Was I hearty and lavish today with my appreciation? Not really. I mostly spent the day alone, until my girlfriend got home from work. I told her how her outfit looked good in the morning and how her body looked good in the evening. I thanked her for small tasks and I thanked her for a gift she gave a while ago. I didn’t interact with anyone else today in person. I did talk with a friend from kindergarten via Facebook, but it was more an exchange of information. Tomorrow I work a dinner shift at Chipotle and I will surely give my honest and sincere appreciation.
I’ve been wondering, who is Dale Carnegie? Well, he was a fellow Missourian, a poor farmboy. He does not seem to be related to the Carnegie steel businessman. He worked his way through college earning a teaching degree, pursued itinerant lecturing, ended up in acting, and then became a motivational speaker.
Carnegie seems like the Tony Robbins of his day. Neither have formal education in the social sciences, but both observe aspects of psychology and sociology deeply. It is easy to dismiss either as salesmen trying to make money off of pseudoscience. But there is a lot to be said for the content and the delivery of their insights. This Reddit comment stuck with me. On the Change My View subreddit, where people try to change the original posters’ minds about something, someone asked “CMV: I think Tony Robbins and all similar acts are total scams.” Someone responded this:
Try to imagine yourself in Tony Robbins’ position.
Suppose you really do have some insights into the human experience. Insights you have gained from living your own life.
Obviously there is no guarantee these insights are applicable to all people – but you share them with a few people, and it seems to resonate. You tell more and more people, and you start to build up a following.
Some people are just coming from such a different place to you that what you are saying is totally meaningless to them. But there are still a group of people with whom your message does resonate, so you keep persisting.
You are critisized for some of your views. You agree that some of your views are not politically correct and might offend some people. So you try and water them down. Try and say what you should say, instead of how you really feel.
Suddenly people start turning off. You don’t seem to be affecting people anymore. You don’t get any more complains, but you also stop getting any compliments. The word is, you have nothing interesting to say.
So, in the end you decide to be true to yourself. You talk about how you really feel about things, and the passion seems to rub off on your audience.
You also learn to stop being hurt when someone critisizes your product. Because, you decide – it is impossible to please everybody.
I am unconcerned with the veracity of all that Tony Robbins, Dale Carnegie, or any self-help artist/businessmen write/speak. I find their insights intriguing and I choose to use them judiciously. These people, like politicians, observe human experience with fascinating perspective, and at least some of it will be useful to me.