Carnegie Month: P1C1Pr3 “Arouse in the other person an eager want”

Upon reading this part of the chapter, I thought of FOMO (fear of missing out).  I first heard of it from either This American Life or StartUp.  The StartUp podcast was more memorable: part of persuading a person is instilling in them some FOMO, a terrifying fear that they will miss out on the next big thing.  In Alex’s case with StartUp, a podcast documenting his startup business, Alex learns that a big part of seeking investors is instilling this FOMO.

I think FOMO is to now what “eager want” was to Carnegie’s time.  It is certainly not the only “eager want”, but I think it is probably our most massive “eager want”.  Aziz Ansari talks about it in his routine at Madison Square Garden, talking about how the reason we say “maybe” to invitations is that we are afraid something better will come along.

So, how did I “arouse in the other person an eager want” today?  Well, I don’t think I really did.  I’ll work harder tomorrow.

In the meantime, I’ve been reading this excellent blog article series on Elon Musk.

Carnegie Month: P1C1Pr2 “Give honest and sincere appreciation”

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.

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”