I love books! In fact, in my office I have three large bookshelves packed with them! I would have to have more bookshelves if were not for the wonderful invention called a Kindle. I absolutely having multiple books on one device. I can now take multiple books with me without the bulkiness of books. Fantastic!
With all these books at my disposal, I obviously love to read. I have some books that I read once and won’t read again, some books that I read when I a looking at a specific topic, and other books that I want to read again and again because I really want to learn what is inside. The Bible is the one collection of books I read over and over the most. There is so much to glean from it!
I do have one more book that I really enjoy reading. The is entitled How To Win Friends and Influence Others. If you have not read this book, I highly recommend it. The author, Dale Carnegie, goes through various practices that will help you interact with other people.
He will summarize each chapter with a principle and he lists that principle at the end of the chapter. It is my goal to share with you those principles as I read the book this year.
The first principle Dale lists is Don’t criticize, condemn or complain. One of his main illustrations for this principle occurs in the stories he tells about Abraham Lincoln. You see Abraham Lincoln was not always great with people. Listen to a quote from Mr. Carnegie’s book describing Lincoln before he was President, As a young man in the Pigeon Creek Valley of Indiana, he not only criticized but he wrote letters and poems ridiculing people and dropped these letters on the country roads where they were sure to be found. I bet you did not know that!
What caused him to change? Mr. Lincoln insulted the wrong man and was challenged to a duel. And right before he and Mr. Lincoln were ready to fight to the death, their seconds interrupted and stopped the duel. Our sixteenth President, one of the greatest all of time, could have ended his life on a sandbar in the Mississippi over a disagreement. Wow! From that point on, soon to be President Lincoln, never wrote insulting letters.
When it comes to working with people, being critical and complaining constantly will get you no where. These actions will only make the other person defensive which will lead him to retaliate or withdraw. Treating people with respect and kindness (even if she does not deserve it) will get you much further than the alternatives.
And I will close with the words of Mr. Carnegie himself, Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them. Let’s try to figure out why they do what they do. That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance and kindness. “To know all is to forgive all.”
I could not have said it better.