Last Christmas, instead of buying me “stuff”, I asked my parents to send me to a Dale Carnegie in-person training. Dale Carnegie was an American writer and lecturer, who developed now world-famous courses on self-improvement, public speaking and interpersonal skills. His book How to Win Friends & Influence People is a top non-fiction best seller, ranking close to the Bible in number of copies sold since it was published in 1937.
While it makes sense to think his lessons have become outdated in our modern world, its teachings ring as true now as they did in the times of Dale Carnegie. They’re timeless, sure-fire stepping stones to becoming a more efficient leader, a better person. Every successful executive I know either consciously (or, subconsciously) practices the Dale Carnegie method.
I took and graduated from the three-day immersion course this past February. On day one, I had already picked up useful tips to improve my networking skills. For example, my instructor Joe taught me a trick for remembering people’s names (with a memorable name like Margarita and a terrible short-term memory, I used to depend on others to remember mine) and for engaging strangers in meaningful conversation. The remaining two days were no different. I learned how to add energy and clarity to my presentations, how to disagree agreeably, and other seemingly impossible feats I put to the test as soon as I was back to work.
All of my new skills were successful when applied to the “real world”. It was invigorating to watch them in action, especially those that improved my relationships at work. The training seriously changed my life. Unfortunately, in the time since, I have slowly but surely stopped applying the skills that I did not build into habit (i.e., 99% of them). I am determined to get them back and, lucky for me, I have my very own copy of How to Win Friends & Influence People to help.
Each chapter in Dale Carnegie’s book delves into one of his secrets of success. I am going to read one chapter every Monday morning for the next 30 weeks—there are 30 chapters—and actively apply the subject principle throughout the week. I look forward to sharing with you my successes, my failures, and my lessons learned in the process. The goal is to add on a new principle every week until I am actively applying all 30 principles, hopefully engraining them so I habitually use them forever.
Want to join along in my journey? You can pick up your very own copy of How to Win Friends & Influence People here. (Best $7 you’ll ever spend!) I could use a friend to keep me accountable and encourage me along the way. I promise to do the same for you, just leave a comment below or send me a tweet @margaritakwells to let me know you’re in.
Before we kick off Chapter One, “If You Want to Gather Honey, Don’t Kick Over the Beehive”, I would like to thank my mom and dad for introducing me to the world of Dale Carnegie and leave you with the following quote of the day:
“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” —Dale Carnegie
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