Archive for September, 2011|Monthly archive page

Part 1: You Have To Read This!

I recently starting re-reading How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie.  You may have already noticed, it is the number one book under Recommended Readings.  There’s a reason for that.  It is single-handedly one of the most powerful books you could read – that is, if you apply the things contained within it.

I decided to start highlighting some of the key excerpts from the chapters.  I haven’t really decided if I will continue to do this for multiple installments.  If I do this is part one, if I don’t, well, go buy the book and read it yourself.

Please enjoy some thoughts about criticism and how you should handle people…

Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself.  Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment.

Do you know someone you would like to change and regulate and improve?  Good!  That is fine.  I am all in favor of it.  But why not begin on yourself?  From a purely selfish standpoint, that is a lot more profitable than trying to improve others – yes, and a lot less dangerous.  “Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbor’s roof,” said Confucius, “when your own doorstep is unclean.”

Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do.  But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.

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.”

Hope this helps you make your day great!

Happy Wednesday!

(Chad)

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Fixing Your Fundamentals

Growth and change, often times, doesn’t feel good.  It hurts.  Nothing fits into place.  All the pieces that make up the puzzle of your life are a jumbled mess.  You struggle to find your way.  But the sooner you get used to this feeling the better because that’s how life works.  When your growing and changing your life has to, in a sense, fall apart, so things can rearrange and fall back together.  And you have to be willing to lose some things so you can make room to gain others.

This happens a lot in our lives.  Most of the time they are small changes and small steps to becoming a better person and improving our lives but every so often there are times when this growth and change is life altering.  Times where it redefines and reshapes who you are and where you’re going in life.

Having experienced what I consider two such life changing times I’ve begun to realize some really important things.  Probably the most significant is that the fundamentals can make or break you.  Just like professional athletes have to master the fundamentals so they have a strong foundation to build higher level skills off of, you too, need to master the fundamentals of life so you can build a solid foundation in order to achieve more or accomplish more.

When I talk about fundamentals I’m talking about low-level basics and about developing consistency in this foundational stuff.  I think the basics all starts with having a great attitude.  Without that I think everything else is a built on a rocky foundation and is doomed to fail eventually.  So get your attitude right before trying to fix anything else in your life.  Other foundational stuff includes eating right.  Drinking enough water.  Getting enough quality sleep.  Exercising, or just being active in general, on a daily basis.  Spending quality time with friends and loved ones.  Being financially organized.  Having quality alone time.  You get the point?  It’s all simple, basic stuff but it’s the stuff we start skimping on as our careers and lives get busier and more demanding.  It’s also why we eventually hit a wall and have to take a vacation or why relationships fall apart or why our health deteriorates – because we’ve stopped doing all the little things right and eventually those little things add up.

I think it’s important to take a step back and reevaluate this stuff every so often.  Ask yourself if what you’re doing still makes sense.  And make sure that your foundation doesn’t have leaks in it.

You may define the fundamentals of your life differently than what I did above but it doesn’t matter.  Whatever your fundamentals are make sure you haven’t lost sight of them.  They are extremely important.  Scratch that, they are beyond important, they are imperative to your long-term happiness and success.

So set aside some time to think about the fundamental pieces of your life.  What are you doing great?  Where are areas for improvement?  Address it sooner than later – in some cases you may not get a second chance.  And if you can consistently do all these little things really well you will be on the right track to setting yourself up for long-term success.

Happy Wednesday!

(Chad)