Friday, 23 May 2014

Influence and friends

Friends and influence. Two things that most people would like to finish their lives saying that they had. As a young teenager, Dale Carnegie had neither. Yet at the end of his life he left a legacy of success that continues to benefit many throughout the world today. He decided that he wasn't content to be shy and socially inept. He learned all that he could about interpersonal relationships, put what he discovered into practice, and taught others some steps that they could take to overcome shyness, build life affirming friendships and work well with others.
As a young teenager myself, I purchased a 1938 edition of Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People" in a second hand shop. I still have it in my bookcase. It's been one of the most significant books that I've read and I still refer to it for basic strategies that help me in my work and social relationships.
Here are a few of Dale's ideas:

Be genuinely interested in others.
Use their name.
Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
Talk in terms of the other person's interests.
Make the person feel important and do it sincerely.
Show respect for the opinions of others.
Try to see things from the other person's point of view.
Be sympathetic.
Call attention to mistakes indirectly.
Ask questions instead of giving orders.
Give praise and honest appreciation.
If you are wrong, admit it. 

There are many more suggestions in the book, which is still in print and I would encourage you to purchase a copy.

To me, the ideas contained in this book are quite in cohesion with Biblical principles. Too often the world we live in gives us the false notion that we should concentrate on ourselves and our own success. The Bible encourages us to be empathic, to consider our neighbour as much as ourselves, to be honest and to consider carefully what we say. The book of Proverbs has many adages regarding personal relationships, whilst James reminds us that the tongue is a powerful instrument for either encouraging or wounding others. The Bible also teaches us to develop an "attitude of gratitude"- to be thankful to God for who He is and for all He has done for us through Jesus Christ.

As Christians, we want to influence the world for Jesus. Maybe some of Dale Carnegie's strategies will assist some to make friends and be that influence in their lives.

"How to Win Friends and Influence People" Dale Carnegie Pocket books, 2010 (paperback) Vermilion 2012 (hardcover) also available CD and download. 

Some of my best friends have fur and four legs- Felix, Astro, Paris and Seb.  

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