This is such a simple idea (quote by Dr. Samuel Jackson)
“God himself, does not propose to judge man until the end of his days, Why should you and I?”
It is an old one, and a modern version would read: “God does not propose to judge a person until the end of his or her days, Why should you and I?”.
It has stopped me in my tracks in judging someone’s mistakes. On The Daily Show last night, the guest said (and I paraphrase) that there are more bacteria in one centimeter of one’s colon, than there are people that ever lived on the planet. So where does your ego fit in? We’re so insignificant, that our egos are just like air to fish – inconsequential.
Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is just brilliant (this is where I picked up the quote from). I am glad that it is the one I picked up after an unforced hiatus from reading. My last book was Blue Ocean Strategy, which I couldn’t stop gushing about. Carnegie’s book is usable 70 years after its first edition was published, albeit with a few changes. But this book is brilliantly simple and elegant. I can see where Tim Sanders got his inspiration to write Love is the Killer App and The Likeability Factor.
I was at the car dealership this morning arriving on time for an appointment booked last week. It wasn’t in the system. I kept this quote in mind and got re-booked for next week. But another interesting thing happened. A dealership
manager employee (Bryan) wanted to speak with John (the Service Consultant dealing with me). Bryan was asked to wait until business with me was completed. When I was done, he asked a quick question to John, for which he waited 5-7 minutes! In my usual enthusiasm, I exclaimed that Bryan could have just asked that simple question without having had to wait and thanked him for his patience, at which time his face lit up.
This is a principle that I think is applicable mostly in fully developed nations. In third-world countries like India and China, and from my personal experience in one of them, Carnegie’s ideas may not be absolutely applicable. I think it has to do where one country is on the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The lower you are, the less applicable are Carnegie’s ideas.
Maybe I’m not making out the difference between being nice and Carnegie’s ideas because say if you (following these ideas) get bad service at a service provider and make no bones about it, but I do, then generally speaking, the service provider is more inclined to solve my problem because I am less accommodating than you. Again, maybe the distinction between being nice and being nonjudgmental is missed by me. I’ve had similar experiences in the US as well.
My approach to subordinates has changed as well (and this is true in individualistic cultures like the US, again related to the stage of development). Subordinates in places like Asia will never appreciate it if their bosses followed Carnegie’s ideas. Indeed, they’ll bear puzzled looks if the boss suddenly accepts all their mistakes and only finds good words for them. Bosses will then look weak.
A weak-looking boss, is an ineffective one. The good thing about highly advanced nations is that, well, they’re highly advanced. They’re not in a survival mode and seek self-actualization ventures. This is essentially where Carnegie’s ideas come into play.
I guess the important takeaway is that one must decide the route that he or she wants to follow. I personally would like to combine two goals of mine: I want to make big money. I want to be the nicest guy you know (and ethical). You may have heard of many hard-charging people who make big bucks and yet may not be as nice or ethical. This book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie”, has given me yet another way to find out how I can combine my two goals and be happy. At the end of the day, that is what all of us want, be it in any way, shape or form – happiness.