There are so many jokes about marriage. Most do not speak of the wedded state as being bliss. But they make me laugh.
“There is one thing I would break up over, and that is if she caught me with another woman,” said comedian Steve Martin. “I won’t stand for that.” So noble.
“Instead of getting married again,” wrote humor columnist Lewis Grizzard, “I’m going to find a woman I don’t like and give her a house.” So crass.
Rodney Dangerfield adds, “My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.” So sad.
Those are all comedians getting a laugh. And I do laugh when I read them. But I have a friend of 15 years who recently lost her husband to cancer. What she wrote is so much deeper.
“He was my best friend,” writes Karen. “We were married 52 years and one week. I miss our early morning coffee and talks before we went to work. I miss our evenings in the gazebo in our backyard. I miss our Saturday morning breakfast. I miss sitting next to him in church and listening to him sing. I miss the small everyday things. And at the end I prayed that God would take him home so he would not suffer.” That’s real.
And in that short paragraph she emailed me, I think it holds some of the secrets of having a 52 – year happy marriage. They talk. They sit together. They eat at the table together. They go to church. They enjoyed each other. Karen was so lucky and now she is so sad. Life isn’t easy.
But there are many things to enjoy in life here in Guymon right now, too. Make it a point to do so. Cherish the time we have and the opportunities presented to us.
L&M Arena Play Days are going on. The July evenings are the 5, 12, 19, and 26. Go to the arena, north of town on Highway 64, and watch those kids having a wonderful time on their horses.
Those who enjoy golfing need to consider signing up for the OPSU Belly Open Tournament that takes place July 7 and 8. The evening of the 7th includes a dinner, dancing, social, including a silent auction at the Hitch Arena Building. It begins at 8 pm and music is by 12 Gauge. For more information, contact Coach Russell Gaskamp at 580-651-4480.
Families with children who have special needs are invited to the Oklahoma Family Network discussion at lunchtime on July 7. The talk is about “Effective Communication with Service Providers” and it takes place from noon to 1 pm in the Main Street Guymon office. Call Monica Ronne at 580-651-9700 for more information.
Calling all crocheters to come together on July 11, 13, 18, 20, 25, and 27 in the Main Street Guymon office from 5 to 6 pm. Come if you want to learn to crochet. Come if you want to crochet around the table with others wielding their needle. Those who are learning or don’t have a project, we have yarn and a needle for you and you can take part in Emily’s Crochet for Charity. First, we will be crocheting lap robes for elders in the nursing home. It’s free and it’s fun. Call Melyn Johnson at 338-6246 for more information.
And don’t miss the fresh garden veggies and herbs on Saturday at the Farmers Market. It starts at 8 am in front of the Texas County Courthouse at 4th and Main. It’s free to be a vendor. Call 338-6246 for more info.
See you on the bricks while I’m picking up some fresh garden squash!
This is the last column filled with the ideas of Dale Carnegie. The last chapters of the book were good, but not filled with as much inspiration as the first chapters. So, I’ve highlighted some bits and pieces to share here. Hope you enjoy them. Remember Carnegie is giving us advice on how to win friends and influence people. He’s telling us how to be socially adept. How to get people to work with us. It’s good things to know, no matter what you are doing in life.
“Cooperativeness in conversation is achieved when you show that you consider the other person’s ideas and feelings as important as your own,” wrote Carnegie.
He also tells, “Experience has taught me that when no information can be secured about the customer, the only sound basis on which to proceed is to assume that he or she is sincere, honest, truthful, and willing and anxious to pay the charges, once convinced they are correct. To put it differently and perhaps more clearly, people are honest and want to discharge their obligations. The exceptions to that rule are comparatively few, and I am convinced that the individuals who are inclined to chisel will, in most cases, react favorably if you make them feel that you consider them honest, upright, and fair.
“Let Charles Schwab say it in his own words, ‘The way to get things done,’ says Schwab, ‘is to stimulate competition. I do not mean in a sordid, money – getting way, but in the desire to excel.’
“The desire to excel! The challenge! Throwing down the gauntlet! An infallible way of appealing to people of spirit.
“’I have never found,’ said Harvey S. Firestone, founder of the great Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, ‘that pay and pay alone would either bring together or hold good people. I think it was the game itself.’
“If the work was exciting and interesting, the worker looked forward to doing it and was motivated to do a good job.
“That is what every successful person loves: the game. The chance for self – expression. The chance to prove his or her worth, to excel, to win. That is what makes footraces and hog – calling and pie – eating contests. The desire to excel. The desire for a feeling of importance.”
And when you are in the position of leadership, there are some simple rules to follow to keep people from being offended and to get the most from your workers. Always begin with praise and appreciation. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person. Ask questions instead of giving orders. Let the other person save face. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to. Use encouragement and make the fault seem easy to correct. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.
And remember, it is always good to improve your skills and become a better person.
See you on the bricks – excelling and competing and praising.
Reality can sure bite. And I am not the only one who thinks that is the case.
“Few people are logical” wrote Dale Carnegie. “Most of us are prejudiced and biased. Most of us are blighted with preconceived notions, with jealousy, suspicion, fear, envy, and pride. And most citizens don’t want to change their minds about their religion or their haircut or communism or their favorite movie star. So, if you are inclined to tell people they are wrong, please read the following paragraph every morning before breakfast. It is from James Harvey Robinson’s enlightening book The Mind in the Making.
“’We sometimes find ourselves changing our minds without any resistance or heavy emotion, but if we are told we are wrong, we resent the imputation and harden our hearts. We are incredibly heedless in the formation of our beliefs, but find ourselves filled with an illicit passion for them when anyone proposes to rob us of their companionship. It is obviously not the ideas themselves that are dear to us, but our self – esteem which is threatened.’
“When we are wrong, we may admit it to ourselves. And if we are handled gently and tactfully, we may admit it to others and even take pride in our frankness and broad – mindedness. But not if someone else is trying to ram the unpalatable fact down our esophagus.
“Ben Franklin tells how he conquered the iniquitous habit of argument and transformed himself into one of the most able, suave, and diplomatic men in American history. One day, when Ben Franklin was a blundering youth, an old Quaker friend took him aside and lashed him with a few stinging truths, something like this, ‘Ben, you are impossible. Your opinions have a slap in them for everyone who differs with you. They have become so offensive that nobody cares for them. Your friends find they enjoy themselves better when you are not around. You know so much that no man can tell you anything. Indeed, no man is going to try, for the effort would lead only to discomfort and hard work. So you are not likely ever to know any more than you do now, which is very little.’
“He (Franklin) was big enough and wise enough to realize that it was true, to sense that he was headed for failure and social disaster. So, he made a right – about – face. He began immediately to change his insolent, opinionated ways.”
Carnegie says you need to show respect for other’s people’s opinions and not say “You’re wrong” if you wish to make friends and influence people.
The other side to that coin is to admit you’re wrong when you are.
“When we are right,” writes Carnegie, “let’s try to win people gently and tactfully to our way of thinking, and when we are wrong – and that will be surprisingly often, if we are honest with ourselves – let’s admit our mistakes quickly and with enthusiasm. Not only will that technique produce astonishing results, but, believe it or not, it is a lot more fun, under the circumstances, than trying to defend oneself.
“Remember the old proverb, ‘By fighting you never get enough, but by yielding you get more than you expected.’”
This is our charge … to not be argumentative.
In fact, this can be tested by attending the Oklahoma Health Care Authority Forum on June 21 from noon to 1 at the Methodist Enrichment Center, 6th and Quinn. This is the time for you to voice your concerns about all health care issues. Nicely. Without argument, right?
And if you just want a fun evening, go out to L&M Arena, north of Guymon a little ways, and watch kids on their horses competing in the L&M Play Days. The upcoming ones are June 21 and 28 starting at 6:30 pm. It’s free and it’s fun to watch.
There’s a couple people that I really need to give a SHOUT OUT to … Roger and Julie from Long and McKinnon, my neighbors here at Main Street Guymon. They saw I wasn’t getting my plants put in the planters out front and they did it! Roger even waters them when I’m being the bad plant lady or gone. Good neighbors are so awesome.
And I’ll see you on the bricks!
You can’t really win an argument.
“I was attending a banquet one night,” says Dale Carnegie, author of How to Make Friends and Influence People, “… and during the dinner, the man sitting next to me told a humorous story which hinged on the quotation, ‘There’s a divinity that shapes our ends, rough – hew them how we will.’
“The raconteur mentioned that the quotation was from the Bible. He was wrong. I knew that. I knew it positively. There couldn’t be the slightest doubt about it. And so, to get a feeling of importance and display my superiority, I appointed myself as an unsolicited and unwelcome committee of one to correct him. He stuck to his guns. What? From Shakespeare? Impossible! Absurd! That quotation was from the Bible. And he knew it.
“The storyteller was sitting on my right; and Frank, an old friend of mine, was seated on my left. Frank had devoted years to the study of Shakespeare. So, the storyteller and I agreed to submit the question to Frank. Frank listened, kicked me under the table, and then said, ‘Dale, you are wrong. The gentleman is right. It is from the Bible.’
“On our way home that night, I said, ‘Frank, you knew that quotation was from Shakespeare.’
“’Yes, of course,’ he replied. ‘Hamlet, Act Five, Scene Two. But we were guests at a festive occasion, my dear Dale. Why prove to a man he is wrong? Is that going to make him like you? Why not let him save his face? He didn’t ask for your opinion. He didn’t want it. Why argue with him? Always avoid the acute angle.’ The man who said that taught me a lesson I’ll never forget. I not only had made the storyteller uncomfortable, but had put my friend in an embarrassing situation. How much better it would have been had I not become argumentative.
“I have come to the conclusion that there is only one way under high heaven to get the best of an argument – and that is to avoid it. Avoid it as you would avoid rattlesnakes and earthquakes.
“Nine times out of ten, an argument ends with each of the contestants more firmly convinced than ever that he is absolutely right.
“You can’t win an argument. You can’t because if you lose it, you lose it; and if you win it, you lose it. Why? Well, suppose you triumph over the other man and shoot his argument full of holes and prove that his is non compos mentis. Then what? You will feel fine. But what about him? You have made him feel inferior. You have hurt his pride. He will resent your triumph. And –
“’ A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.’
“A wise old Ben Franklin used to say, ‘If you argue and rankle and contradict, you may achieve a victory sometimes; but it will be an empty victory because you will never get your opponent’s good will.’
“Buddha said, ‘Hatred is never ended by hatred but by love,’ and a misunderstanding is never ended by an argument but by tact, diplomacy, conciliation, and a sympathetic desire to see the other person’s viewpoint.”
You can keep a disagreement from becoming an argument. Here are some suggestions towards that end.
“Welcome the disagreement. Remember the slogan, ‘When two partners always agree, one of them is not necessary.’ If there is some point you haven’t thought about, be thankful it is brought to your attention. Perhaps this disagreement is your opportunity to be corrected before you make a serious mistake.
“Distrust your first instinctive impression. Our first natural reaction in a disagreeable situation is to be defensive. Be careful. Keep calm and watch out for your first reaction. It may be you at your worst.
“Control your temper. Remember, you can measure the size of a person by what makes him or her angry.
“Listen first. Give your opponent’s chance to talk. Let them finish. Do not resist, defend, or debate. This only raises barriers. Try to build bridges of understanding. Don’t build higher barriers of misunderstanding.
“Look for areas of agreement. When you have heard your opponents out, dwell first on the points and areas on which you agree.
“Be honest. Look for areas where you can admit error and say so. Apologize for your mistakes. It will help disarm your opponents and reduce defensiveness.
“Promise to think over your opponents’ ideas and study them carefully. And mean it. Your opponents may be right.
“Thank your opponent’s sincerely for their interest. Anyone who takes the time to disagree with you is interested in the same things you are. Think of them as people who really want to help you, and you may turn your opponents into friends.
“Postpone action to give both sides time to think through the problem. Suggest that a new meeting be held later that day or the next day, when all the facts may be brought to bear. In preparation for this meeting, as yourself some hard questions; Could my opponents be right? Partly right? Is there truth or merit in their position or argument? Is my reaction one that will relieve the problem or will it just relieve any frustration? Will my reaction drive my opponents further away or draw them closer to me? Will my reaction elevate the estimation good people have of me? Will I win or lose? What price will I have to pay if I win? If I am quiet about it, will the disagreement blow over? Is this difficult situation an opportunity for me?”
Sigh. And I do love to debate. But I need to watch myself, based on this information.
One thing not to argue about is that there are some great things happening this month in Guymon. L&M Arena is holding their Play Days on the 21 and 28 of June; there is a Senior Citizen Dance on June 17; there’s a Community Health Forum on June 21; a Medicare Seminar on June 22; a PTCI Gig Party on June 23; and the Chamber has their golf tournament on the 24th. And there’s still more that we’ll list later!
See you on the bricks!!!
Ever notice how there are some people that have lots of friends and some seem to have very few? Ever seen those people who new acquaintances seem to consider new best friends at the first meeting? What makes this happen?
Several things can bring people and friendships together quickly, but there is almost always a mutual respect at the beginning. The best way to make a friend is to make the other person feel important. And it is impossible to make someone feel important if you think you’re the most important person in the room.
“Remember what Emerson said,” says Carnegie. “Every man I meet is my superior in some way. In that, I learn of him.
“If we are so contemptibly selfish that we can’t radiate a little happiness and pass on a bit of honest appreciation without trying to get something out of the other person in return – if our souls are no bigger than sour crab apples, we shall meet with the failure we so richly deserve,” says Dale Carnegie.
After telling a story about complimenting a post office clerk that he didn’t know, Carnegie was asked, “What did you want to get out of him?”
“Oh, yes,” he answered, “I did want something out of that chap. I wanted something priceless. And I got it. I got the feeling that I had done something for him without his being able to do anything whatever in return for me. That is a feeling that flows and sings in your memory long after the incident is past.”
All people want the approval of those with whom they come in contact. They want recognition for their true worth. We all want a feeling that we are important in our little world. You don’t want to listen to cheap, insincere flattery, but you do crave sincere appreciation. You want your friends and associates to be, as Charles Schwab put it, “hearty in their approbation and lavish in their praise.” All of us want that.
So, let’s obey the Golden Rule and give unto others what we would have others give unto us.
Carnegie says, “If, for example, the waitress brings us mashed potatoes when we have ordered French fried, let’s say: ‘I’m sorry to trouble you, but I prefer French fried.’ She’ll probably reply, ‘No trouble at all’ and will be glad to change the potatoes, because we have shown respect for her.
“Little phrases such as ‘I’m sorry to trouble you,’ ‘Would you be so kind as to ….?’, ‘Won’t you please …’, ‘Would you mind … ‘, and ‘Thank you’ are little courtesies that oil the cogs of the monotonous grind of everyday life – and, incidentally, they are the hallmark of good breeding.”
We can all improve on being more polite and respectful.
See you on the bricks!
There are six important principles, according to Dale Carnegie, to get people to like you. The first is to be genuinely interested in other people. That means finding out something about them rather than wanting to tell them all about yourself.
The second principle is to smile. So simple. So encouraging.
The third principle is to remember a person’s name. This one is one that I am bad at and need to improve.
The fourth principle is to be a good listener and encourage others to talk about themselves.
Concerning this one on listening, Carnegie has several interesting comments.
“I know and you know department store owners who will rent expensive space, buy their goods economically, dress their windows appealingly, spend thousands of dollars in advertising and then hire clerks who haven’t the sense to be good listeners – clerks who interrupt customers, contradict them, irritate them, and all but drive them from the store.
“A department store in Chicago almost lost a regular customer who spent several thousand dollars each year in that store because a store clerk wouldn’t listen. …. Had purchased a coat at a special sale. After she had brought it home she noticed that there was a tear in the lining. She came back the next day and asked the sales clerk to exchange it. The clerk refused even to listen to her complaint. ‘You bought this at a special sale,’ she said. She pointed to a sign on the wall. ‘Read that,’ she exclaimed. ‘All sales are final. Once you bought it, you have to keep it. Sew up the lining yourself.’
“The customer was about to walk out indignantly, swearing never to return to that store ever, when she was greeted by the department manager, who knew her from her many years of patronage. She told what had happened.
“The manager listened attentively to the whole story, examined the coat, and then said, ‘Special sales are final so we can dispose of merchandise at the end of the season. But this no return policy does not apply to damaged goods. We will certainly repair or replace the lining, or if you prefer, give you your money back.’
“What a difference in treatment! If that manager had not come along and listened to the customer, a long – term patron of that store could have been lost forever.
Abraham Lincoln, during the darkest hours of the Civil War, once wrote to an old friend in Springfield, Ill., asking him to come to Washington DC. When the friend arrived, Lincoln talked to him for hours. He then said good night and his friend went back to Illinois.
“Lincoln hadn’t wanted advice. He had wanted a friendly, sympathetic listener to whom he could unburden himself. That’s what we all want when we are in trouble. That is frequently all the irritated customer wants, and the dissatisfied employee, or the hurt friend.
“So, if you aspire to be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener. To be interesting, be interested. Ask questions that other persons will enjoy answering. Encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments.”
The fifth principle follows closely. It is to talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
The sixth principle is to make others feel important.
Lots to focus on here. I am going to work on my listening skills. Lord knows, I need to!
Catch you on the bricks.
There is a very easy way to make a rousing first impression. Smile. Make people feel like you’re glad to see them.
Dale Carnegie says in How to Win Friends and Influence People, “You must have a good time meeting people if you expect them to have a good time meeting you.”
To smile sincerely, you need to be happy.
“The voluntary path to cheerfulness,” says Carnegie, “… is to sit up cheerfully and to act and speak as if cheerfulness were already there.
“Everybody is seeking happiness – and there is one sure way to find it. That is by controlling your thoughts. Happiness doesn’t depend on outward conditions. It depends on inner conditions. It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.
“Whenever you go outside, draw in your chin, carry the crown of your head high, and fill your lungs; drink in the sunshine; greet your friends with a smile, and put soul into every handclasp. Do not fear being misunderstood and do not waste a minute thinking about your enemies. Try to fix firmly in your mind what you would like to do; and then, without veering off direction, you will move straight to the goal. Keep your mind on the great and splendid things you would like to do, and then, as the days go gliding away, you will find yourself unconsciously seizing upon the opportunities that are required for the fulfillment of your desire, just as the coral insect takes from the running tide the element it needs.
“Picture in your mind the able, earnest, useful person you desire to be, and the thought you hold is hourly transforming you into that particular individual … Thought is supreme. Preserve a right mental attitude – the attitude of courage, frankness, and good cheer. To think rightly is to create. All things come through desire and every sincere prayer is answered. We become like that on which our hearts are fixed.
“Your smile is a messenger of your good will. Your smile brightens the lives of all who see it. To someone who has seen a dozen people frown, scowl or turn their faces away, your smile is like the sun breaking through the clouds. Especially when that someone is under pressure from his bosses, his customers, his teachers or parents or children, a smile can help him realize that all is not hopeless – that there is joy in the world.”
Let’s all fix our minds on putting more joy into the world.
See you on the bricks!