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On The Bricks Archives


June 19, 2017

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.

June 15, 2017

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!

June 13, 2017

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!!!

June 9, 2017

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!

June 6, 2017

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.

June 5, 2017

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!

May 29, 2017

“You do this and you’ll be welcome anywhere,” says Dale Carnegie in his book How to Win Friends and Influence People. “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

So true.

He shares words from famous Viennese psychologist Alfred Adler, “It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.”
Carnegie tells many stories to reiterate this thought.

“C.M. Knaphle of Philadelphia had tried for years to sell fuel to a large chain store organization. But the chain store company continued to purchase its fuel from an out – of – town dealer and hail it right past the door of Knaphle’s office. Knaphle made a speech one night (in a class), pouring out his hot wrath upon chain stores, branding them as a curse to the nation.

“And still he wondered why he couldn’t sell them.

“I suggested that he try different tactics. To put it briefly, this is what happened. We staged a debate between members of the course on whether the spread of the chain store is doing the country more harm than good.

“Knaphle, at my suggestion, took the negative side; he agreed to defend the chain stores, and then went straight to an executive of the chain store organization that he despised and said, ‘I am not here to try to sell fuel. I have come to ask you to do me a favor.’ He then told about his debate and said, ‘I have come to you for help because I can’t think of anyone else who would be more capable of giving me the fact I want. I’m anxious to win this debate, and I’ll deeply appreciate whatever help you can give me.’

“Here is the rest of the store in Knaphle’s own words: ‘I had asked this man for precisely one minute of his time. It was with that understanding that he consented to see me. After I had stated my case, he motioned me to a chair and talked to me for exactly one hour and 47 minutes. He called in another executive who had written a book on chain stores. He wrote to the National Chain Store Association and secured for me a copy of a debate on the subject.

“’He feels that the chain store is rendering a real service to humanity. He is proud of what he is doing for hundreds of communities. His eyes fairly glowed as he talked, and I must confess that he opened my eyes to things I had never even dreamed of. He changed my whole mental attitude.

“’As I was leaving, he walked with me to the door, put his arm around my shoulder, wished me well in my debate, and asked me to stop in and see him again and let him know how I made out. The last words he said to me were, ‘Please see me again later in the spring. I should like to plan an order with you for fuel.’

“’To me that was almost a miracle. Here he was offering to buy fuel without my even suggesting it. I had made more headway in two hours by becoming genuinely interested in him and his problems than I could have made in ten years trying to get him interested in me and my product.’

“A show of interest, as with every other principle of human relations, must be sincere. It must pay off not only for the person showing the interest, but for the person receiving the attention. It is a two – way street. Both parties benefit.”

So, there you go. Quit talking about yourself and your interests and listen to others. Words I really need to heed myself!

May 25, 2017

The next fundamental technique in handling people lesson Dale Carnegie teaches in How to Win Friends and Influence People is that you should arouse in the other person an eager want. As you read this you’ll probably be able to think of a friend or two that do this … and think of Tom Sawyer and the painting of the fence.

“Andrew Carnegie, the poverty – stricken Scotch lad who started to work at two cents an hour and finally gave away $365 million, learned early in life that the only way to influence people is to talk in terms of what the other person wants. He attended school only four years; yet he learned how to handle people.

“To illustrate: His sister – in – law was worried sick over her two boys. They were at Yale, and they were so busy with their own affairs that they neglected to write home and paid no attention whatever to their mother’s frantic letters.” Remember this book was published in the 1930s.

“Then Carnegie offered to wager a hundred dollars that he could get an answer by return mail, without even asking for it. Someone called his bet; so he wrote his nephews a chatty letter, mentioning casually in a postscript that he was sending each one a five – dollar bill.

“He neglected, however, to enclose the money.

“Back came replies by return mail thanking ‘Dear Uncle Andrew’ for his kind note and – you can finish the sentence yourself.

“Another example of persuading comes from Stan Novak …. Stan came home from work one evening to find his youngest son, Tim, kicking and screaming on the living room floor. He was to start kindergarten the next day and was protesting that he would not go. Stan sat down and thought, ‘If I were Tim, why would I be excited about going to kindergarten?’ He and his wife made a list of all the fun things Tim would do such as finger painting, singing songs, making new friends. Then they put them into action.

“’We all started finger painting on the kitchen table – my wife, my other son, and myself, all having fun. Soon Tim was peeping around the corner. Next, he was begging to participate.

“’Oh, no! You have to go to kindergarten first to learn how to finger – paint.’ With all the enthusiasm I could muster I went through the list talking in terms he could understand – telling him all the fun he would have in kindergarten.

“’The next morning, I thought I was the first one up. I went downstairs and found Tim sitting sound asleep in the living room chair. ‘What are you doing here?’ I asked. ‘I’m waiting to go to kindergarten. I don’t want to be late.’ The enthusiasm of our entire family had aroused in Tim an eager want that no amount of discussion or threat could have possibly accomplished.’

“If salespeople can show us how their services or merchandise will help us solve our problems, they won’t need to sell us. We’ll buy. And customers like to feel that they are buying – not being sold.

“The world is full of people who are grabbing and self – seeking. So, the rare individual who unselfishly tries to serve others has an enormous advantage. He has little competition.”

There is a Main Street Lunch and Learn on May 31 at the Guymon Fire Department classroom. Brayden Lehew is going to teach everyone how to do a CAHOOTS quiz, which can be a great help in livening up a small audience and getting them to pay attention to your presentations. It will take place from noon to 1 pm and if you want lunch, bring a brown bag! For more information, call Melyn Johnson at 338-6246 or email See you there!

How was that for enthusiasm?

Catch you on the bricks.

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