Thursday, 10 May 2007

How to Treat People

I recently finished reading the book "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie. It was probably the best book I have ever read. The book I bought is in the latest printed cover. (I will try to post the picture of the book cover soon) . In my opinion, if everyone read this book and learn how to apply this, this world will become a much better place to live. Note that I am saying 'learn' only. I do not even considering everyone to master the skills described in the book. But if everyone can at least attempt the skills, it will make a lot of differences.

After reading the book, I have made a lot of observations on people. It amazes me how many people do not understand the gist on how to treat people correctly. Not saying enough thank you, not appreciate people's efforts, constantly complaining about every single litte things, always think of oneself first , always blame others first for any problems, etc. Not only not-so-educated people make these mistakes, but even those in senior management or those who have lived a large part of their life.

One of the worst case I encountered is a person who had recently made a big mistake in his life. The first thing he did was to cover his ass, i.e. plan everything to prevent people from knowing his mistake, make earnest plea for people to understand his "plight" and make sure he, of all people in the world, are least affected by this mistake he had personally made. I really wondered how this kind of selfish people can exist in this world, what's more with being quite on top of the career ladder.

Martin Luther King Quotes"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
And, "The world is not fair, and often fools, cowards, liars and the selfish hide in high places" by Bryant H. McGill.
One can really truly see a person based on how he makes decision when his own comfort or success is at stake.

Most importantly, during and after reading this book, I also constantly review myself and my action. I found I am guilty of a lot of mistakes. But I have vowed to improve myself immensely. I do feel like I am starting on a life-changing journey of improving myself on how to treat people as well as try to influence and improve those around me.
I guessed all of us made mistakes in life. It is not good for anyone to harbor contempt to the person who made mistakes. Maybe what's best is to offer forgiveness. But to rebuild the trust and respect may be harder.

A cute picture illustrating how one can show contempt. Notice the penguin showing contempt is the bigger and uglier penguin while the one being shown contempt is the cuter one. :)

Yeah, everyone may forget on how to act and treat people correctly. One of the story that I remembered most in the book is "Father Forgets". It is a really touching story that reminds us what we usually forget in life.

W. Livingston Larned

Listen, son: I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside.
There are the things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor.
At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, "Goodbye, Daddy!" and I frowned, and said in reply, "Hold your shoulders back!"
Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came up the road I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before your boyfriends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive -- and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, from a father!
Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. "What is it you want?" I snapped.
You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs.
Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding -- this was my reward to you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years.

And there was so much that was good and fine and true in your character. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself over the wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed!

It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: "He is nothing but a boy -- a little boy!"
I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother's arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much.

Photo courtesy of

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