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Influencing Yourself

Many of you will be familiar with Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” but have you ever thought that the most important person to befriend is yourself? Here we highlight a few of Carnegie’s principles in terms of how they might be applied to the person over whom you have the greatest influence – yourself!

Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain. How often are you your own harshest critic? When something goes wrong, how quick are you to begin to condemn yourself for having screwed up? How effective is this criticism or condemnation in convincing you to change your behavior? See the next point for an antidote to this form of self-sabotage.

Give honest and sincere appreciation. This is the flipside of point one. Take the time to give yourself a pat on the back when your plans succeed, when all that effort pays off and you accomplish more than you might have thought possible. Don’t take the good things for granted, savor and appreciate them as they happen and then reflect on them for inspiration when the going gets tough.

If you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically. We all make mistakes, misjudge people or circumstances. When the inevitable happens, explore the messages in the missteps and then remind yourself to let go and move on. Learn from what’s happened and then do your best to let the wrong turn stay exactly where it belongs, in the past, as you’ve absorbed the lessons it had to offer.

Smile. Try it right now even if times are tough. Think of something that brings you joy and makes you laugh. Feels good, doesn’t it? Smiling makes happy times happier and sad times more bearable. A grim face can make for a grim outlook whatever you are facing so the next time you are in the midst of something tough, pause for a moment to smile.

Self-Discovery Tool Number 63

The most important person to influence for the better is you. Build on Carnegie’s ideas and befriend yourself. And although there are many more items on Carnegie’s list worth considering, we will close with a modified version of just one: Become genuinely interested in yourself. You won’t regret deepening this relationship!

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