We will start our journey with a great book named How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie. The book sold more than 16 million copies; it’s has been recognized as one of the greatest books in teaching the art of dealing with other people. As we promised we will summarize the whole book, so let’s start with chapter one, titled “If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive”.
In 1931 “Two Gun” Crowley one of the most dangerous criminals in the history of New York was captured, he was sentenced to death by electric chair, when he arrived at the death house he said “This is what I get for defending myself ”.
The point behind this story is that Crowley didn’t blame himself for what happened to him instead he blamed others. But Crowley was not the only criminal who point finger to others, Al Capone , Dutch Schultz and more did, they thought of themselves as Public benefactors.
Most of the criminals don’t consider themselves as bad men; Lewis Lawes said, Lewis was a warden of Sing Sing prison, he said that most of criminals think of themselves as good people, and like any other humans they are able to rationalize and explain why they kill, steal… etc
But how can a criminal think of himself as a good fellow??
Well by pointing finger at someone we are putting this person in a defense position and that person will do his best to justify himself and most probably will condemn you in return and this what happened with criminals, the whole world point finger at them and criticize their behavior, so, in return they start defending themselves and condemn others for what happened to them.
If criminals behind prison walls don’t blame themselves for what happened to them, imagine how the people we deal with everyday would think.
Condemn & Criticism is dangerous because it touches the person’s pride and hurt his sense of important; criticism doesn’t do any good to anybody, and the most important fact here to remember is that criticism doesn’t correct the situation it just makes people justify themselves to us and condemn us in return.
Abraham Lincoln is one of the greatest leaders the world has known, and leadership is the art of dealing with people, as a great leader did Lincoln indulge in criticism?
Surprisingly, yes when he was young he used to write poems & letters ridiculing people, and he used to hide his identity by sending anonyms letters.
In 1842 he ridicule a politician named James Shields, but Shields wasn’t like anyone, he was very sensitive. Shields find out that Lincoln is the one who wrote the letter and he challenge him to duel, Lincoln didn’t want to fight but he had to save his face so he accept it. Before the duel started two friends intervened and convinced both Lincoln and Shield to stop it.
What happened with Shield was a great lesson to Lincoln, it taught him the art of dealing with people, after that he never ridicules anybody and almost never criticizes anyone.
When Lincoln’s wife or others where criticizing other people for criticizing Lincoln, he used to say “Don’t criticize them; they are just what we would be under similar circumstances”
Do you know a lot of people who are indulge in criticizing others? Of course you do and you want them to change, but why don’t you take the initiative start with yourself there’s a saying “Don't complain about the snow on your neighbor’s roof, when your own doorstep is unclean”, every time you feel that you want to criticize someone remember that 99.9% of people don’t criticize themselves for nothing, so try to understand the person first instead of pointing figure and let people understand you too, don’t wait till you learn it the hard way like what happened with Lincoln.
Carnegie finish this chapter by these great words “As Dr. Johnson said: God himself sir, does not propose to judge man until the end of his days. Why should you and I?”
Principle 1: Don’t Criticize, condemn or complain