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How to Enjoy Your Life and Your Job - Dale Carnegie


Most of us spend the greater part of our lives on the job—whatever that job may be. This means that our attitude toward our job can determine whether our days are filled with excitement and the sense of fulfillment that comes from top performance or with frustration, boredom, and fatigue. As the title suggests, Dale Carnegie's book shows how to love our work, thereby making every day more exciting and rewarding. He offers inspirational stories of people who have conquered boredom, frustration, and fatigue, and have gone on to lead successful, fulfilling lives.


Using his rich experience and background, Carnegie outlines proven techniques that one can implement in their day-to-day lives to develop an overall sense of harmony and purpose, and to learn the secrets of top performance.


Part One: Seven Ways to Peace and Happiness


In part one, Carnegie outlines seven ways to achieve peace and happiness. He begins by emphasizing the importance of realizing that all of us are unique and that there is no one else on earth like us. We tend to bring misery on ourselves by trying to fit into patterns to which we do not conform. We are all born unique, and we ought to be glad of it. Carnegie states, “For better or worse, we must all cultivate our own little garden. For better or worse, we must all play our own instruments in the orchestra of life.”


Cultivating Good Working Habits


At the workplace, Carnegie elucidates good working habits that will help prevent fatigue and worry. He stresses the importance of a clear desk. A person with a desk piled high with papers will find their work much easier and more accurate if they clear their desk of all but the immediate problem at hand. This, he calls good housekeeping, and it is the number-one step towards efficiency.


Developing Priceless Abilities


Carnegie underlines two priceless abilities that successful people develop. First, the ability to think, and second, the ability to do things in the order of their importance. When facing a problem, one should solve it then and there if the necessary facts are available to make a decision. Finally, he emphasizes the importance of learning to organize, deputize, and supervise. Many businesspeople drive themselves to premature graves because they have never learned to delegate responsibility to others, insisting on doing everything themselves. The result is that details and confusion overwhelm them. Carnegie states that executives must learn to delegate if they are to avoid worry, tension, and fatigue.


Part Two: Things That Make Us Tired and How to Deal With Them


In part two, Carnegie outlines things that make us tired and steps we can adopt to deal with them. He reveals an astounding and significant scientific fact: as far as the brain is concerned, it can work “as well and as swiftly at the end of eight or even twelve hours of effort as at the beginning; the brain is utterly tireless.” According to psychiatrists, most of our fatigue derives from our mental and emotional attitudes. The greater part of the fatigue we suffer is of mental origin; purely physical exhaustion is rare.


Emotional Factors Causing Fatigue


Boredom, resentment, a feeling of not being appreciated, a feeling of futility, hurry, anxiety, and worry—these are the emotional factors that exhaust the sitting worker, make them susceptible to colds, reduce their output, and send them home with a nervous headache.


The Importance of Relaxation


The answer to nervous fatigue, Carnegie reveals, is relaxation. One must learn to relax while working. Boredom is a primary cause of fatigue, worry, and resentment. Carnegie cites a scientific experiment showing how boredom produces fatigue. A group of students was put through a series of tests in which the scientists knew the students would have little interest. The result? The students felt tired and sleepy, complained of headaches and eyestrain, felt irritable, and in some cases, their stomachs were upset. Metabolism tests showed that the blood pressure and oxygen consumption actually decreased when people were bored, and their whole metabolism picked up immediately as soon as they began to feel interested and derive pleasure from their work.


Finding Interest in Your Job


Carnegie concludes that we rarely get tired when we are doing something interesting and exciting. Scientific studies have shown that boredom is the only real cause of the diminution of work. He suggests that we should learn to work “as if” we are interested in our job. This bit of acting will tend to make our interest real, decrease our fatigue, and reduce our tensions and worries. Since most of us spend half of our waking hours at work, finding happiness in our work is crucial. By getting interested in our jobs, we take our minds off our worries and, in the long run, will probably receive promotions and increased pay. Even if it doesn’t lead to promotions, it will reduce fatigue and help us enjoy our leisure hours.


Counting Blessings


Carnegie suggests that about ninety percent of the things in our lives are right and about ten percent are wrong. To be happy, we should concentrate on the ninety percent that are right and ignore the ten percent that are wrong. Focusing on our blessings rather than our troubles is key to finding happiness.


Dealing with Criticism


Carnegie analyzes situations where we find ourselves the subject of unjust criticism. He makes an interesting observation: “unjust criticism is often a disguised compliment. No one ever kicks a dead dog.” Most of us are morbidly shy and are afraid of what people might say about us. We tend to take criticism far too seriously. Carnegie impresses upon us to ignore unjust criticism. We should do what we feel is right since we will be criticized anyway. He quotes Abraham Lincoln: “If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how—the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, then what is said against me won’t matter. If the end brings me out wrong, then ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”


Techniques for Dealing with People


One of Carnegie’s key teachings is not to indulge in criticism. To be diplomatic and adroit at handling people, we should speak ill of no one and speak all the good we know of everybody. Criticizing, condemning, and complaining are easy, but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving. A great person shows their greatness by the way they treat others.


The Desire for Importance


The desire for a feeling of importance is a chief distinguishing difference between mankind and animals. Most leaders and successful people consider their ability to arouse enthusiasm among people as their greatest asset. The way to develop the best in a person is through appreciation and encouragement. We nourish the bodies of our children, friends, and employees, but we often neglect to nourish their self-esteem. Kind words of appreciation can resonate for years like the music of the morning stars.


Seeing Others’ Points of View


Another secret to success in dealing with people lies in the ability to see things from the other person’s point of view. 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 and faces little competition. People who understand the workings of others' minds need never worry about what the future holds.


Arousing an Eager Want


Arousing an eager want in others is not about manipulating them for our benefit. Each party should gain from the negotiation. Carnegie emphasizes that those who can arouse an eager want in others have the world with them, while those who cannot walk a lonely path.


Genuine Interest in Others


A detailed study by the New York Telephone Company found that the most frequently used word in telephone conversations is the personal pronoun “I.” According to Carnegie, merely trying to impress people will not win true, sincere friends. It is the individual who shows genuine interest in others who wins friends and loyalty.


Making Others Feel Important


There is an all-important law of human conduct that, if obeyed, will bring countless friends and constant happiness: “Always make the other person feel important—and do it sincerely.” The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated. Carl Rogers, an eminent psychologist, wrote in his book “On Becoming a Person” about the enormous value of permitting oneself to understand another person.


Avoiding Arguments


A sure way to avoid making enemies is not to argue with others. Show respect for their opinions and never say, “You are wrong.” Woodrow Wilson once stated, “If you come to me with your fists doubled, I think I can promise you that mine will double as fast as yours. But if you come to me and say, ‘Let us sit down and take counsel together, and, if we differ, understand why we differ,’ we will find that we are not so far apart after all.”


Using Diplomacy


Kindness and a friendly approach can make people change their minds more readily than bluster and storming. A drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.


The Secret of Negotiation


In negotiations, Carnegie advises starting by discussing points of agreement rather than differences. Emphasizing common goals and keeping the conversation affirmative can prevent opposition and encourage cooperation. He cites Socrates, who used a technique of asking questions that led his opponents to agree with him, thus making them more receptive to his conclusions.


Criticizing Without Offense


Carnegie emphasizes the importance of criticizing without causing resentment. Calling attention indirectly to someone’s mistakes works wonders with sensitive people. Letting the other person save face is crucial. Even if we are right and the other person is wrong, destroying their ego by causing them to lose face is a grave error. A real leader always lets the other person save face.




Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Enjoy Your Life and Your Job” is filled with proven techniques to develop a sense of harmony and purpose, and to learn the secrets of top performance. It contains inspirational stories of people who have conquered boredom, frustration, and fatigue, and have gone on to lead successful, fulfilling lives. The book's practical teachings are fundamentally sound, helping readers create a new approach to life and people, and discover talents they never knew they had. Carnegie helps readers get the most out of themselves all the time by developing their innate strengths and abilities, thus enriching their lives.


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