1-1 Don't criticize, condemn or complainIf you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive. Chapter 1 from How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
ReadJohn Wanamaker, founder of the stores that bear his name, once confessed: "I learned thirty years ago that it is foolish to scold. I have enough trouble overcoming my own limitations without fretting over the fact that God has not seen fit to distribute evenly the gift of intelligence." Wanamaker learned this lesson early, but I personally had to blunder through this old world for a third of a century before it even began to dawn upon me that ninety-nine times out of a hundred, people don't criticize themselves for anything, no matter how wrong it may be. Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person's precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment. B. F. Skinner, the world-famous psychologist, proved through his experiments that an animal rewarded for good behavior will learn much more rapidly and retain what it learns far more effectively than an animal punished for bad behavior. Later studies have shown that the same applies to humans. By criticizing, we do not make lasting changes and often incur resentment. Hans Selye, another great psychologist, said, "As much as we thirst for approval, we dread condemnation," The resentment that criticism engenders can demoralize employees, family members and friends, and still not correct the situation that has been condemned. George B. Johnston of Enid, Oklahoma, is the safety coordinator for an engineering company, One of his re-sponsibilities is to see that employees wear their hard hats whenever they are on the job in the field. He reported that whenever he came across workers who were not wearing hard hats, he would tell them with a lot of authority of the regulation and that they must comply. As a result he would get sullen acceptance, and often after he left, the workers would remove the hats. He decided to try a different approach. The next time he found some of the workers not wearing their hard hat, he asked if the hats were uncomfortable or did not fit properly. Then he reminded the men in a pleasant tone of voice that the hat was designed to protect them from injury and suggested that it always be worn on the job. The result was increased compliance with the regulation with no resentment or emotional upset. You will find examples of the futility of criticism bristling on a thousand pages of history, Take, for example, the famous quarrel between Theodore Roosevelt and President Taft - a quarrel that split the Republican party, put Woodrow Wilson in the White House, and wrote bold, luminous lines across the First World War and altered the flow of history. Let's review the facts quickly. When Theodore Roosevelt stepped out of the White House in 1908, he supported Taft, who was elected President. Then Theodore Roosevelt went off to Africa to shoot lions. When he returned, he exploded. He denounced Taft for his conservatism, tried to secure the nomination for a third term himself, formed the Bull Moose party, and all but demolished the G.O.P. In the election that followed, William Howard Taft and the Republican party carried only two states - Vermont and Utah. The most disastrous defeat the party had ever known. Theodore Roosevelt blamed Taft, but did President Taft blame himself?
Of course not, With tears in his eyes, Taft said: "I don't see
how I could have done any differently from what I have."
Who was to blame? Roosevelt or Taft? Frankly, I don't know, and I
don't care. The point I am trying to make is that all of Theodore
Roosevelt's criticism didn't persuade Taft that he was wrong. It
merely made Taft strive to justify himself and to reiterate with tears
in his eyes: "I don't see how I could have done any differently from
what I have."
Or, take the Teapot Dome oil scandal. It kept the newspapers ringing
with indignation in the early 1920s. It rocked the nation! Within the
memory of living men, nothing like it had ever happened before in
American public life. Here are the bare facts of the scandal: Albert B.
Fall, secretary of the interior in Harding's cabinet, was entrusted with
the leasing of government oil reserves at Elk Hill and Teapot Dome -
oil reserves that had been set aside for the future use of the Navy.
Did secretary Fall permit competitive bidding? No sir. He handed the
fat, juicy contract outright to his friend Edward L. Doheny. And what
did Doheny do? He gave Secretary Fall what he was pleased to call a
"loan" of one hundred thousand dollars. Then, in a high-handed
manner, Secretary Fall ordered United States Marines into the district
to drive off competitors whose adjacent wells were sapping oil out of
the Elk Hill reserves. These competitors, driven off their ground at
the ends of guns and bayonets, rushed into court - and blew the lid
off the Teapot Dome scandal. A stench arose so vile that it ruined
the Harding Administration, nauseated an entire nation, threatened
to wreck the Republican party, and put Albert B. Fall behind prison
Fall was condemned viciously - condemned as few men in public life
have ever been. Did he repent? Never! Years later Herbert Hoover
intimated in a public speech that President Harding's death had been
due to mental anxiety and worry because a friend had betrayed him.
When Mrs. Fall heard that, she sprang from her chair, she wept, she
shook her fists at fate and screamed: "What! Harding betrayed by
Fall? No! My husband never betrayed anyone. This whole house full
of gold would not tempt my husband to do wrong. He is the one who
has been betrayed and led to the slaughter and crucified."
There you are; human nature in action, wrongdoers, blaming
everybody but themselves. We are all like that. So when you and I
are tempted to criticize someone tomorrow, let's remember Al
Capone, "Two Gun" Crowley and Albert Fall. Let's realize that
criticisms are like homing pigeons. They always return home.
From chapter 1: Fundamental techniques in handling people
Don't criticize, condemn or complain. If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.
Give honest and sincere appreciation. The big secret of dealing with people.
Arouse in the other person an eager want. He who can do this has the whole world with him He who cannot walks a lonely way.