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  • Writer's pictureJay Ashcroft

How To Win Friends and Influence People Explained – The Part About Praise Instead of Criticism

a photo of philosophical thoughts for a blog written mindset hacker for small business and being an entrepreneur using your subconscious mind and trusting your gut, how to look back to move forward, and learning from how to win friends and influence people by dale carnegie

I’m sitting as a passenger in my mentor’s truck – we’re heading to a wedding back in my hometown. He takes a drag off his cigarette and whispers as he exhales, “You know, Ashcroft – there’s this book. How To Win Friends and Influence People. There’s a lot of people who really need to read that book. You’re not one of them. You just get it.”

Here's How to Win Friends and Influence People Explained


This was 4 years ago. When Mike spoke, I would always take his word for it. But, this time I was intrigued. “What do you mean I don’t need to read it?” I would think, “Maybe I should read it… Just to see.”


So, of course I did. I read it front to back. And you know what? Mike was right. I didn’t need to read it – I somehow already had all of its information instilled within me. Perhaps it was how I was raised – my father was an old school gentlemanly kind of guy.


Or perhaps it was from the multiple business owners I got close to as I worked as their employee.


Maybe it was something else, just some god given collection of virtues that are un explainable. All I know is that the words in that book resonated with me. I understood each and every word, and kept catching myself thinking “Ah, geez.. Everyone needs this book!”


If you haven’t read it – then it’s highly recommended. As is any classic text from that era of early to mid-twentieth century business advancement. Just phenomenal work.


The reason my mentor had told me I didn’t need to read the book, is because I just understood this concept of giving, giving and giving if you want to get somewhere in life.


You see, when I got back from Calgary and called mike, I didn’t have a bargaining chip in the world. I wanted to learn photography, and he needed help building his studio. Luckily for me, I knew how to build – and my work ethic and drive was unsurpassable.


This was never a conversation though. I never said to the guy “Hey bud, so I’ll help you build this studio if you teach me how to be a photographer.”


I just kept showing up. I showed up every single day and built this studio. And then, after the studio was built – I still kept showing up – and I did indeed learn how to be a photographer – from one of the best in the business.


And this is a big idea in the book.  We’re often so inclined to look at the wood stove and say “Hey! Give me heat, and then I’ll add the wood.” Ha! But, of course – we know better. That’s ridiculous. It simply doesn’t work that way.


So why the Hell would we expect it to be like that when we’re interacting with others. The book teaches or at the very least, reiterates, the importance of “give, and you shall receive.”


This concept of altruism is time tested, gives back in multitudes of ways – and I’ve used it, unknowingly – time and time again.


Now, as I’m off on my own – working on my business, there is one other main concept in How to Win Friends and Influence People that has come in handy for me more than once.


This is the idea of keeping your criticism to yourself. Which is so hard! It’s hard to do, and even harder to wrap your head around as a business owner.


“What do you mean?? Alex just fucked up BAD! What, I’m supposed to just let him get away with it and say nothing?” 


Yes – that is exactly right. Alex screwed up, and Alex knows that he screwed up. And you’re going to say nothing. But here’s where it gets interesting…


Alex knows he screwed up – he doesn’t need you to tell him that. In fact, if you do tell him that he screwed up – and even worse, if you lean into him about it – he’s going to get his back up and want to push back.


Sometimes he even will push back. This just causes issues for everyone, and it always gets awkward – and really, it’s problem based thinking. The mistakes keep happening because every time that they do – you draw massive amounts of attention to them.


So this is what Dale Carnegie is recommending. Alex is a good employee, for the most part. He does his job well, and makes mistakes from time to time. The way to solve the problem of the mistakes, is to treat the employee to extreme praise when he does something correctly.


Not to compare a human to the dog, HOWEVER. I will anyway. Ha.


Listen, a brain is a brain. And other things react to the energy we send to them. So as with a dog and a human, we’re instilling positive reinforcement. When the guy does exactly what you want, you say “Yes, great, good. That’s amazing. That’s such a good job – that’s exactly what we’re after here. Thank you so much for doing a good job.”


Now, what this is going to do is release dopamine in the brain. It’ll make the employee feel good – and then they’ll chase that feeling. As humans, we long for acceptance and praise. So, as an employer – give it, and the returns will be monumental.


And for heaven’s sake, when they mess up – just leave it be, unless you’re looking to attract more of what you don’t want, that is.


Do yourself a favour, and go read How To Win Friends and Influence People. Although it was first published in 1936, its teachings are timeless and applicable to every single walk of life. It changed my outlook, and apparently I didn’t even need to read it.


To Your Success,

Jay Ashcroft


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