Don’t Criticize, Condemn, or Complain.


It’s the first principle in Dale Carnegie’s Book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. Of all the 30 principles of the revised edition (the original 1936 publication had some additional principles and chapters) I believe it is the hardest principle to live by. It is also the most life changing.

As a Dale Carnegie employee for several years I read that principle repeatedly. I taught it in classes and workshops over and over. I believe in that principle. Yet… I criticize, condemn and complain with great regularity.

I complain about the same stuff again and again, I have to because I have so little in my life to actually complain about. I criticize other people for doing the same things I do (it’s okay when I do it) and I condemn people and things after making judgments about them with little or no information – just my opinion.

Gee, I as read what I just wrote I realize how bad that makes me sound. However, I take comfort in this fact: the odds are overwhelming that almost everyone reading this is just like me!

We focus on what is wrong rather than what is right. We waste time worrying about all the things we can’t control while failing to control the things we can.

We miss so much of the good in the world and our lives when we think and talk about the bad. On our worst days, 99% of it is still great.

My dad is one of the oldest surviving heart transplant recipients in the world. He received his new heart in 1986 and since that time he has had a unique philosophy on life – if he wakes up, it is a great day. That’s a philosophy we can all live by.

So, as you begin planning for your successful 2013 (you will plan, won’t you?) remember to block out a few minutes each morning (YES, every morning) to reflect on the positives in your life. When you force yourself to do that you will likely be surprised at just how much there is to reflect on.

One of the most important choices you make each day is the choice of your attitude. Reflecting on life’s positives makes choosing a good attitude a whole lot easier.

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