Carnegie: 8 Ways to Lead a Happy, Worry-Free Life


He believed it wasn’t technical knowledge that made people succeed in business. But rather, their people skills.

Dale Carnegie, author of the classic best-seller “How to Win Friends and Influence People” was a genius at people relations.

Even though his book was first published in 1936, Carnegie’s recommendations on self-leadership are just as relevant today, if not more so.

1. It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.

It took me over 50 years to learn this and I still sometimes don’t get it. Many of us look to a partner, spouse or best friend for happiness. Others believe money, romance or materialistic things will bring eternal joy. We are looking for happiness in all the wrong places. Happiness stems from our outlook on life. It doesn’t come from external conditions – rather, what we say to ourselves the second we wake up, the moment before we go to bed, and everything in-between.

To be happy, think happy.

2. One reason why birds and horses are not unhappy is because they are not trying to impress other birds and horses.”

Too many of us are trying to be important. In business – we use buzz phrases (that serve to confuse rather than communicate), exaggerate our accomplishments, and tell others how great we are. For a lot of people, it’s a never ending quest to get attention. It’s exhausting, often insincere and usually futile. Far greater satisfaction comes when we impress ourselves instead – accomplishing something we thought was previously difficult or impossible. Let us give up impressing others and just make sure we’re pleased with ourselves, regardless of what others think.

Be like a bird or horse.

3. “When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.”

Arguments could be avoided, company sales could go through the roof, and a lot more people could like us – if only we remembered this fact. People look at things based upon their background, culture, experiences and their position in life. This filter is feeling-based. In business and in life, let’s put less emphasis on “being right” and more emphasis on empathy. We’ll get a lot farther.

Replace the need to be right with empathy for others.

4. People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.

I had lunch recently with a friend who is an accountant. He enjoys his work, but he loves travelling a lot more. So much so that he works part-time at a travel agency, not as an accountant, but as a travel co-ordinator. I have urged him to switch gears and enter the travel business full time. That, after all, is where he’s having the most fun. We’ve all heard stories of people dramatically changing careers – engineers becoming belly dancers and executives turning into stand-up comics.

We live but one life. Make it fun.

5. Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration and resentment.

Worrying and being frustrated is far more difficult than working hard. In my own life, I’ve noticed that I can work 10 hours straight and feel okay, but if I’m troubled by something, I won’t be able to sleep, I get headaches and I feel drained. Sound familiar?

Today, take action to address those things in your life that are worrying you. Even one tiny step will make all the difference.

6. Take a chance! All life is a chance. The person who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare.

Have you been thinking of changing careers, starting a business or launching a new project? I dare you! You should also dare yourself. So many of us enter our older years with regret. “I should have done this or I should have done that.”

Replace future regret with daring moves today.

7. Even God doesn’t propose to judge a man till his last days, why should you and I?”

There’s a reason you love seeing your dog at the end of a hard day’s work. Your dog will not judge you. People will. The less secure among us, knowing this, will choose not to try anything new. It’s one of the quiet tragedies in our society.

We become happier when we are not in judgement of others. They do too.

8. Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation, for your character is what you are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

We know ourselves. We know when we’re lying to ourselves or when we go against what we believe. Others may not know it. But we do, in our hearts. We’ll be happier when we can go to bed at night in the knowledge that we did our best and stayed true to ourselves.

Be yourself.

There is a line in Carnegie’s book that says “Learn to love, respect and enjoy other people.”

Enjoying other people is not something we think about in our hurried lives. So this week, when you meet people, enjoy them. It’ll make for a better week.


Carnegie didn’t just know about human relations. He also knew about marketing. The spelling of his original name was “Carnagey” but he changed it to “Carnegie” to make people think he was related to Andrew Carnegie, who was a famous billionaire at the time.

“How to Win Friends and Influence People,” while not Carnegie’s only book, remains his most popular, still being read by business people the world over. The famous “Dale Carnegie Course” which Carnegie began to develop in 1912, teaches self-confidence, leadership and people skills – and is one of today’s most respected business courses. Among its former students: Warren Buffet and Johnny Cash.

© 2016 Cory Robert Galbraith, All Rights Reserved.

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