How to Stop Worrying and Start Living – Rule #21

As an exercise I will post each day one of Dale Carnegie’s How to Stop Worrying and Start Living rules. This book was written in the 30s and is still of great popularity. The book offers a set of practical formulas to help overcome worry which are said to last a lifetime.

Hope you’ll enjoy it and get some worry less enlightenment.

Rule #21 Let’s keep a record of the fool things we have done and criticise ourselves. Since we don’t hope to be perfect, let’s do what E.H. Little did: let’s ask for unbiased, helpful, constructive criticism.

No one is perfect and everyone does at least one foolish thing a day. Keep an open mind and ask for feedback.

Start with an assessment of yourself. What are your strengths and where could you improve? Identify specific areas where input from others would be helpful.

Select helpful people. Good “criticizers” are people who (1) know you well enough to have an informed opinion, (2) are not out to get you, and (3) do not feel compelled to be relentlessly positive about everything.

Set the stage. Since people expect any criticism to immediately produce defensiveness, you need to begin this conversation by inviting honest opinions. Show that you really want their suggestions. For example: “One of my goals this year is to get some constructive feedback about how I can be most effective at work, so I’d like to ask you a couple of questions. I am very interested in your opinion, and I really want you to be honest.”

Do not debate or argue. When someone offers suggestions, do not debate or try to explain your behavior. Since you asked for an opinion, you need to listen and remain non-defensive. If you disagree, just say “I really appreciate you telling me that.” And if you don’t fully understand, ask for more information. But the best response is usually just to say thanks.



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