Gratitude is Seeing the Miracle in Every Moment.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Quit Acting Like Christ Was Accepting of Everyone and Everything

I read this blog today. Loved it, and want to share it. Amen brother, amen.

Quit Acting Like Christ Was Accepting of Everyone and Everything

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Being a Harvest for the Lord- The Sermon on the Mount: The Path to Decispleship

I'd like to pose a basic and logical equation, as I approach the valuable lessons taught by the Savior in His all-famous ancient sermon in the mountains surrounding Galilee. That equation being:

Water + Salt + Light + Seed= Harvest 

I begin with this concept because it seems to be the foundation upon all the teachings and principles addressed in Christ's sermon. The fact alone that it can be likened to a process all mankind is familiar with; cultivating land for a harvest is in my opinion an even greater genius approach. The world's inhabitants cannot survive mortality without such a process of their food and nourishment being obtained. Its a law of nature, both physically.... and spiritually; and we know that God has always created all things first spiritually, then temporally. My mind is blown and I haven't even really gotten started!

Jesus begins his discourse, recorded in the book of Matthew, chapter 5, by addressing attributes of discipleship and the blessings associated with such behaviors and characteristics of an individual. I want to give credit to a friend who enlightened me with this information before I even began my in-depth study of these teachings today. Jeremiah Harmon has become a "cup that runneth over" to me in my life. He always has a deeper insight to consider; he is one whom I try to mirror in hungering and thirsting after righteousness and all knowledge. Jeremiah is always looking for ways to not only improve himself, but also those in his life. He never thinks to keep the wonderful things that bless his him from pouring out to everyone else's cups. 

Jeremiah recently likened this teaching of Christ to me in this way, by considering these specific characteristics and their associated blessing:

Poor in Spirit= The Kingdom of Heaven is Theirs

They that Mourn= Comfort

Meek= Inherit the Earth

Hungering and Thirsting for Righteousness= Filled

Pure in Heart= See God

Peacemakers= Called God's Children

Persecuted for Righteousness= Kingdom of Heaven is Theirs

These characteristics ignite the passion required to fulfill our purpose. Everything in the universe and beyond, has been created by God for it's own specific purpose.
For a wonderful example, Jesus teaches that we, "are the salt of the earth" (Matthew 5:13). Consider the purposes and uses for salt both today and anciently. Not only has salt been used as the main spice in cooking and preparing the food of man, but in the ancient world, salt was also used for currency. It was also used in the Mosaic law as a token of the covenant and part of sacrificial ritual (see Leviticus 2:13 and Numbers 18:19). Other purposes for salt included: being used as a preservative; a fertilizer; a purifier.... even to increase lamp light by adding it to the wicks.

I don't know about you, but I can see the spiritual symbolism here... considering salt as a preservative, might we be the preserving power that aims to keep the purity of the world? Or perhaps we are a fertilizer, helping the world to grow and prosper; to bring new life to the world.

Based on my previously proposed formula, I would like us to consider us being the salt and likening that concept to fertilizing the growth of mankind.

Christ then asks if salt without savour has any purpose, or if it is good for nothing. I of course wondered if salt could literally lose its savour. Naturally, sodium chloride is actually very stable and cannot lose its flavor... but can you IMAGINE if it did?!! How awful! The flavors of this life would be dull without the salt. In likening this to us, since He is saying WE are the salt, what if we lose OUR purpose?? We would be henceforth "good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men." Well that's pretty deep and all, but just what exactly IS our purpose? Whether we are missionaries, business owners, mothers, grandfathers, rich or poor... we ALL possess a purpose. The important thing we must learn is WHAT it is!

It is also interesting to note that the term, "lost it's savour" in both Greek and Aramaic translation actually reads: Became foolish. Ponder on that insight for a minute... We are the salt of the earth (sanctifying agent of this earth): but if we the salt have become foolish, wherewith shall the earth be sanctified?

Now, the Savior went on to teach that not only are we the salt of the earth but low and behold, we are also, "the light of the world"! Well my goodness! God must have a fine harvest in mind in deed! Let's break down that formula from earlier...

Jesus Christ (the fountain of living water), is teaching us how to bring in a great harvest. We know that He is the embodiment of the love of God. The ancient prophet, Nephi witnessed a vision where
this was explained (1 Nephi 11:25). This concept is further visualized when Jesus himself is speaking
with the woman of Samaria by the well (John 4:10).

Add to this living water, a fertilizer or the sanctifying agent of the earth, salt; a child of God who is continually seeking to better themselves and discover and act upon ways to be found pure at the last day. Sounds like someone walking the straight and narrow path, right?

But this is not all that is required. We also need light! Later in the sermon, it is mentioned that the light of the body is the eye. Have you ever looked into the eyes of someone who has been truly converted to the word? Those eyes are filled with sincerity and absent of guile. The eyes of a person are a key indicator of the life inside them. If that light is actually my life, it should shine before the world; filled with good works (grace, justice, righteousness, etc). THIS alone can be MY ultimate glorification of God.

Then we have the word which we will compare unto a seed (Alma 32:28), which we know if it is given place in us to be planted in our heart, and if we don't cast it out by our unbelief it will swell and grow within us; enlarging our souls and enlightening our understanding; it becomes delicious to us.

The Savior is teaching us the pathway we must walk to be TRUE disciples of Him. A true disciple does MORE than just the bare minimum. He or she is not content with simply scratching the surface of the field they are tilling. They intend for their roots to grow much deeper. Not only do they keep the law, the Ten Commandments, but they pinpoint specific ways to do more than just keep the law... because their ultimate goal, is to obtain godhood.

A true disciple keeps these commandments:

1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
2. Though shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain.
4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep in holy.
5. Honour thy father and thy mother.
6. Thou shalt not kill.
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8. Thou shalt not steal.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness.
10. Thou shalt not covet.

And adds these sanctifying specifics as commandments to abide by:

-Allow my life to be filled with righteousness only; not evil.
-Don't break these "lesser" commandments.
-Do these commandments and teach them.
-Do not carry anger to anyone without a cause; do not be contempt.
-Forgive first, then bring my broken heart to God.
-Quickly have kind thoughts for, or be well disposed toward my enemies.
-Do not view/look upon others in lust or sensuality.
-If my eyes cause me to stumble, remove the distraction/temptation so I am no longer stopped from progression.
-Know that divorce is not an option; it goes against God's very plan.
-Don't swear, at all.
-Turn the other cheek; don't get even.
-Give to those who ask.
-Love my enemies and opposition; be benevolent.
-Be perfect, like unto God the Father.
-Do not let my religious acts of devotion be as if it were a show to the world; Don't be prideful in my worship, in an effort to "show-up" others.
-Pray in a similar manner as Christ prayed.
-Be not worldly and obtain things outside my needs. Where my heart is, that is what I'm treasuring.
-Be loyal to God, not the world.
-Be a missionary.
-Do not be concerned with temporal things, God will provide--if I have faith, even just a little.
-Seek FIRST the kingdom of God, and I will receive what I seek and need.
-Judge not unrighteously; judge righteous judgement.
-Better myself, before trying to better another person.
-Give not what is holy to unholy people. i.e. Covenants, virtue, etc.
-Ask for blessings; seek them out; learn what I need to do to obtain them.
-Walk the path of Jesus: Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Holy Ghost, Temple Attendance
-Beware of false prophets. i.e. impure truths, partial truths, incorrect knowledge
-Do not live/work without this law.

Being this sanctified is sure to be followed with ridicule because it seems so outside the norm. Hence why we live in a Telestial realm and not a Terestial at this time. Being this sanctified, is an act of a Celestial being in all logical thinking. Of course its going to stick out and not fit in this world... but we were never MEANT to stay in this state, were we? Wise men, build their lives upon Christ and His Celestial precepts. Foolish men build their lives upon this temporal world and its Telestial concepts.

What does this all mean to me? To you? Lets try that formula again...

My Purpose= Love of God + Sanctification + Sincere Devotion + The Word

See, I am the harvest! WE are the harvest!

"Now behold, a marvelous work (God's work and glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man... me) is about to come forth among the children of men.
Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God (keeping ALL of these commandments and precepts taught in the sermon), see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day (Remember, only YOU can decide if you want a place in the Celestial kingdom).
Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work (the labor of keeping our light bright enough for those wandering in strange paths to find their way back to the iron rod);
For behold the field is white already to harvest; and low, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to HIS soul;
And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.
Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.
Ask, and ye shall receive; knock and it shall be opened unto you. Amen." (D&C 4)

May we bring in our harvest for the Lord...

Monday, April 7, 2014

An 8-Cow Woman Deserves an 8-Cow Man

In this work of intellect and perspective, An 8-Cow Woman Deserves an 8-Cow Man By Tracy Lyn Cutler a parallel between a classic story and characteristics for individuals to bring to a successful relationship. It is The Legend of Johnny Lingo.

Johnny Lingo is the main character in a nineteenth-century tale set in the South Sea islands. It was written by Patricia McGerr in 1965 and first published in Women's Day Magazine; reprinted in the February 1988 Reader's Digest and later adapted for two different motion pictures.

Johnny and Sarita (Mahana in Mormon Culture) have been widely accepted as a part of the LDS community folklore. Ms. Cutler likens them and their relationship to the perils facing every modern day relationship, even though the classic story seemed to indicate that the fabulous couple lived happily ever after.

Is there a way to stop or even slow down the continual drifting apart of modern-day Johnny and Mahana? And what is the secret, if there is one, to a long life of bliss where a man and woman raise a happy family and then grow old together under the same thatched roof? Its not discovering a secret as much as it may be just paying attention to important principles that too many of us overlook.

On the island of Kiniwata, cows were symbols of wealth. These conceptualized cows are symbols as well--representing something of far greater value in any relationship than mere financial status. These 8 cows represent the character traits and values Johnny and Mahana each must have if they are to sustain a modern relationship.

Too many relationships are short of character. They are devoid of trust, respect, honesty, fidelity, and a litany of other virtues. They are sometimes built only on physical attraction and common interests. But that has NEVER been enough. Life and relationships are much more enjoyable when you have the requisite character traits.

In the spirit of Johnny Lingo and the traditions of Kiniwata: Mahana, you need to be an eight-cow woman; and, Johnny, you need to bring eight cows of your own to the table.

"Most people say that it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong; it is character."
-Albert Einstein

Before Johnny could have his eight-cow woman, he had to be an eight-cow man.

Johnny took the time and effort to acquire the eight cows of his own.
Mahana through her goodness, humility, hard work, and despite the fact many people couldn't see it, was worth every one of them.

What are our standards?

These conceptualized modern cows will represent character traits.

What eight cows would you like to see in your relationship partner?

The ideal in any relationship is to create symbiosis.

Bring all eight of these characteristics to the relationship right up front.

The eight critical characteristic traits necessary for a sustainable relationship are:

1. Trusted Friendship
2. Passion for Life
3. Wisdom and Witt
4. Financial Responsibility
5. Spirituality
6. Extraordinary and Unique
7. Romantic and Intimate
8. Considerate and Kind

Having each of these characteristics could help lead to a happier, more successful life--not necessarily an easy life, but a life that could overcome challenges and make long-term meaningful relationships an achievable goal.

"Character--the willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life--is the source from which self respect springs." -Joan Didion

"Character is who you are and what you do when you think no one is watching." -Anonymous


The Trusted Friend

"Soul mates are people who bring out the best in you. They are not perfect but are always perfect for
you." -Author Unknown

Friendships include: Joking Around, Plenty of Fun, talking about the future and what each person wants out of life; then helping each other achieve their personal goals.

Friendship is a contract of the heart.

Friendship should be something worth fighting and dying for. A friendship should mean everything.

Friendship is a mutual meeting of hearts and minds--an unspoken bond of love, honesty, and trust. Friends entrust each other with their very souls.

Friendship is the foundation for a successful relationship to last. It is what will ultimately hold the relationship together.

A trusted friend is a true confidant, a best friend, someone we share our lives with--the good, the bad, and the ugly. Such friends are nonjudgemental of each other. They are a valued part of each other's lives.

Friendship will see a couple through the good times and the bad times. The loyalty they have to each other can soften any disagreement. The understanding between true friend overcomes all obstacles.

There is a difference between liking and loving. When you love someone without liking them, the night can be long and cold, and contempt comes up with the sun.

"It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

True friendship can only flourish in an atmosphere of trust.

When two people both have this character trait of trusted friendship, they can then trust each other's motives and commitment to go the distance and not abandon the family/relationship. There will be a sense of security.

Certainly, trust and love are both important, but love can only linger for so long when trust no longer exists. Friends expect each other to be forthcoming with all relevant information.

Trusted friends take each other into their most extreme confidence.

Trust goes way beyond just being honest or telling the truth...

Friends trust that when they are down, their friend will lift them up. They trust that their friend will watch their back and stick up for them in public. They trust that their friend will also tactfully tell them when they have done something wrong or even if their hair is out of style. They trust that their friend will believe in them when everybody else casts doubts. The trust that their friend will be there to lend a hand when it is really needed and even when it isn't. Friends trust each other to share the good times and the bad.

Conversations to build and determine friendship:

How important to you is a trusted friendship in our relationship?

Do you consider me a trusted friend?

Do you ever find it difficult to tell me the truth? When?

If I have violated your trust, what can I do to rebuild that trust?

Have you ever violated my trust? Do you trust me enough to share that incident with me?

Do you think it is possible to truly trust another person?

"Lust is easy. Love is hard. Like is most important." -Carl Reiner

"Trust is the glue of life. It's the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It's the foundational principle that holds all relationships." -Stephen R. Covey


Passion For Life

"The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire." -Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch

Passion for life is the drive to live beyond one's self--to lose one's self in something bigger than ego.

You either live your life with meaningful passion or that energy will be diverted elsewhere.

The villain to a life of passion is someone who knows right from wrong, has great prospects to do good, yet is unwilling to become passionate about his opportunities.

Most people like to point to the activities of the villain and label them as "the problem". But laziness, endless internet surfing, excessive television, drugs, and addictions of all kinds are more symptoms than problems. They are the indicators of a life that has a dearth of spirit, of purpose, or commitment--the fire in such a person's life has been misdirected or numbed.

Passion is food to our soul. We must have it to live. Passion fuels and drives our efforts.

Passion for life is essential to existence because life is wholesome, worthwhile, and involves building people and creating goodness in the world. The opposite is death. It breeds destruction, selfishness, contempt, and world full of hate. The Bible teaches there are only two choices--life or death. Which will you feed your passion to?

A physiological explanation for our need for passion:

"People want to experience joy. Joy emanates from the natural hormones of dopamine and serotonin from the midbrain organ called the amygdala. As we enjoy our family, our relationships, our work, and our recreation our brains produce these important chemicals that bring joy. In fact the greatest stimulant of these natural chemicals comes through selfless service. Jesus proclaimed, he 'who loses himself will find himself.' As we lose ourselves in good work, the passion that inspired the action works within us and literally our brain changes. Nitrous oxide is released causing the 'good feeling' that attends good deeds. This is a short-lived molecule that if sustained through persistent virtuous living, will elevate the important neurotransmitters of serotonin and dopamine.

People who become depressed have low levels of these two chemicals and often will 'self medicate'. They employ a surrogate method of increasing these substances--succumbing to addictions. The use of alcohol, cocaine, tobacco, methamphetamines, and even pornography will raise the levels of these brain chemicals in an unnatural manner. Those who use these substances, will 'feel passionate' for as long as the surrogate is in their system. But the stimulation will ultimately subside then collapse, and the addict will seek them again." -Dr. Ty Erickson

Passion separates man from the rest of earth's creatures. We seek to find and express a meaning in life.

What do you really want? If you don't know what you want, you won't know which passion to feed.

Is everything you are currently doing in your life an aim to fulfill the expectations of others... your parents, your religion, society, and your family? Consider the future consequences that could incur should your lack of passion for your great life persist.

Be sure to look ahead to see if what you want today will lead you to what you will want tomorrow. Dig deep and look at the whole picture. Look at the present and the future. Connect with your Maker. Think about the real purpose of your life. Think about your talents, your gifts. Then decide WHAT YOU WANT. Find out what that is and pursue it with all the passion of your soul.

Passion for your life is showing true gratitude to the One who gave it to you.

Conversations to stimulate passion:

What do you like to do most when nobody knows what you are doing? Is that your passion?

If you could change the world, what would you change?

If you could earn a living at anything you wanted, what would you do?

Do you ever find yourself feeding the wrong passions of life?

Outside of our physical relationship, what passions do we share?

"Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion." -Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel


Wisdom and Wit

A sense of humor speaks more of being capable of seeing the lighter side of the daily grind and laugh at the curves life can throw at us.

Having this "sense" means you will see the lighter side of a flat tire and the seriousness of a friend's sorrow. It's a balance between wit and wisdom.

An appropriate sense of humor will also never make a person an object of ridicule.

A good sense of humor will keep life in perspective. Someone who is truly wise and witty recognizes that laughter is a gift from God--given to us to lighten our load, not to make light of the journey.

Conversations about determining a sense of wisdom and wit:

Do I take myself too seriously?

Do I inappropriately laugh at the misfortune of others?

Am I able to bring calm to difficult situations with my sense of humor?

Am I ever too silly?

Do I have a sense of perspective that allows me to be wise?

"A keen sense of humor helps us to overlook the unbecoming, understand the unconventional, tolerate the unpleasant, overcome the unexpected, and outlast the unbearable." -Billy Graham


Financial Responsibility

It isn't money or the lack of money that seems to be the problem in relationships, rather how the money is managed is the real issue: who makes the money and how; how the money is spent and on what; how much is saved; how debt is managed; and how much debt is acceptable?

In a relationship, the most important element that must be added to financial responsibility is communication.

Consider the law of the harvest: preparing the soil, planting the seeds, watering and cultivating, being patient, protecting, harvesting, and then storing.

Preparing the soil= get educated, get smart, go to school, get trained, learn.

Planting the seeds= go to work, launch your career, start your business.

Watering and cultivating= work hard, work smart, excel and advance, grow your business or career, get smarter.

Being patient= be patient.

Protecting= get insurance, take care of your health, take care of your assets.

Harvesting= get paid, collect your salary, realize a profit.

Storing= save money, create equity, invest, avoid debt.

For a couple to become one , they must come to a consensus on financial issues before they can really feel united in all things. They need to open the lines of communication on financial goals and procedures. The longer they wait to broach this topic, the harder it will be to come to a consensus on how they will handle money matters.

Couples need to communicate with one another their priorities. When couples fail to prioritize, important matters can sometimes get neglected until a crisis occurs.

Without the necessities of life, the other characteristics can dwindle in importance. It can be difficult to achieve your life's dreams without adequate funding.

Conversations on financial responsibility:

Do you feel I am financially responsible?

Describe in detail the house, car, and lifestyle you expect to achieve in life.

Do you consider yourself to be frugal or a spendthrift?

Under what circumstances do you think debt is acceptable?

Is there anything I do that sabotages our financial success?

Do you consider yourself a hard worker?

"Money is neither my god nor my devil. It is a form of energy that tends to make us more of who we already are, whether it's greedy or loving." -Dan Millman



Defined- Regular church attendance. Adherence to specific religious codes of conduct and belief. Service to fellow men. Gratitude... etc.

Too often people measure their spirituality by checking off compliance to a list of rules and commandments.

"We stand at the crossroads, each minute, each hour, each day, making choices. We choose the thoughts we allow ourselves to think, the passions we allow ourselves to feel, and the actions we allow ourselves to perform. Each choice is made in the context of whatever value system we've selected to govern our lives. In selecting that value system, we are, in a very real way, making the most important choice we will ever make.
Those who believe there is one God who made all things and who governs the world by His Providence will make many choices different from those who do not. Those who hold in reverence that Being who gave them life and worship Him through adoration, prayer, and thanksgiving will make many choices different from those who do not. Those who believe that mankind are all of a family and that the most acceptable service of God is doing good to man will make many choices different from those who do not. Those who believe in a future state in which all that is wrong here will be made right will make many choices different from those who do not. Those who subscribe to the morals of Jesus will make many choices different from those who do not.
Since the foundation of all happiness is thinking rightly, and since correct action is dependent on correct opinion, we cannot be too careful in choosing the value system we allow to govern our thoughts and actions.
And to know that God governs in the affairs of men, that he hears and answers prayers, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him, is indeed, a powerful regulator of human conduct."
-Benjamin Franklin

Even though spirituality may be an individual matter it becomes a greater part of life when it is shared in a relationship.

Conversations on Spirituality:

Do you believe in God?

How do you feel when you think of Him?

Does your belief play an active role in your life and decisions?

Do you plan on teaching your children your beliefs?

Do you think having similar beliefs is important in a close relationship?


Extraordinary and Unique

"You don't love someone for their looks, or their clothes, or for their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear." -Author Unknown

A representation of one thing that makes you special, and especially interesting to another person who is attracted to your distinctive quality or qualities.

What makes ME extraordinary or unique? What would I want it to be?

Develop and nurture the talents and abilities that make me stand out. Work to be the best ME possible.

A specific person will most likely single out only one thing they find to be especially attractive about you. Your talent or ability or gift is what causes that person to take a second look.

A person may very well be drawn to your unique and extraordinary gift because their goals in life may be similar to yours. Your unique talents and virtues will help them to feel that the both of you could be happy together pursuing the same ambitions and dreams. Your responsibility is to keep these talents and virtues healthy and thriving. Do not fail to tend and nourish the abilities or characteristics that created the mutual attraction in the first place. When such things are allowed to die or stray from the forefront, it may be perceived that these attributes were not real and was merely used as a lure to encourage the relationship.

When you neglect or fail to nurture the intriguing facets of your personality, it could take some of the wow out of a marriage or relationship, leading to feelings of resentment and regret. Couples should work together to keep their dreams alive.

Develop the best talents and attributes that you can.

Even though your talents and abilities; your gifts and virtues may be highly appreciated and loved, it does not necessarily have to be the same for both parties to enjoy the exhilaration of this characteristic. A continued interest in your partner's gifts will assure that their talent will have a place to grow and flourish.

Compatible and harmonizing talents/gifts are important.

Conversations on extraordinary uniqueness:

What do you think your gift is?

What do you think my gift is?

Am I taking proper care of my gifts?

Do I have more than one gift?

Do you think I sufficiently appreciate and support your gifts and talents?

"Life is not a journey to the grave with intentions of arriving safely in a pretty well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming... WOW! What a ride!" -Author Unknown

"When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds. Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be."

"Our whole life is an attempt to discover when our spontaneity is whimsical, sentimental irresponsibility and when it is a valid expression of our deepest desires and values."
-Helen Merrell Lynd


Romance and Intimacy

"Romantic love reaches out in little ways, showing attention and admiration. Romantic love remembers what pleases... what excites... and what surprises... Its actions whisper: You are the most special person in my life." -Charles Stanley

Even though all the other characteristics discussed here are important, this is the one that makes him yours and you his--exclusively.

It isn't just about gathering these characteristics into one person--filling a grocery list of desired attributes. It is also about sweeping someone off their feet--making them feel special--making them feel truly loved and cherished. This is the characteristic that ultimately must be accepted before the relationship can really take off.

Romance and intimacy are not synonymous. But they do go hand in hand, with romance leading the way.

Romance= the emotional aspects of togetherness; anything that stirs the heart to feelings of affection and longing; spontaneous acts of kindness, being sensitive to each other's needs, generosity, making time for each other
Intimacy= the physical closeness of a couple; a wonderful celebration of all the tender moments preceding it

Don't try to skip romance and go straight to intimacy, doing so misses the whole point of a relationship.

True intimacy between a man and a woman begins in the heart--and romantic behavior is the manifestation of those feelings.

Romance shouldn't be missed or neglected.

"Libido or sexual desire is a large component in the complex experience of intimate relationships. The response, however, is very different between men and women. Men tend to be more hormone-driven and interested in getting straight to intimacy. Women, on the other hand, seem to have the need for what I call the seven T's for romance:
1. Talk
2. Time
3. Touch
4. Tenderness
5. Timing
6. Trust
7. Testosterone
Women, like men, require testosterone to initiate a drive toward intimacy. Women however have a significantly smaller amount of this hormone, making romance, or the six other T's, much more important to them on both an emotional and a physical level. Failure to recognize these differences can create frustration where there should be fulfillment." -Dr. Mark Dowdle

Romance is the key. Romance is the fuel for the fire of intimacy. When romance wanes, intimacy can become just another obligation--a task to cross off our to do list. When romance is ignored, couples are much more easily lured by the siren song of infidelity, which almost always snuffs out whatever flame might have remained in their intimate relationship.

Don't underestimate the importance of romance in a relationship, especially after marriage. Romance keeps your love alive and will help keep the feelings and desire for intimacy as special as before.

Author's list of some of her favorite acts of romance:

My own pet name, meant for me and no one else.
A foot rub without expecting one back.
A love note in grease pencil on my mirror.
Finding my favorite candy under my pillow.
Our own date, just you and me, a table set for only two.
Seeing you stand on the porch waving good-bye until my taillights have faded.
Sitting next to me in church, holding my hand, with our children on either side of us.
A midnight kiss on New Year's Eve and every night after that.

Live for each other. Live exclusively for each other--becoming one.

Conversations on romance and intimacy:

Do you consider me to be romantic?

What do you find romantic?

How do you feel about "wandering eyes" in a relationship?

What do the words tenderness and sensitivity mean to you?

Do you think we make enough quality time for real intimacy?

"What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen each other in all labour, to minister to each other in all sorrow, to share with each other in all gladness, to be one with each other in the silent unspoken memories?" -George Eliot

"True love does not come by finding the perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly." -Jason Jordan


Considerate and Kind

"Your greatness is measured by your kindness; your education and intellect by your modesty; your ignorance by your suspicions and prejudices, and your real caliber is measured by the consideration you have for others." -Olin Miller

Daily thoughtfulness, kindness, and consideration between a couple make the roads smooth, the choppy seas calm, and the difficult times seem less difficult.

Being considerate is all about putting the needs and wants of others in a position of significant priority. The opportunity to show daily acts of selfless consideration can bring the greatest long-term joy.

The Platinum Rule: Treat others as they would WANT to be treated.

Your responsibility then is to determine what the other person really wants. No longer can you passively do unto others according to how you see it. You really need to connect with that person and be considerate of THEIR innermost thoughts and desires in order to most effectively "do unto" them.

Considerate= An act of Love; gives comfort and solace, unselfishness, listens and responds and communicates appropriately, humble, forgiving, gives thoughtful gifts, empathizes, even-tempered, seeks self-improvement

The more we love someone the easier it is to know what they want and need.

Conversations about being considerate:

What is the most considerate act you feel I ever did for you?

Is there anything I do you find to be inconsiderate?

Which of the above characteristics of being considerate am I lacking?

Do I do anything that irritates you? How would you like me to change?

If I could do anything for you right now, what would it be?

"True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost." -Arthur Ashe

"Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end." -Scott Adams


Avoid Addictions. They and their consequences are painful and often catastrophic. Relationships and sometimes even live hang in the balance of the persistent spread of addiction and irresponsible behavior. If you have an addiction; drugs, alcohol, infidelity, pornography, gambling--get help--starve it, shoot it, get rid it any way you can.


The love and joy of Johnny and Mahana is potentially available to everyone. To obtain it, requires an offering of the eight critical character traits previously discussed. These also make it possible to sustain your relationship.

The gift of one's best self is the noblest gift one can offer another person.

The fear and sometimes even casual acceptance of inevitable failure are robbing modern-day Johnnys and Mahanas of the will to pursue anything beyond steady dating. Many people, particularly those still reeling from the pain of a failed marriage, doubt that another person can be trusted to bring these character traits to a long-term relationship. But if we could make this principle of individual character an easy topic to discuss and then do something about, it might allow potential partners to believe that a lasting relationship is actually possible.

If you truly want to find an eight-cow partner, having eight cows of your own to bring to the relationship will make that possible. Having all your own cows in readiness will give you the confidence to pursue a serious relationship with an attitude of hope and optimism rather than one of fear and pessimism.

Possessing individual character has been championed as one of the most worthwhile pursuits of men and women. Many philosophies teach that such a pursuit is important because your character may be the only thing you can take with you into the next life, as well as our relationships.

How to actually go about getting these character traits: a strong desire, serious honesty; observing the lives of great men and women--the things they have done and the behavior they have demonstrated. Know what you need to do to become a person of good character. It's a matter of the spiritual man overcoming or dominating the natural man and his tendencies.

Some people describe the process of obtaining character as an arduous task requiring great thought and introspection. But its not that complicated. To gain character, it may be as simple as engaging in the regular exercise of choosing conscience over will. Follow your conscience and build the muscles of your character.

I took more notes than I thought I would on this one! I LOVED this book! 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

How to Win Friends and Influence People: Part 4- Be A Leader

This last segment in Dale Carnegie's literary masterpiece comprises ideas and conclusions to act upon regarding how to change people without giving offense or arousing resentment. I must admit, my personal copy of this work is becoming quite distressed... as sign that the book is being carried, read, and treasured. It's a pity more books aren't receiving this rare form of attention and admiration. Think of all the unloved books stacking up on shelves and in corners of bookstores/libraries! What is this world coming to? Since I began this project I can't even begin to tell you how many incompetent fools have no idea who Dale Carnegie was nor about this book that sold over 15 million copies while in its readership prime!

I'll jump down from my soap box for a minute, but rest assured... this conversation is bound to be addressed again in the near future!

Mr. Carnegie begins his final exploration to excellence and influence by addressing how, if we must find fault, this is the way to begin:

It is always easier to listen to unpleasant things after we have heard some praise of our good points.

Beginning with praise is like the dentist who begins his work with Novocain. The patient still gets a drilling, but the Novocain is pain-killing. 

Principle 1: Begin with praise and honest appreciation.


Calling attention to one's mistakes indirectly works wonders with sensitive people who may resent bitterly any direct criticism.

Principle 2: Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly.


If a few sentences humbling oneself and praising the other party can turn a haughty, insulted individual into a staunch friend, imagine what humility and praise can do for you and me in our daily contacts. Rightfully used, they will work veritable miracles in human relations. 

Principle 3: Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.


Principle 4: Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.


Letting one save face! How important, how vitally important that is! And how few of us ever stop to think of it! We roughshod over the feelings of others, getting our own way, finding fault, issuing threats, criticizing a child or an employee in front of others, without even considering the hurt to the other person's pride. Whereas a few minutes' thought, a considerate word or two, a genuine understanding of the other person's attitude, would go so far toward alleviating the sting!

Even if we are right and the other person is definitely wrong, we only destroy ego by causing someone to lose face. 

"I have no right to say or do anything that diminishes a man in his own eyes. What matters is not what I think of him, but what he thinks of himself. Hurting a man in his dignity is a crime."
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Principle 5: Let the other person save face.


"Praise is like sunlight to the warm human spirit; we cannot flower a grow without it. And yet, while most of us are only too ready to apply to others the cold wind of criticism, we are somehow reluctant to give our fellow the warm sunshine of praise." -Jess Lair, I Ain't Much, Baby--But I'm All I Got

Dale Carnegie retold this story of how praise changed someone's entire future...

In the early nineteenth century, a young man in London aspired to be a writer. But everything seemed to be against him. He had never been able to attend school more than four years. His father had been flung in jail because he couldn't pay his debts, and this young man often knew the pangs of hunger. Finally, he got a job pasting labels on bottles of blacking in a rat-infested warehouse, and he slept at night in a dismal attic room with two other boys--guttersnipes from the slums of London. He had so little confidence in his ability to write that he sneaked out and mailed his first manuscript in the dead of night so nobody would laugh at him. Story after story was refused. Finally the great day came when one was accepted. True, he wasn't paid a shilling for it, but one editor had praised him. One editor had given him recognition. He was so thrilled that he wandered aimlessly  around the streets with tears rolling down his cheeks.

The praise, the recognition, that he received through getting one story in print, changed his whole life, for if it hadn't been for that encouragement, he might have spent his entire life working in rat-infested factories. You may have heard of that boy. His name was Charles Dickens.

Similar stories are told of great history influences, leaders, and business people like Enrico Caruso and H.G. Wells.

I particularly enjoyed the report of a Mr. John Ringelspaugh in communicating with his children. I figure that if a form of such communication would be acted upon an utilized on a regular basis there would be guaranteed less frustrated parents and fewer insubordinate youth.

"We decided to try praise instead of harping on their faults. It wasn't easy when all we could see were the negative things they were doing; it was really tough to find things to praise. Wee managed to find something, and within the first day or two some of the really upsetting things they were doing quit happening. Then some of their other faults began to disappear. They began capitalizing on the praise we were giving to them. They even began going out of their way to do things right. Neither of us could believe it. Of course, it didn't last forever, but the norm reached after things leveled off was so much better. It was no longer necessary to react the way we used to. The children were doing far more right things than wrong ones."

Everybody likes to be praise, but when praise is specific, it comes across as sincere--not something the other person may be saying just to make one feel good.

Talk about changing people. If you and I will inspire the people with whom we come in contact to a realization of the hidden treasures they possess, we can do far more than change people. We can literally transform them.

"Compared with what we ought to be, we are only half awake. We are making use of only a small part of our physical and mental resources. Stating the things broadly, the human individual thus lives far within his limits. He possesses powers of various sorts which he habitually fails to use."
-William James

Principle 6: Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be "hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise."


Principle 7: Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.


Principle 8: Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.


Always make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

The effective leader should keep the following guidelines in mind when it is necessary to change attitudes or behavior:

1. Be sincere. Do not promise anything that you cannot deliver. Forget about the benefits to yourself and concentrate on the benefits to the other person.
2. Know exactly what it is you want the other person to do.
3. Be empathetic. Ask yourself what it is the other person really wants.
4. Consider the benefits that person will receive from doing what you suggest.
5. Match those benefits to the other person's wants.
6. When you make your request, put it in a form that will convey to the other person the idea that he personally will benefit. Instead of giving a curt order, we could express the same idea by showing the benefits they will get from doing the task.

Principle 9: Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.


In A Nutshell... How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment:

Be a Leader
A leader's job often includes changing your people's attitudes and behavior. Some suggestions to accomplish this:

Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
Call attention to peoples mistakes indirectly.
Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
Let the other person save face.
Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be "hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.
Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

How to Win Friends and Influence People: Part 3- How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

I didn't particularly like how I broke up the last segment of my reading. I think it got a little monotonous and boring. So my new approach is going to be me compiling an overview of this entire segment, even though there are 12 principles associated with Part 3 of this well written piece of literature.

So, we start this snooze of a review by discussing why its important to remember, we can't win an argument... not if we want to win people over to our way of thinking and ultimately gain friendship and influence! A foreign concept to those who might argue at the professional level as lawyers and public defenders.

Dale Carnegie writes of a resolute conclusion about how there is only one way under high heaven to get the best of an argument--and that is to avoid it. Avoid it as you would rattlesnakes and earthquakes.

"If you argue and rankle and contradict, you may achieve a victory sometimes; but it will be an empty victory because you will never get your opponent's good will." -Benjamin Franklin

"Hatred is never ended by hatred but by love." -Buddha

"No man who is resolved to make the most of himself can spare time for personal contention. Still less can he afford to take the consequences, including the vitiation of his temper and the loss of self-control. Yield larger things to which you show no more than equal rights; and yield lesser ones though clearly your own. Better give your path to a dog than be bitten by him in contesting for the right. Even killing the dog would not cure the bite." -Abraham Lincoln

Some suggestions on how to keep a disagreement from becoming an argument:
  • Welcome the disagreement.
  • Distrust your first instinctive impression.
  • Control your temper.
  • Listen first.
  • Look for areas of agreement.
  • Be honest.
  • Promise to think over your opponents' ideas and study them carefully.
  • Thank your opponents sincerely for their interest.
  • Postpone action to tie both sides time to think through the problem.
Principle 1: The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.


According to Mr. Carnegie, there is a sure way of making enemies and he knows how you can avoid it.

You can tell people they are wrong by a look o an intonation or a gesture just as eloquently as you can in words--and if you tell them they are wrong, do you make them want to agree with you? Never! For you have struck a direct blow at their intelligence, judgement, pride and self-respect.

If you are going to prove anything, don't let anybody know about it. Do it so subtly, so adroitly, that no one will feel that you are doing it. 

"Men must be taught as if you taught them not And things unknown proposed as things forgot."

"You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him to find it within himself." -Galileo

"Be wiser than other people if you can; but do not tell them so." -Lord Chesterfield

"One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing." -Socrates

Showing respect for all and treating them diplomatically and courteously.

"I have found it of enormous value when I can permit myself to understand the other person. The way in which I have worded this statement may seem strange to you. Is it necessary to permit oneself to understand another? I think it is. Our first reaction to most of the statements (which we hear from other people) is an evaluation or judgement, rather than an understanding of it. When someone expresses some feeling, attitude or belief, our tendency is to almost immediately feel 'that's right,' or 'that's stupid,' 'that's abnormal,' 'that's unreasonable,' 'that's incorrect,' 'that's not nice.' Very rarely do we permit ourselves to UNDERSTAND precisely what the meaning of the statement is to the other person." 

"Be diplomatic. It will help you gain your point." -King Akhitoi, Egypt

Principle 2: Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never say, "You're wrong."


Another captivating idea occurs in the words of Mr. Carnegie, when he simply states, "If you're wrong, admit it."

When we are right, let's try to win people gently and tactfully to our way of thinking, and when we are wrong--and that will be surprisingly often, if we are honest with ourselves--let's admit our mistakes quickly and with enthusiasm. 

"By fighting you never get enough, but by yielding you get more than you expected." -Old Proverb

Principle 3: If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.


"If you come at me with your fists doubled, I think I can promise you that mine will double as fast as yours; but if you come to me and say, 'Let us sit down and take counsel together, and, if we differ from each other, understand why it is that we differ, just what the points at issue are,' we will presently find that we are not so far apart after all, that the points on which we differ are few and the points on which we agree are many, and that if we only have the patience and the candor and the desire to get together, we will get together." -Woodrow Wilson

"If a man's heart is rankling with discord and ill feeling toward you, you can't win him to your way of thinking with all the logic in Christendom. Scolding parents and domineering bosses and husbands and nagging wives ought to realize that people don't want to change their minds. They can't be forced or driven to agree with you or me. But they may possibly be led to, if we are gentle and friendly, ever so gentle and ever so friendly." -Abraham Lincoln

"It is an old and true maxim that 'a drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.' So with men, if you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Therein is a drop of honey that catches his heart; which, say what you will, is the great high road to his reason." -Abraham Lincoln

That second notion from President Lincoln is an intriguing one. I think it applies to so many basic aspects of relationships. Even those looking for the romantic side of lasting love and marriage. Say your cause is a happy and lasting marriage with someone.... you must first convince your spouse that you are their sincerest and dearest friend. The question is then posed: what defines friendship? How would/does one express that side of love to another?

There have to be practically a million or so quotes and ideas on the very subject of friendship and even love. We should each be striving to be what these words express:

"A true friend knows your weaknesses but shows you your strengths; feels your fears but fortifies your faith; sees your anxieties but frees your spirit; recognizes your disabilities but emphasizes your possibilities." -William Arthur Ward

"When a friend is in trouble, don't annoy him by asking if there is anything you can do. Think up something appropriate, and do it." -Edward W. Howe

Principle 4: Begin in a friendly way.


Dale Carnegie's advise on winning people over to your way of thinking is indeed genuine and a successful tactic to consider and implement...
In talking with people, don't begin by discussing the things on which you differ. Begin by emphasizing--and keep on emphasizing--the things on which you agree. Keep emphasizing, if possible, that you are both striving for the same end and your only difference is one of method and not of purpose. 

*Get the Person to say Yes X 2.

Here is a brief history lesson on the value of Socrates to the world at large:

Socrates, "the gadfly of Athens," was one of the greatest philosophers the world has ever known. He did something that only a handful of men in all history have been able to do: he sharply changed the whole course of human thought; and now, twenty-four centuries after his death, he is honored as one of the wisest persuaders who ever influenced this wrangling world.

His method? Did he tell people they were wrong? Oh, no, not Socrates. He is far too adroit for that. His whole technique, now called the "Socratic Method", was based upon getting a "yes, yes" response. He asked questions with which his opponent would have to agree. He kept on winning one admission after another until he had an armful of yeses. He kept on asking questions until finally, almost without realizing it, his opponents found themselves embracing a conclusion they would have bitterly denied a few minutes previously. 

Principle 5: Get the other person saying "yes, yes" immediately.


Most people trying to win others to their way of thinking do too much talking themselves. Let the other people talk themselves out. They know more about their business and problems than you do. So ask them questions. Let them tell you a few things.

If you disagree with them you may be tempted to interrupt. But don't. It is dangerous. They won't pay attention to you while they still have a lot of ideas of their own crying for expression. So listen patiently and with an open mind. Be sincere about it. Encourage them to express their ideas fully.

Principle 6: Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.


In order to gain cooperation, it could prove to be a wise investment to pose suggestions and then let the other person think out the conclusion.

A lot of successful businesses are now utilizing the tactic of asking colleagues and subordinates exactly what they expect of their leaders and peers. It wouldn't seem too far fetched to handle romantic relationships in the same way. I can only imagine how much stronger marriage relations would be if both partners took the time to discuss what the other spouse's expectations for them and also what the other can expect to produce; write them down and apply them daily.

No one likes to feel that he or she is being sold something or told to do a thing. We much prefer to feel that we are buying of our own accord or acting on our own ideas. We like to be consulted about our wishes, our wants, our thoughts.

*Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.

"In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The reason why rivers and seas receive the homage of a hundred mountain streams is that they keep below them. Thus they are able to reign over all the mountain streams. So the sage, wishing to be above men, putteth himself below them; wishing to be before them, he putteth himself behind them. Thus, though his place be above men, they do not feel his weight; though his place be before them, they do not count it an injury." -Lao-tse

Principle 7: Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.


Remember that other people may be totally wrong. But they don't think so. Don't condemn them. Any fool can do that. Try to understand them. Only wise, tolerant, exceptional people even try to do that.

There is a reason why the other man thinks and acts as he does. Ferret out that reason--and you have the key to his actions, perhaps to his personality.

By becoming interested in the cause, we are less likely to dislike the effect.

"Cooperativeness in conversation is achieved when you show that you consider the other person's ideas and feelings as important as your own. Starting your conversation by giving the other person the purpose or direction of your conversation, governing what you say by what you would want to hear if you were the listener, and accepting his or her viewpoint will encourage the listener to have an open mind to your ideas." -Dr. Gerald S. Nirenberg, Getting Through to People

If, as a result of reading this book, you get only one thing--an increased tendency to think always in terms of the other person's point of view, and see things from that person's angle as well as your own--if you get only that one thing from this book, it may easily prove to be one of the stepping stones of your career. 

Principle 8: Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view.


Three fourths of the people you will ever meet are hungering and thirsting for sympathy. Give it to them, and they will love you.

"Sympathy the human species universally craves. The child eagerly displays his injury; or even inflicts a cut or bruise in order to reap abundant sympathy. For the same purpose adults... show their bruises, relate their accidents, illness, especially details of surgical operations. 'Self-pity' for misfortunes real or imaginary is, in some measure, practically a universal practice." -Dr. Arthur I. Gates, Educational Psychology

Principle 9: Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires.


Principle 10: Appeal to the nobler motives.


Merely stating a truth isn't enough. The truth has to be made vivid, interesting, dramatic.

Principle 11: Dramatize your ideas.


"The way to get things done, is to stimulate competition. I do not mean in a sordid, money-getting way, but in the desire to excel." -Charles Schwab

"All men have fears, but the brave put down their fears and go forward, sometimes to death, but always to victory." -Ancient Grecian Motto

"I have never found that pay and pay alone would either bring together or hold good people. I think it was the game itself" -Harvey S. Firestone

Every successful person loves the game. It tends to be a chance for self-expression and to prove their worth. They aim to win and to excel. It is a desire for a feeling of importance.

Principle 12: Throw down a challenge.


In a Nutshell... To Win People To Your Way Of Thinking:

The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never say, "You're Wrong."
If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
Begin in a friendly way.
Get the other person saying "yes, yes" immediately.
Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view.
Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires.
Appeal to the nobler motives.
Dramatize your ideas.
Throw down a challenge.

Friday, February 7, 2014

How to Win Friends and Influence People: Part 2- Six Ways to Make People Like You

Forgot to give a re-cap of these IMPORTANT principles in a nutshell...

Principle 1- Become genuinely interested in other people.

Principle 2- Smile.

Principle 3- Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

Principle 4- Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

Principle 5- Talk in terms of the other person's interests.

Principle 6- Make the other person feel important--and do it sincerely.

And THAT people, is how you make people like you.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

How to Win Friends and Influence People: Part 2- Six Ways to Make People Like You "Make the Other Person Feel Important"

We shouldn't be motivated solely by what we could potentially get out of our interaction with others.

If we are so contemptibly selfish that we can't radiate a little happiness and pass on a bit of honest appreciation without trying to get something out of the other person in return--if our souls are no bigger than sour crab apples, we shall meet with the failure we so richly deserve.

We should be desiring something priceless from the majority of our interpersonal communications. We should be wanting the feeling that we can do something for someone else without them being able to do anything whatever in return for us.

The all important law of relationships; that law taught by philosophers and religious leaders since the world began, "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you", is not a new concept and is the only precept that rings true and consistently successful in promoting good will amongst the human race. Think about what the other person might want, need, feel…. for undoubtedly it is something you also crave; approval, recognition of your true worth, a feeling of importance, sincere appreciation. This is something we should be seeking to do ALL THE TIME. Its a matter of respect.

Litte phrases such as, "I'm sorry to trouble you," "Would you be so kind as to______?" "Won't you please?" "Would you mind?" "Thank you"-- little courtesies like these oil the cogs of the monotonous grind of everyday life--and, incidentally, they are the hallmark of good breeding.

Principle 6: Make the other person feel important--and do it sincerely.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

How to Win Friends and Influence People: Part 2- Six Ways to Make People Like You "Talk In Terms of the Other Person's Interests"

How to Interest People…

The royal road to a person's heart is to talk about the things he or she treasures most.

According to William Lyon Phelps, Essayist and Professor of Literature at Yale University,  a lady or gentleman recognizes the interest of their audience. The will talk about the things he or she knows will interest and please them. They make themselves agreeable.

Could it be too difficult to consider myself undertaking the trouble to find out just what the people I'm attempting to influence on a daily basis, are interested in, and what they enjoy talking about?

Again, this brings me to reflect on principles taught in Preach My Gospel. Though it be a handbook for missionary work and the service they render, I am a firm believer that such teachings are ever so applicable in other areas of our earthy existence.

Chapter 9 in Preach My Gospel, discusses the skills one should seek to develop of find people to teach about the message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. If I want to "find people" to win over as my friends and influence for both their betterment and mine, then I would to well to consider this concept; Nothing happens in missionary work until you find someone to teach. Talk with as many people as you can each day (The more people I talk with, the more possibilities I create in winning friends to influence). It is natural to be somewhat apprehensive about talking to people, but you can pray for the faith and strength to be more bold in opening your mouth to proclaim the restored gospel (I like the idea of acting bold by reaching out to communicate with people we do not yet have an association with. Success cannot come without some sort of risk; great or small). Try applying the following ideas as you seek to talk with everyone you meet:
  • Talke to people about their families. 
  • Look for clues--such as items in homes or yards, lettering on clothing, or indications of children--to help you know how to begin talking with people.
  • Listen sincerely to what people say to you.
  • Be warm, friendly, and cheerful. Offer to help.
  • Trust the Spirit to put into you heart and mind what to teach. (Trust in your intuition that you will know what to share or discuss)
  • Invite everyone to learn about the restored gospel. (Invite everyone to converse with you)
  • Offer pass-along cards. (Offer your business card or greetings)
  • Ask for the names of people's acquaintances who might be interested in your message.
I think its important to re-cap what has already been illustrated in previous chapters in this piece of literature compiled by Dale Carnegie. That being, human beings thrive on personal gratification, recognition and stimulation. To be effective in "winning over their support; their interest in us, and in turn influencing them to our way of thinking, we must be willing to cater in part to that animal desire to feel important and valued. In the case of this chapter's teachings… talk about what they like, love and hold dear.

Principle 5: Talk in Terms of the Other Person's Interests.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

How to Win Friends and Influence People: Part 2- Six Ways to Make People Like You "Be a Good Listener"

Dale Carnegie recommends an easy way to become a good conversationalist; to listen intently and listen because you are genuinely interested. This kind of listening is one of the highest compliments we can pay anyone.

"Few human beings are proof against the implied flattery of rapt attention." -Jack Woodford in Strangers in Love

"There is no mystery about successful business intercourse… exclusive attention to the person who is speaking to you is very important. Nothing else is so flattering as that." -Charles W. Elliot, former President of Harvard University

When one of America's great novelists, Henry James, recalled Mr. Elliot as a past master of the art of listening, he elaborated: "Dr. Elliot's listening was not mere silence, but a form of activity. Sitting very erect on the end of his spine with hands joined in his lap, making no movement except that he revolved his thumbs around each other faster or slower, he faced his interlocutor and seemed to be hearing with his eyes as well as his ears. He listened with his mind and attentively considered what you had to say while you said it… At the end of an interview the person who had talked to him felt that he had had his say."

This reminds me of a section in Chapter 10 in Preach My Gospel. The chapter is entitled, Teaching Skills and the sub-category I'm referencing, Listen on page 185. In my own study and application of interpersonal communication and what listening entails, I've gleaned the knowledge that there are actually 3 types of listening one must engage in to fully interact with other human beings.

1. Physical Listening- When you listen to others, you understand them better. When they know that their thoughts and feelings are important to you, they are more likely to be receptive to your teachings, share personal experiences, and make commitments. As you listen, you will be able to more effectively adapt your teaching to their needs and interests. This statement rings true not just for a missionary. But who wish to positively influence others and win lasting friendships. Physically showing an interesting others, offers them the opportunity to trust you with information about their life; past experiences, current events, and future dreams and aspirations. Obtaining this knowledge, enables the listener to find ways to meet that person's needs and in some cases, also meet their own needs, whether it be personal or professional.

2. Spiritual Listening- Especially listen for the whisperings of the Spirit. As other share their feelings with you, thoughts or ideas may enter your mind that are directed by the Spirit. You will also be able to understand what others are trying to express. 
While others talk to you, avoid the tendency to think about what you are going to say. Make sure you are really concentrating on the person speaking rather than planning your response.

"More important than speaking is listening. These people are not lifeless objects disguised as a baptismal statistic.  They are children of God, our brothers and sisters, and they need what we have. Be genuine. Reach out sincerely. Ask these friends what matters most to them. What do they cherish, and what do they hold dear? And then listen. If the setting is right, you might ask what their fears are, what they yearn for, or what they feel is missing in their lives. I promise you that something in what they say will always highlights truth of the gospel about which you can bear testimony and about which you can then offer more… If we listen with love, we won't need to wonder what to say. It will be given to us--by the Spirit and by our friends." -Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

The application of these words from Elder Holland is best in correspondence with not just missionary labors and efforts, but in all aspects of effective communication. People we interact with should be viewed as more than just a statistic for our temporal gain, whatever our end goal might be. We MUST listen with love. Love should be our first priority in ever endeavor we seek to pursue.

3. Body Language; Soul Listening- People also communicate but the way they sit, their facial expressions, what they do with their hands, their tone of voice, and the movements of their eyes. Observe these unspoken messages; they can help you understand the feelings of those you teach. Also be aware of your own body language. Send a message of interest and enthusiasm by listening sincerely. Don't be afraid of silence. People often need tim to think about and reply to questions or to express what they are feeling. You might pause after you have asked a question, after sharing a spiritual experience, or when people are having difficulty expressing themselves. Be sure to give people time to complete their thoughts before you respond, and do not interrupt while they are talking. 

I enjoyed the story Mr. Carnegie shared in this chapter about how important effective listening is not just in the workforce, but also in the home:

Millie Esposito of Croton-on-Hudson, New York, made it her business to listen carefully when one of her children wanted to speak with her. One evening she was sitting in the kitchen with her son, Robert, and after a brief discussion of something that was on his mind, Robert said: "Mom, I know that you love me very much." 
Mrs. Esposito was very touched and said: "Of course I love you very much. Did you doubt it?"
Robert responded: "No, but I really know you love me because whenever I want to talk to you about something you stop whatever you are doing and listen to me."

"Those people who think only of themselves are hopelessly uneducated. They are not educated, no matter how instructed they may be." -Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, President of Columbia University

I personally don't think its a difficult concept to understand here. If I want people to not only respect me  and my person, but if I also want to experience success in my personal relationships and my professional career path, I need to apply this principle almost more than any other. LISTENING is an active ingredient in the recipe for success, happiness, friendships, income, etc. Because in fact, listening is an act of high power. It is an act of love, it is an act of… God. It is the ability to listen fully to someone else and their needs, interests, fears, concerns…. that we in turn gain the ability to improve and experience wealth, favor and success.

Principle 4: Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

How to Win Friends and Influence People: Part 2- Six Ways to Make People Like You "Rememebr Their Name"

What's in a name? Is mine of value to me? What do I feel when another person says my name? In like manner of thought, what is someone else's name in value to them? And how do they feel when I say their name?

Those questions being posed, perhaps we can glean impeccable insight into just how important it is to learn and remember the names of those we associate with, even if that association lasts but a minute. For it is in such attention to detail of an individual that one might obtain success, higher social stations and respect in this short life. Could it be that this simple act of calling another by his or her name is a step towards a higher path and power of influence? Dale Carnegie would easily argue that it is. His ample stories of great leaders and historical influences suggests just such tact.

Consider the greatest leader recognized by religions the world over, even the great God, whatever name you give him, and how He knows each of the earth's inhabitants by name. Elder Neal A. Maxwell once stated: "I testify to you that God has known you individually... for a long, long time (see D&C 93:23). He has loved you for a long, long time. He not only knows the names of all the stars (see Psalm 147:4; Isaiah 40:26); He knows your names and all your heartaches and your joys!"

What impact does being called by our individual names actually place on us? Just that- a justification that in a world filled with millions upon millions and that for a moment, we stand out as an individual, not just a number. To be known on a personal level; recognized by a label that has been individualized, not simply categorized by a vast generalization by genus or species. I.E., I am not just ANY Homo sapien, I am one who's ancestral history indicated my physical structure, my mannerisms, my social norms, my religion, and partially determined what I would be called by to differentiate me from the world.

Broken down in like manner, we come to the understated conclusion of the importance of names to an individual and that the importance of remembering and using names is not just the prerogative of kings and corporate executives. It works for all of us. 

Mr. Carnegie emphasizes that we should be aware of the magic contained in a name and realize that this single item is wholly and completely owned by the person with whom we are dealing... and nobody else. The name sets the individual apart; it makes him or her unique among all others. The information we are imparting or the request we are making takes on a special importance when we approach the situation with the name of the individual. From the waitress to the senior executive, the name will work magic as we deal with others. 

Principle 3: "Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language."   

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

How to Win Friends and Influence People: Part 2- Six Ways to Make People Like You "Smile"

We are taught from before the time we begin to understand language, to smile. And we come to learn also, that it is is simple way to make a good first impression. Good thing my parents spent thousands of green to make these pearly whites of mine worth the impression to give! Praise God for orthodontists! The expression one wears one one's face is far more important than the clothes one wears on one's back.

"People who smile tend to manage, teach and sell more effectively, and to raise happier children. There's far more information in a smile than a frown. That's why encouragement is a much more effective teaching device than punishment." -Prof. James V. McConnell, University of Michigan

A smile is an indicative act of pleasure, joy, fun, excitement, and lack of judgement. With that basic observation, its no wonder that people rarely succeed at anything unless they have fun doing it. You must have a good time meeting people if you expect them to have a good time meeting you.

You don't like smiling? Then what? Two things. First, force yourself to smile. If you are alone, force yourself to whistle or hum a tune or sing. Act as if you were already happy, and that will tend to make you happy. 

I really like that... "act as if you were already happy..." It reminds me, as so many things do, of the time I spent in full time missionary service for my church. Particularly, it reminds me of a handful of conversations then and now after over the years of since my return home with my mission president, James Beck. He often asks, "Sister Marstella, are you happy?" If I don't have an answer right away, I start to question my life and its current motives. With this theology of me acting as if I am already happy, I could always answer yes in the future, because acting is in this case, a course to becoming.

"Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not. Thus the sovereign voluntary path to cheerfulness, if our cheerfulness be lost, is to sit up cheerfully and to act and speak as if cheerfulness were already there..." -William James, Psychologist and Philosopher

Its too difficult to paraphrase what has already been written and taught so well by Mr. Carnegie. The truth of his words about how one creates and maintains happiness must be shared:

Everybody in the world is seeking happiness--and there is one sure way to find it. That is by controlling your thoughts. Happiness doesn't depend on outward conditions. It depends on inner conditions. 
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.

"There is nothing either good or bad. But thinking makes it so." -William Shakesphere

"Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." -Abraham Lincoln

"We become like that on which our hearts are fixed... We are gods in chrysalis." -Elbert Hubbard, Essayist and Publisher

SMILE- Spiritually Minded is Life Eternal (2 Nephi 9:39)