Tag Archives: self help

Honesty the Best Policy

We all learned in kindergarten that honesty is the best policy, so why is it still so hard to tell the truth? With lies running rampant from our government and through our friend circles, no wonder it is easy to get so confused. Most of us are living an extremely fast paced lifestyle and sometimes it’s just easier and faster seeming to lie.

“I would love to help with that, if only I had the time!” (It’s not that I don’t have the time, it’s that I have zero interest). Or, “Oh ya, I do remember that totally ridiculous moment you are referring to” (No you don’t because it actually happened when you were with someone else). “Ya I showered today” (Actually I only shower like twice a week, and yes, that is true for me some weeks). “Oh ya, your new haircut looks great!” (What have you done to your hair?!)

Why bother lying about things? Typically, we lie because they want to be nice. Lying though, isn’t nice. It gives false information about a situation and leaves people making decisions based on false facts. If we can start to create social circles and societies where we are honest, we can make huge positive and progressive change! There is no use for a secret agendas or sneakiness if we are all just upfront about what is actually going on. With any major change though, we must begin with ourselves. So how do we start being more honest?

Where to start

Letting go of the ego

Letting go of the ego is not something that happens overnight. This is a long process of working on ones self, or in-fact, letting go of ones self. However, it is a well worth while process that transforms one into a truth seeker.

Once one learns to let go of the ego, instead of looking for things for one’s own planned personal gain, one tunes into a guidance that is larger and more trustworthy than the self. The most important thing to do to continue receiving guidance from the this source is to be honest with ones self and others so the source can guide things appropriately. It’s a process of giving up your control to something that is bigger than you. It won’t necessarily makes sense until you feel it for yourself, but you probably have felt it. It’s built into your intuition.

Use tactful truth delivery

There can be a difference between being honest and being blunt. It takes thought and practice to first find the truth, and second to paint the truth with pretty colours before delivering it.

So when a friend asks you to do something and you have no interest in doing it, you can say no, but also provide encouragement or possibly suggest someone else you know who might be really excited for such an offer.

Being honest does not need to be mean, if your honesty is coming from your heart it can still be delivered and received gracefully most times.

Recognize the little lies

White lies are the hardest ones to quit. My friends and family  members consider me to be a very honest person, and I am. I still do find myself, with certain friends and family members, wanting to veer away from the complete truth. Unfortunately, telling half truths don’t really make the cut. A half truth is a half lie.

For me, it is harder to tell the complete truth to people who I think will have a difficult time hearing it and to people that I think may respond to my truthfulness with something that is hurtful to me or that brings up feelings of guilt within me.

These people are great to have around because they help me to practice the skill of tactful delivery. Also, it is often these people who need honesty role models in their lives the most. Often too, these people will surprise me with their ability to gracefully receive the truth and I realize I have greatly underestimated them.

Some challenges

Part of my challenge being completely honest with certain people I think must be a lingering ego and fear of hurting someone. I, like many others, like to make people happy and I like to be kind.

I also am an only child who loves to spend a lot of time alone in my fantasy land. It is difficult when my friends want to spend time with me but I feel I need alone time. I have to tactfully tell them that I would rather spend my time in my cabin alone doing absolutely nothing productive.

Slowly though, I’m learning to do it. And because am honest with them about my needs, they are able to respect what I need. They are able to know me on a deeper level and in return they get a shiny awesome and happy me because after I have had my alone time to recharge I come out with bells on… sometimes quite literally.

The Benefits of being honest

Truth giver = Truth receiver
When people know we are honest , they feel comfortable coming to us with the truth, whether it is pretty or not. When you are able to hear people’s truthful opinions you are more open to people giving you useful and constructive feedback. When you live a life based on truth you can make decisions with valid information and therefore can live a life that is more clearly aligned with what you want.

When you are honest, you are able to share your true self with the world. You are friends with people who are able to accept your true self and you’re not friends with people who you can’t be honest with. This leads to more intimate and meaningful relationships and an increased sense of self and self-esteem.

Being honest all the time is also a good way to keep your actions in line because you are committed to telling people the truth about what you have done. If you are doing something that makes you feel shameful, you know you need to own up to it. And by owning up to doing things that cause you shame or guilt, you open yourself up to the beginning stages of changing the behaviour.

Honesty is the best policy. Honesty will lead you to happier life, because by living a life of truth you have nothing to fear.



“Honest hearts produce honest actions”

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom”

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind” Dr.Seuss

“Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.” Mother Teresa


Please comment with your experiences and opinions!… You can be honest 😉





How to Win Friends and Influence People

I just finished reading this book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. I had to summarize it and share with you the main principles in the book because they are tips that can help every person in all interactions they with people. How we interact with our world affects our moods greatly. If you are able to get your point across clearly, connect, build relationships and be taken seriously, I guarantee you will be in a better mood. Carnegie does an amazing job in this book of clearly outlining the principles and providing many examples for each of them. I summarized and used some of my own examples, along with my favorite examples of his. By summarizing the book, I am hoping to help you apply some of these principles without needing to buy or read the book in its entirety. You’re busy. Let me to do the reading and the writing; it will be up to you to apply the concepts. You’ll be happier for it if you do. Please don’t hesitate to comment on your opinions or experience. I look forward to hearing from you.  Happy reading.



Principle 1 – Don’t criticize, condemn or complain

This principle is about trying to understand another persons point of view, instead of trying to change it. Carnegie quotes Benjamin Franklin who said “I will speak ill of no man, and speak all the good I know of everybody.” Carnegie adds to this point by writing “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving”.

Principle 2 – Give honest and sincere appreciation

I like this principle because I hate giving fake flattery to people just so they think I’m nice and I can sense the minute someone is doing it to me. Flattery is counter productive if there is no soul behind it. Carnegie explains the difference between appreciation and flattery is “One is sincere and the other insincere. One comes from the heart out; the other from the teeth out. One is unselfish; the other selfish. One is universally admired; the other universally condemned.”

It is easy to flatter someone but to truly show appreciation for someone requires more attention, which is what many of us fail to give. When you truly listen to someone, think of them and observe them, then you can offer true, sincere appreciation and they will feel your sincerity because it was thoughtful and based on specific observations.

Carnegie puts it nicely in quotes “be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise”.

Principle 3 – Arouse in the other person an eager want

In explaining this principle, Carnegie gives examples of letters written by a person looking for a job.

One person writes asking for a job position, expressing his desires, and requesting a timely response. This letter leaves the person receiving it feeling drained and frustrated that a stranger is asking for him to take time out of his already busy day and requesting him to reply to in a timely manner.

The next letter, in contrast, the person explained to the receiver what skills he could offer the company. He focused on what employer wanted and explained specifically how that he could help achieve those goals.

Next, Carnegie outlines


Principle 1 – Become genuinely interested in other people

Carnegie gives many short stories to explain this principle. The one that spoke to me most, of course, involved a young student nurse.

Martin Ginsburg, a renowned taxation expert in the US, told Carnegie this story while attending one of his courses in Long Island, New York. When Ginsburg was a ten-year old boy, he was stuck in the hospital for surgery over Thanks Giving. None of his family was able to come to visit and he “became overwhelmed with the feeling of loneliness, despair, and fear.”He cried underneath his blanket to himself.

A student nurse noticed him crying and offered him comfort. She explained she was lonely too, having to work Thanks Giving. She found an extra tray of turkey dinner and ate with him.  She tried to calm his fears and she stayed with him seven hours after her shift had ended.

Ginsburg reports that her warmth and tenderness somehow made his pain at the time bearable. Not a Thanks Giving goes by that he isn’t reminded of this young nursing student and the kindness she offered him.

And as a side note, in this principle he encourages you to REMEMBER BIRTHDAYS :) Phone and sing the full song if you don’t send a card. If you are really on the ball, do both.

Principle 2 – Smile

This, of course, is one of my favorite principles and one that I’ve mentioned in previous posts. Smiling is something that is mandatory if you want to be happy! Smile even if you aren’t happy- it will help you to feel more happy! It’s not a new concept, as this book was originally written in 1936!

Carnegie talks not only the effect of a smile when seeing strangers in public, but also over the phone because people can feel your smile through your words. One of my favorite quotes of the chapter is “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’s what you think about.” Another favorite quote from this chapter is “Your smile is your messenger of your good will” and of course the wise Shakespeare makes an appearance in this chapter as Carnegie quotes his words “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” 

Principle 3 – Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language

As you may have guessed. This principle is all about the importance of remembering names. There is no shortage of success stories that come from learning how to do this one simple task well. So throw out your excesses and start trying harder to remember names. If you need to hear it twice, ask someone to repeat it. If it’s a name you have never heard before, ask how to spell it. If you get the chance, write it down so you can look at it, remember it and throw the paper away.

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

This is how to become a good conversationalist. People generally love talking about themselves and rarely can one find someone who is willing to truly listen. Ask questions and pay attention to the answers so you can ask more questions on the topic. Find something about the topic that is genuinely interesting to you. Every conversation is a learning opportunity and people are more than happy to tell you everything they know if you can lend an open ear and keen attitude. Whatever you do, never interrupt.

Carnegie sums this concept up beautifully in the second to last paragraph in this chapter when he writes “So if you aspire to be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener. To be interesting, be interested. Ask questions that other persons will enjoy answering. Encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments.”

Principle 5 – Talk in terms of the other person’s interests

Another simple concept – doing your homework. Carnegie suggests, If you are planning to go to someones place for dinner, or having a guest,or going for an interview, do your homework beforehand.

Know a little bit about a few topics your guests are interested in. It’s easy nowadays, all you need to do is a quick google search or scan of his or her Facebook page.

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

This is one of the main principles of the book that Carnegie repeats as a main theme throughout the book. He highlights the work of American philosopher and psychologist, John Dewey who has said “that the desire to be important is the deepest urge in human nature.” and fellow psychologist/philosopher William James, agrees that “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”

Also, a quote Carnegie carries throughout the book, one which struck me right away and I was happy to see repeated,  are the eloquent words business man, Charles Schwab who says we want our friends and associates to be “hearty in their approbation and lavish in their praise.”

Moving on to the next section,


Principle 1 – The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it

The bring home point of this section is that you can’t win an argument because if you lose it you lose it and if win it, you lose it. Why? Because you have made someone feel inferior. Carnegie adds a little rhyme to remember

“A man convinced against his will, Is of the same opinion still.”

Highlighted again, is that people want to feel important. As long as your argue with someone she will find her importance by asserting her authority. But when the argument is halted, the ego can expand and she will be able to become again a “sympathetic and kind human being.”

Know that your opinions may need changing and always be open to hear another point of view and reflect on your own.

Principle 2 – Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.”

More great quotes from major people in history appear in this chapter. Including the following:

“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

When entering a place where opinions may differ Carnegie encourages to start with the phrase “I may be wrong. I frequently am. Let’s examine the facts.” He writes in this chapter that you will never get into trouble by admitting that you may be wrong.

Listen to what people are trying to say, rather than getting stuck on the words they use. Try to understand where someone else is coming from.

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

If you have made a mistake or broken a rule and find yourself getting in trouble for it, agree with the opposition you are met with.

An example Carnegie uses in this chapter is similar to getting caught with your dog off the leash when it is not allowed. The first time the person lets you go and tells you next time you will get a fine.  You follow the rule a couple times, but a couple weeks later you let your dog off the leash again. Sure enough, you get busted by the same fellow who let you off the first time.

Instead of engaging in an argument about why you should be allowed to have your dog off the leash, apologize and say every reason your dog should be on the leash before he has the chance.

By doing this, he as no reason to argue with you and instead, he may  feel understood and important.  Not only that, it’s nicer for you to condemn yourself than to hear it from someone else.

Own up to your mistakes as fast as you can.

Carnegie sums this chapter up nicely with this great quote “By fighting you never get enough, but by yielding you get more than you expected.”

Principle 4 – Begin in a friendly way


It’s important to be friendly in your approach with people. Highlighted in this chapter is the truth that you cannot change anyones mind by using force. You can however, lead someone in your direction if you are gentle and friendly, “ever so gentle and friendly”. Carnegie has several examples throughout the chapter, including short fable about the sun and the wind. T

The sun and the wind argued about who was stronger. Wind decided he would prove he was stronger by blowing of a mans coat. So wind blew as hard as he could almost to the point of a tornado, but the harder he blew, the tighter the man held onto his coat. He was unable to get the coat off. Next, it was sun’s turn. Sun came out from behind the could, and smiled kindly at the man. The man soon warmed up and pulled off his coat.

Carnegie also quotes Lincoln several times in this chapter, stating

“A drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.”

Principle 5 – Get the other person saying g”yes, yes” immediately

When talking to someone, begin talking about the things that you agree upon. Emphasize your commonalities. Get the person saying “yes” and try to avoid getting the person to say “no”. Carnegie explains that our responses create inertia and each time we answer with yes or no, we are like a bowling ball picking up speed in that direction. The same thing happens if you start saying no, resistance is built up in the body and there is more likely more no’s ahead.

Socrates used this method, he would desk questions with his opponent would have to agree and he kept doing so until they said yes a handful of times. After that, he would ask a question that brought his opponent to conclude something they would have disagreed with initially. Kind of a cool trick and I can understand how it could work too.

A highlighted quote that sums up this chapter is the Chinese proverb,  “He who treads softly goes far”

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

People like to talk about their experiences and themselves. By asking questions about someones experiences and point of view and actively listening to her responses you can get an understanding of why she sees the world the way she does. Also by listening actively to someone as they speak you will be able to ask the right questions. A key piece to this is never to interrupt, no matter the temptation. A person will not be able to listen to you if you interrupt because they are trying to remember what they were going to say when you interrupted them. By asking questions and allowing others to do more of the talking you make them feel important. Allow your friends to excel you. Don’t brag about your own accomplishments or make yourself seem superior. What’s important is that the other person feels good during and leaving the interaction. And when that happens, you can feel good too!

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

When someone becomes a part of a process, they become invested in it. If someone regularly doesn’t like your work, perhaps ask them to add to it what they would like to see. If someone participates in the process they are more likely to enjoy the finished product. Ask for specific feedback and make the product fit that persons needs or desires.

Carnegie uses an example of an artist who was trying to sell his sketches. He had a client who would look over his work weekly for three years but never bought anything. One day the artist brought some unfinished sketches to the man and asked him how he could finish them in such a way that the man could use them. The customer gave his advice and when the sketches were completed with his suggestions incorporated, he bought them.

It’s important to ask for feedback and input and involve people in the process when possible.

Principle 8 – Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view

From a spiritual perspective, in which I see the world, we are all part of the same organism, and that’s what this principle is about. Carnegie quotes Dr. Gerald S. Nirenberg in his books “Getting Through to People” when he writes “cooperativeness in conversation is achieved when you show that you consider the other persons 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.”

Another valuable point is made in this chapter. Sometimes, in key moments one can be “so eager to do the right thing, that he does the wrong thing”. When something fires you up with anger and rage, it means you have passion and strong views around it. When feeling these emotions it is integral that we keep our cool and apply these principles. If you lose your cool, you lose any argument immediately.

Emphasized also is the following paragraph “I would rather walk the sidewalk in front of a person’s office for two hours before an interview than step into that office without a perfectly clear e of what I was going to say and what that person-from my knowledge of his or her interests and motives was likely to answer”. Carnegie asks that if you get one thing from reading the book that you get an “increased tendency to think always in terms of the other person’s point of view”.

Principle 9 – Be sympathetic with the other person ideas and desires

Some examples in this chapter are about dealing with conflict. If someone presents you with being upset about something you have done, apologize immediately with sincerity, politeness and kindness. Admit that what you did was wrong and agree with their points, and if possible, even add some of your own.

An example given in this chapter is a student learning piano and her teacher. Student has long, well manicured fingernails that the teacher knows will impede on her ability to play the piano to her greatest potential. Instead of telling the student directly to trim her nails, the teacher instead complimented the student on how nice her nails looked and suggested that if she wanted her piano playing to improve faster, trimming her fingernails would help.” Of course, the student showed up for her next lesson with trimmed nails. Not because she was told to do it, but because she wanted to improve her piano playing.

Principle 10 – Appeal to the nobler motives

Carnegie writes that people usually have to reasons for doing a thing – a real reason and one that sounds good. He advises that in relations with people, to appeal to the nobler motives. Assume that people are sincere, honest, truthful.

An example used in this chapter is a celebrity who doesn’t want a certain picture in the press writes a request, not stating “Please don’t use that photo, I don’t like it,” but rather “Please don’t use that photo, my mother doesn’t like it”. Doing this, appealed to the nobler motive that people have – the respect and love for motherhood.

Principle 11 – Dramatize your ideas

It’s interesting, this book written in 1936, Carnegie writes “This is the day of dramatization.”… I guess that’s  been a truth throughout the times, and certainly continues to be true today. So, instead of doing the same thing everyone else is doing, use actions or lives examples for greater effect. Instead of writing a report and coming in with graphs and statistics, come in with a visual to show what it is you are expressing.

For example, say you want to have more garbage cans on the street because of large amounts of litter. Instead of telling people how much litter there is on the street per block, collect the garbage and bring the bag that you collected on that block. This dramatizes the idea and this, Carnegie states, is what will make all of the difference in how effectively you influence people.

Principle 12 – Throw down a challenge

If you are looking to stimulate people to work a little harder, Carnegie suggests, if nothing else works, throw down a challenge. Doing this stimulates competition in people and increases their interest. People generally have a desire to excel and some friendly competition can be what is necessary to put the into action. When faced with a challenge many people to wish to face the challenge and it encourages them to try their best.


Principle 1 – Begin with praise and appreciation

You’ll never convince anyone to change a behaviour by berating them for it. So, if you are looking to suggest someone do something differently, first let them know that you appreciate them and what they do. Carnegie has some fun analogies for this in the chapter. He notes that “a barber lathers a man before he shaves him.” He sums the chapter up nicely with a simile “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 2 – Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly

I like the example Carnegie uses in this chapter – A few employees are smoking inside an area at work where they aren’t supposed to be smoking. The boss sees them and approaches them with a couple cigars. He gives the men the cigars and says “I’ll appreciate it, boys if you will smoke these on the outside” He looks up at the no smoking sign and walks away. The men got the hint. They appreciated the man for being kind and generous; therefore, they were happy to follow his direction and smoke on the outside next time they needed a break.

Another main point in this chapter is the use and “and” verses “but”. An example – Your son comes home with a report card. He got all A’s and B’s except for a C in math. You can say “Good job! I’m proud of you, you must have worked hard, but it looks like you need to work harder on your math.” Or you can say “Good job! I’m proud of you, you must have worked hard! And I bet if you keep working hard you can get that math mark up to meet the rest of them!” Which is more encouraging? Which would you like to hear?

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

We all make mistakes and we are all hard on ourselves when we do it. This points out that before criticizing others we need to look at ourselves and know that we are no closer to being perfect than anyone. If you do have a suggestion to offer someone that would help them improve, start by saying “I did the same thing as you but I found it works better if you do…” Or you could say, “I know, this part is tricky… ” acknowledge that whatever the person is struggling with is challenging and acknowledge your own struggles before commenting on anyone else’s.

Principle 4 – Ask questions instead of giving direct orders

Instead of telling someone to do something  a certain way, be like Socrates and ask suggestive questions that can lead them to make the decision themselves. Carnegie states “Asking questions not only makes an order more palatable; it often stimulates the creativity of the persons whom you ask. People are more likely to accept an order if they have and a part in the decision that caused the order to be issued.

Principle 5 – Let the other person save face

If someone does something that lets you down, allow them the opportunity to save face and try again. Carnegie gives a few examples, the following being one of them. A woman is hired to do a survey and presentation for a business meeting. It is her first presentation for the company and she made a mistake in her planning. Her mistake meant that she didn’t have the information she needed to do the presentation and she didn’t have time to warn her boss ahead of time. When it came time to present, she admitted that she made a mistake and did not have the information she needed to present. Instead of getting upset with her, her boss thanked her for her honesty. She told her that it was not unusual for an error to be made on a new project, and that she had confidence that her repeat survey would be accurate and meaningful. The new employee left feeling excited to have a second chance to prove herself and motivated to do so.

Principle 6 – Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”

Give praise often. Give sincere, and specific praise. Carnegie emphasizes that each of us have many powers that we “habitually fail to use”. He recognizes that one of these probably include the “magic ability to praise people and inspire them with a realization of their latent possibilities”. And to sum it up he ends the chapter noting that just as “our abilities wither under criticism; they blossom under encouragement.”

Principle 7 – Give the person a fine reputation to live up to

If someone thinks highly of you, you want to prove them right to think such good things of you. That is why it’s important to trust people will do their best and hold people in a positive regard.

Carnegie quotes Shakespeare who said “Assume a virtue, if you have it not.” He goes on to say “And it might be well to assume and state openly that other people have the virtue you want  them to develop.”

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

Naturally, people have strengths and challenges. The challenges can seem like major burdens at times, however with encouragement they can be small hurdles that, when jumped, allow one to excel beyond expectations. If someone has a challenge, use kind encouragement to make that challenge seem like a small bump in the road that must be past to continue forward. You might say something like “Come on, it won’t be so hard I know you can do it.”

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

Carnegie gives a fun and playful example in this final chapter. A woman working at a grocery store had a habit of failing to label products with their proper price. This was beginning to cause confusion and customer complaints. So what did the manager do? He called her into his office to speak with her. He needed her help. He appointed her “Supervisor of Price Tag Posting” for the store. Now that she had that title and felt important, she paid attention to the very thing she was initially blind to notice. And the best part, she was happy to do it.


And that’s it! Now pick a principle and start using it today! Please feel free to share your experience or your thoughts by commenting!

Here is a link to purchase the book from amazon:



Choose Happy

Can we choose to be happy? 

If we aren’t making choices based on our happiness, what are we basing our choices on and why?

Happiness can be a choice; however, depression isn’t. Depression is a disease. This is a nondebatable fact. Depression is real, just like diabeties is real.

I will talk more about depression in future posts. The depression end of our mood spectrum is not the one I wish to focus on. I want to focus on happiness because that’s what we all want more of!

In this post about choosing to be happy I make exception for people who are experiencing a major depression. If you are clinically depressed, simply choosing to be happy is probably not the primary option for you.

However, doing your best to choose happiness, along with getting treatment is a great choice! When we have problems, often times the more angles we tackle them from, the better the outcome.

Brain chemistry, gentetics, a history of trama or abuse, a high stress lifestyle, low self esteem, high anxiety, and perfectionism are only a few  things that can make “choosing happy” more of a challenge.

In the same breath, the last thing anyone needs to feel if they are depressed is that it is their fault for not choosing happiness.

Depression is not your fault.

If you do not have clinical depression and you want to be happier, you probably can follow some suggestions on this site and in this post to improve your overall general mood. :)

In  the following article, Deepak Chopra writes about how we can and why we should choose the happier life.