And if that was the highest rating that one of the most distinguished men of the twentieth century could hope to obtain, what about you and me?
Carnegie, himself, said if you can be sure of being right only fifty-five percent of the time, you can go down to Wall Street and make a million dollars a day. (And lots more than that in this day and age!) But if you can’t be sure of being right fifty-five percent of the time, why should you tell other people they are wrong?
If you tell people they are wrong, do you make them want to agree with you? Never! For you have struck a direct blow at their intelligence, judgment, pride, and self-respect. That will make them want to strike back— but it will never make them want to change their minds. You may then hurl at them all the logic of a Plato or an Immanuel Kant, but you will not alter their opinions, for you have hurt their feelings.
Never begin by announcing, “I am going to prove so-and-so to you.” That’s bad. That’s tantamount to saying, “I’m smarter than you are. I’m going to tell you a thing or two and make you change your mind.” It is difficult, under even the most benign conditions, to change people’s minds. So why make it harder? Why handicap yourself?
If you are going to prove anything, don’t let anybody know it. Do it so subtly, so adroitly, that no one will feel that you are doing it.
For more information check out Dale Carnegie Training of North Dakota’s schedule of Effective Communications & Human Relations classes. Here’s an example of this important principle in action:
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