You step off the stage at convocation, your degree finally in hand after years of study and hard work, and suddenly you’ve got the whole world before you. From here your life can go in any direction you choose, and it’s up to you to make the most of it.
As you set off into the world searching for success, take these few nuggets of wisdom from Dale Carnegie with you. After all, his advice has consistently been helping people for over a century, so it’s likely to help you, too.
“Try leaving a friendly trail of little sparks of gratitude on your daily trips. You will be surprised how they will set small flames of friendship that will be rose beacons on your next visit.”
On an average day, you interact with dozens of people, and each of those interactions is a chance to expand your network. Be mindful of your words, gestures, and attitude during these engagements, as you never know who might be paying attention, and what opportunities might come from it. At the very least, by making a point of being gracious to those you meet throughout the day, you’re making the world a better place.
“Very important people have told me that they prefer good listeners to good talkers, but the ability to listen seems rarer than almost any other good trait.”
Roughly 35% of the population holds a bachelor’s degree, so chances are high that you will need more than just good marks to stand out in a hiring pool. This is where soft skills come in. While the most-talked about soft skills include organization, leadership, and public speaking, active listening is a highly sought-after skill that, as Dale Carnegie learned, is not as common as one might expect. Build your listening skills and apply them to any job – from business analyst to medical doctor.
“There’s magic, positive magic, in phrases such as ‘I may be wrong. I frequently am. Let’s examine the facts.’”
We all make mistakes from time-to-time; it’s unavoidable. The true test of your character is not in how few mistakes you make, but in how you handle the ones that do occur. While it may be tempting to pass the buck, claim ignorance, or hide under your desk until everything blows over, these actions won’t win you any merit points with superiors, colleagues, clients, or friends.
Instead, learn to embrace mistakes. Take full ownership of them, learning where you went wrong and how you can avoid similar stumbles in the future. Be open about all of this. In doing so, you will not only improve your own skills and knowledge, but you will prove to others that you are trustworthy, coachable, and humble.
“Let’s not waste a second worrying because we are not like other people.”
This one can be tough for people of any age, but for those new to the workforce, it is especially easy to constantly compare yourself to your peers. Perhaps your old friends and schoolmates are moving faster in their lives and careers than you, or maybe the junior partner at your firm has what you perceive as a better sense of style. Comparisons like these are likely to have you feeling inadequate and insecure, potentially undermining your confidence and overall performance. It’s important to not let this happen. Everyone moves at their own pace and has their own abilities and perspectives to offer. Rather than trying to conform to be like someone else, ask yourself what makes you unique – what only you can bring to the table – and embrace that.
“Everybody in the world is seeking happiness – and there is one sure way to find it. That is by controlling your thoughts.”
The ability to talk yourself into a better mood is more important than almost any other skill you can cultivate. A nice car, job, or apartment can bring short-lived satisfaction, but long-term contentment is something you create for yourself by focusing on silver linings and positive affirmations.