Skip to main content

Try to Understand People

I recently finished reading Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends & Influence People, a book originally published in 1936 and filled with much wisdom that remains true today. While a lot of the supporting anecdotes are from the past, the overarching idea remains the same. I could sum this entire book up with a lesson from R.J. Palacio's Wonder: "If you have to choose between being right or being kind, choose kind."

In my interactions with kids, with adults, or even with my wife, I'm taking this book to heart. Language matters, and the reminders in this book of how we communicate and send messages to others are important. The book doesn't call for large, substantive shifts in our habits. This can all be accomplished by slowing down and appreciating the interaction between humans.

For me, I'm thinking of three specific "moves" that I can start to make today:

  1. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves. 
  2. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it. 
  3. Let the other person save face.
This will definitely be a book that I'll return to, even if it just to skim the notes that I made along the way. The things I need to work on now might not be the same a month from now or five years from now. Regardless, interacting with others is an essential part of teaching, and I know that I can always get better. 

Comments

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Handwritten Cue Cards in the 21st Century

I just stumbled upon this behind-the-scenes clip of Saturday Night Live's cue card process. This is intense writing. This is writing that is dependent upon trust and checks and balances. Over a short period of time, skits are written, drafted on cards, revised, and the cards revised over and over again. I also really love that SNL continues to use cue cards and not a teleprompter. Like Wally points out, technology can fail. Handwritten cue cards ensure the show goes on. Comedy is hard work. Writing is hard work. Changes are made up until the last minute to get things just right. This is a form of real-world writing.

What's your "gap plan"?

Brene Brown introduces the "family gap plan" in the fourth episode of her podcast, Unlocking Us . This came about when she and her husband would argue when she would return home from traveling. It seemed like the minute she walked in, her husband would expect her to be ready for him to "tap out," where she could take over where he had been supporting the family. While she was away from home, this didn't mean that she was full of energy and at 100% the minute she walked in the door. She had been working too and was exhausted. So, over time they began to name where they were at as people and as a family: I'm at 10%. I'm at 30%. They knew they needed a plan for when collectively she and her husband were not at 100%, but they needed to be for their family. Beyond our personal lives, the idea of a "gap plan" got me thinking about our classrooms and schools. What happens when we are not at 100% or we know that our classrooms or students are not

Like in comedy, timing is everything

I regularly listen to the School Leadership Series and today's episode, " Slump or Spark? ", made me think about initiatives, goals, and how we often get stuck in the middle. Danny encourages us to think about the middle, the "often overlooked time." He encourages us to think about midpoints, the lull, and how we can transform them into sparks instead of slumps. He encourages us to be aware of them, use them to "wake up," and to imagine that we are behind rather than ahead in order to motivate us out of "coast" mode. He also mentions Dan Pink's When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing  in the episode. In this book, Pink gives advice for the varied levels of commitment during the middle: "... when team commitment to achieving a goal is high, it's best to emphasize the work that remains. But when team commitment is low, it's wiser to emphasize the progress that has already been made even if it is not massive" (p.