Lemon #1. Don't
Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, people don’t criticize themselves for anything, no matter how wrong it may be. Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes them strive to justify themselves. Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts their sense of importance, and arouses resentment.
We are all like that. Criticisms are like homing pigeons. They always return home. Let’s realize that the person we’re going to correct and condemn will probably justify himself or herself, and condemn us in return.
Do you know someone you would like to change and regulate and improve? Good! That’s fine. I’m all in favor of it, but why not begin on yourself? From a purely selfish standpoint, that’s a lot more profitable than trying to improve others. When dealing with people, let us remember we’re not dealing with creatures of logic. We’re dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.
Carlyle said: «A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men.»
Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them. Let’s try to figure out why they do what they do. That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance and kindness.
Dale Carnegie @ How to win friends and influence people.