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The library of essays of Proakatemia

How to win friends and influence people essay series part 3. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view

Kirjoittanut: Aarni Glader - tiimistä Ropina.

Esseen tyyppi: Yksilöessee / 2 esseepistettä.

How to Win Friends and Influence People
Dale Carniege
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 4 minuuttia.

For the longest time I felt like I couldn’t understand other people. Not understanding others has been the greatest source of pain in my life. Why did people say and do certain things? Often it didn’t make sense to me, and it annoyed me a lot or made me anxious. Before reading this book, I had heard of but had never really understood the concept of trying to step into someone else’s shoes. Reading this book made me finally see a way of understanding others and unlocked an answer to a lot of “why questions” that not knowing the answer to would cause me a lot of pain. The way of understanding others being, sincerely trying to see things from the other person’s point of view. 


According to Carnegie there is a reason for all of the things a person does and when you find out that reason you can understand them. When we understand why a person does what they do, we understand them and in other words we step into their shoes and then see things from their point of view. That in turn mitigates any kind of bad feelings in us that derive from not understanding other people. (Carnegie, 2022, 05:47:46.) 


Carnegie proposes that we follow the advice of the author Kenneth M. Goode that goes as follows. Goode suggests that we stop to think for a minute and think about our own interests to our affairs and worries and then to contrast that to our concern for anything else and to realize that every person in the world is the same. This means that each and every one of us is concerned about our own matters and we don’t spend time thinking about others. This isn’t in a selfish way but in a way that is natural: it is only natural for us to think about our own affairs daily. And when we learn this, we have realized the only lasting foundation for interpersonal relationships which is that true success in dealing with people is a sympathetic grasp of the other person’s point of view. (Carnegie, 2022, 05:48:43.) 


While I think that it’s very true that everyone only thinks about themselves daily if we don’t take into account the obvious exceptions of parents thinking of their children and so on – I know that it’s also true that we can learn to take others into account. We can learn to think about ourselves less and be more considerate towards others. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we need to think less of ourselves as in being overtly humble but to hold our focus around being considerate towards the other person who we’re talking to at the moment in order to give our best to them. Ironically, I think that you can only be the best version of yourself for the other person when you start thinking about yourself less of the time and solely focus on the other person and compassionately try to understand them. At least for me this has worked wonders as I wrote previously about reducing the amount I talked when I was younger and adding the amount of listening. 


Carnegie refers to Gerald S. Nirenberg’s book where Nirenberg writes that you can achieve cooperation in a conversation when you show that you consider the other person’s ideas and feelings just as important as your own. Starting a conversation by giving the other person a direction and a purpose in the conversation by deciding what you are going to say based on what you would want to hear if you were the listener and by accepting the other person’s viewpoint will encourage your listener to have an open mind to your ideas. (Carnegie, 2022, 05:48:43.) 


Again, the pattern repeats itself. It’s all about taking the other person into account. This is how you are the best possible conversational partner for the other person, and I think it teaches us more than just that. It teaches us to let go of our own ego which sometimes wants to get the better of the other person in a conversation because the ego doesn’t want to “lose” the conversation by losing an argument or having otherwise a weaker logic. Unfortunately, often people get so hung up on being right and trying to prove the other person wrong that they completely forget about the other person’s feelings and the actual fact that they might be wrong themselves. I think that it’s a sign of an advanced mind when a person can entertain the fact that they could be wrong and entertain the idea of the other person they don’t agree with. It’s a sign of an advanced mind when you know for sure that you are right according to undeniable facts and the other person is wrong but you still take the other person’s feelings into account and respect that they have their own viewpoint just like you have yours. My own way of handling such situations is not even trying to prove the other person is wrong because I’ve found that if you win the argument, you lose because the other person’s pride and feelings are hurt and if you lose the argument, you just lose. But especially in Proakatemia where we have to work tightly together for a long period of time and we don’t want our relationships being broken and we find ourselves in a situation where it is absolutely necessary to prove the other person wrong and that you’re right for some reason then the best method of going about it would be to clearly show the other person that you consider their feelings and ideas just as important as your own and show your intent is good and you have in your mind what’s best for them and the greater good and that is why it is necessary for you to prove what is right. 


Carnegie thought that this next message was so important that he felt it necessary to repeat it twice. He once heard a man say he would rather walk the sidewalk outside a person’s office for two hours before an interview than just step right into the office without a perfectly clear plan of what he was going to say and what the other person according to his knowlegde would likely answer due to their interests and motives. Carnegie thought the lesson was so important that if the reader of this book were to gain an increased affinity in trying honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view, it could prove to be a steppingstone on their career.  




Carnegie, D. 2022. How To Win Friends And Influence People. Simon and Schuster Audio. 

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