Dale Carnegie’s 1930s book How to Win Friends and Influence People has still a lot to taught us, and indeed, there have been writers who have expanded upon the lessons contained here.
But I’m rereading Carnegie’s book now, starting with the first chapter, where he advises us not to criticize, because criticism leads to people getting defensive and resentful. So far, nothing mind-blowing. But Carnegie also explains why people’s reactions are negative, and that’s because people, no matter how much they may be at fault, always rationalize that they are good people and have done nothing wrong, or that they did the best they could do in the given circumstances.
Something to ponder. Also, as a general rule, it’s best to advise people on what to do from a point on rather than what not to do. Instead of criticizing a relative for doing things a certain way, try to show them how they could do things differently. But of course this is tricky too, because many people are very set in their ways. Still, in certain circumstances people are open to hear certain things and willing to change.
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Take me, for instance. I tend to think I eat rather healthy, but a friend of mine who is also very interested in nutrition sent me an infographic the other day about protein sometimes leading to toxic levels of ammonia in the body when the liver is impaired or the person has certain other conditions. So instead of ammonia getting turned into urea that is removed in urine, this waste product may affect the brain, causing all sorts of damage, from sleepiness and mood swings to coma and death.
I knew that too much protein is no good, and when my friend shared some general nutrition rules in conversation I acted defensive, saying that I knew about them. But then she sent this infographic and I got to thinking more about this cycle of protein -> amino acids -> ammonia -> urea and how it can be disrupted if the liver is not functioning well, and, incidentally, I also realized that I have been consuming perhaps too much soy milk recently.
So all this because my friend knew how to inspire me to look further into the damages that can be wrought by protein in certain instances. For more about this, see this article about ammonia levels.
So yeah, don’t criticize but find inspiring ways to share information and give advice.
To a happier, healthier life,
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