2. Make promises sparingly, and keep them faithfully, no matter what it costs.
3. Never let an opportunity pass to say a kind and encouraging word to or about somebody. Praise good work, regardless of who did it. If criticism is needed, criticize helpfully, never spitefully.
4. Be interested in others,their pursuits, their work, their homes and families. Make merry with those who rejoice; with those who weep, mourn. Let everyone you meet, however humble, feel that you regard him as a person of importance.
5. Be cheerful. Don't burden or depress those around you by dwelling on your minor aches and pains and small disappointments. Remember, everyone is carrying some kind of a load.
6. Keep an open mind. Discuss but don't argue. It is a mark of a superior mind to be able to disagree without being disagreeable.
7. Let your virtues, if you have any, speak for themselves. Refuse to talk of another's vices. Discourage gossip. It is a waste of valuable time and can be extremely destructive.
8. Be careful of another's feelings. Wit and humor at the other person's expense are rarely worth it and may hurt when least expected.
9. Pay no attention to ill-natured remarks about you. Remember, the person who carried the message may not be the most accurate reporter in the world. Simply live so that nobody will believe them. Disordered nerves and bad digestion are a common cause of backbiting.
10. Don't be too anxious about the credit due you. Do your best, and be patient. Forget about yourself, and let others "remember." Success is much sweeter that way.
There are no victories at bargain prices.
THE PRONOUN TEST
For six months now, I've been visiting the workplaces of America, administering a simple test. I call it the "pronoun test." I ask frontline workers a few general questions about the company. If the answers I get back describe the company in terms like "they" and "them," then I know it's one kind of company. If the answers are put in terms like "we" or "us," I know it's a different kind of company.
WHAT THE SINKING OF THE TITANIC CAN TEACH YOU
When it comes to my blood-pumping heart, I know I'm a high-risk patient. My dad died of a heart attack in his fifties. One brother died of heart failure at 51. My oldest brother had a massive heart attack at 51 and has since had another. Now that I'm 55, my own medical exams have prompted the doctor to shake his head with concern.
For years, although I knew our family history, I chose to believe that I didn't need to pay much attention to the doctor's preventive (I called it drastic) advice, though at [my wife] Norma's insistence I did occasionally get myself to the Cooper Clinic in Dallas, which specializes in heart-related matters.
Recently I was in Texas for another exam. After all the tests had been completed, I sat in the doctor's office, listening and laughing, trying to make light of some of the results. Then I noticed that the doctor had a painting of a ship hanging on the wall. In a joking way, I pointed to it and said, "That's the Titanic, isn't it?"
The doctor didn't miss a beat. Playing along with my jovial mood, he nodded and said, "It's interesting that you'd bring that up. Do you know why I have it there?"
"No," I responded.
"Do you know much about the Titanic, Mr. Smalley?"
"No, I don't," I admitted, walking into his trap. "I know it's at the bottom of the ocean; that's about it."
"Well," he explained, "the experienced captain of the Titanic was warned six separate times to slow down, change course, and take the southern route because icebergs had been sighted. But he ignored all six specific warnings because he was the captain, and he thought, This ship is unsinkable . . . "
"I had no idea the ship received that many warnings," I said, still not seeing where he was leading me.
". . . then rip--the ship hit the iceberg. It went down quickly and disastrously," he said. Then he leaned across his desk and looked me straight in the eye. "And how many times have you been warned about your heart?" he demanded.
"Lots of times," I replied weakly as his point struck home.
"And when will you take it seriously and change course?" he asked.
As a result of that conversation, I've made some basic lifestyle changes that have great potential for improving my health and prolonging my life. Almost anyone can make small adjustments if he or she believes it will make a lasting positive difference.
If you change course when warned, you can avoid disaster and then celebrate the voyage. It's the strongest principle anyone can learn from the Titanic.
YOU MAY HAVE A DISABILITY, BUT YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE DISABLED
Born with a rare degenerative eye disease, Erik Weihenmayer became completely blind at age 13. He was told he would never be able to do the things other people did. He had a disability. Yet, Weihenmayer refused to accept a life with such limitations. After fighting his blindness for years, Erik learned to embrace his adversity, making it part of him.
First, he joined his high school wrestling team, became co captain, and state champion runner-up in his class. Next Weihenmayer took on the challenge of rock climbing a difficult hobby for those with perfect eyesight. "Blindness won't keep me from having fun," Weihenmayer insisted. He took his adversity his blindness and turned it into his strength, using his heightened senses to take on challenges few will conquer.
In 1995, he scaled 20,230-foot Mt. McKinley, North America's highest peak. In 1996, he became the first blind person to ever scale the 3,000-foot granite monolith El Capitan in Yosemite. Says Weihenmayer, a teacher at the private Phoenix Country Day School, "Blindness is just a nuisance." As for climbing, he says, "You just have to find a different way of doing it."
The most damaging phrase in the language is: It's always been done that way.
HOW TO FIGURE THE COST OF LIVING:
Take your income and add 10 percent.
If you don't say anything, you won't be called upon to repeat it.