10 Steps to Success & Happiness

1)  One’s dealings with other people should never be guided by cold reason alone, but one should always consider their frame of mind, that is, their character traits.

2)  Everyone thinks he excels at something more than you, and probably he/she is right. Agree with him, and he/she will love you.  (Remember what is said in the Ramban’s letter: “If you are wiser than he, remember that he is more righteous than you, for he sins by mistake while you sin knowingly…”)

3)  Everyone is more interested in his own needs than in you; therefore, draw his attention to the point where your interests and his coincide.

4)  Don’t try only to get a person to do something, but try to get him to want to do it, and to be happy doing it.

5)  Guard against getting into bitter arguments with your friends, for this will distance and separate you from them.

6)  Don’t talk about yourself so much.  Talk with your friend about him, and he will be interested in hearing you.  (Most people’s favorite word is “I,” and they find nothing more splendid than their own name.)

7)  Listen to what others say, make an effort to remember their names and details about them, and they will love you.

8)  Don’t criticize your friend openly; it will only make him more obstinate.  Criminals, even the worst murderers, never admit their guild in their hearts.

9)  When you speak with your friend, admit the truth, otherwise he will hate you - and rightly so.

10)  Remember what the best doctors say, that important as it is to understand the illness, it is more important to understand the patient, because a large part of every illness, and sometimes the entire illness, comes from the patient’s state of mind.  If you can correct this by showing him plenty of love and fellowship, the illness will pass.

One who follows these rules will eventually find it easy to rise above his instinctive reactions, because he has accustomed himself to look at things from his fellow man’s point of view.

by Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler, Strive for Truth v.4 p. 234

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Comments icon September 20, 2010


By life II on October 3, 2010 -- 1:26pm

dis makes me helpfull….

By micha on January 2, 2013 -- 3:25pm

Interestingly, all of these points are in Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, and (I am told) included in the Reader’s Digest condensation of the book that came out shortly after the book did.

R’ Yosef Katan’s article in Hamaayan, Nissan 5752 makes a strong case that Rav Dessler was intentionally summarizing the points from Carnegie that he thought were worth his students’ contemplation.

R’ Aryeh Carmell told R’ Avi Waxman about R’ Dessler’s opinion of Dale Carnegie. Rabbi Waxman repeated on-line:

On a similar topic, I am attaching Rav Yoel Katan’s article (PDF), printed in Hamaayan, Nissan 5752, which deals with a maamar of Rav Dessler given in Ponevitch during Elul 1949 and appears in Michtav MeEliyahu, Vol. IV, P.234. Rav Katan claims that it is based on Dale Carnegie’s writings. Actually, before I read this article I heard a rumor about Rav Dessler being fond of Dale Carnegie’s writings and I called Rabbi Aryeh Carmel in an attempt to clarify.

Rabbi Carmel confirmed the rumor telling me that Rav Dessler felt that the writings of Dale Carnegie are beneficial to the avodah of Mussar. I asked Rabbi Carmel if Rav Dessler read the books themselves and he clarified, “No, Rav Dessler didn’t actually read the books, but rather he read an article in Reader’s Digest which gave a synopsis of Dale Carnegie’s principals.”

(At one point in our conversation Rabbi Carmel’s wife, who suspected that the person on the other side of the line was having a difficult time swallowing the information, yelled out from the background, “Tell him - Mekol melamdai hiskalti! Mekol Melamdai hiskalti!”)

R’ Katan’s essay and that quote were taken from Yashar Books’ website. Both the publishing house and the website are no longer available, so no URL provided.

It isn’t so surprising as Rebbetzin Carmell was afraid it sounded like on the phone once one reads R’ Dessler’s recollection of his father giving him Uncle Tom’s Cabin (in Yiddish) to read as a Mussar aid. The elder R’ Dessler, R’ Reuven Dov, was himself a Mussar leader, close to the Alter of Kelm, and head of the Kelm Talmud Torah.

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