Carnegie-style Fitness

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Happy New Year 2010!

I’ve been reading this book by Dale Carnegie called How To Win Friends and Influence People.

I brought it with me to Kauai as leisure and education reading and instantly, I saw how I can apply it and share it with others, regardless of your profession. Just as I posted in a newsletter a couple of years back (which I will update here at some point), I will list some of the principles taught by Canegie and apply them to fitness (as a coach or as a client/practitioner) and let you apply it to your life. It’s a fun exercise for the brain and may affect your mindset positively too 🙂

How to Handle People:
1) Don’t criticize, condemn or complain: when you see a display of bad form, focus on what’s done correctly, praise it and adjust. If someone trains in a style that isn’t what you learned or believe is not beneficial (RKC vs Xfit “swing”, Muay Thai vs. Taekwondo, whatever your personal view…), praise the differences, don’t bash them.
2) Give Honest and Sincere Appreciation: don’t give lip service or patronize. Flattery is not always honest. It seems like you have a motive. Appreciation is genuine, subtle, understated.
3) Arouse in the other person an eager want: actions are better performed when they come from within oneself. Don’t tell somebody what to do. Instead, present the action and its benefits in a light that makes the other person want to do it. I recall offering the option to perform an exercise with a heavier weight, knowing my client was capable, but didn’t push her, having done a great workout already. Letting her decide at that point to “go for it”, having instilled confidence in her, made her enjoy the drill immensely more and she left with a feeling of accomplishment.

How to Make People Like You:
1) Become genuinely interested in other people: learn their likes. Ask them about them, and they’ll open up and talk. My job as a coach is not about me, it’s about changing something for the better in my clients. I’m not there to brag about my skills, I’m there to see what they are like and how my skills can benefit them, not me.
2) Smile: change the world one smile at a time. A secret to longer life (certainly a pleasant one). The neurolinguistic programming of smiling directly affects your output. Smile when on the phone, people perceive it. Do it now and see how it feels 🙂
3) Remember people’s name: it’s the sweetest sound in any language. It engages you and connects you to them, strengthens your bond.
4) Be a good listener: encourage others to talk about themselves. Goes with #1 above. The greatest conversations are usually one way, when you ask about something the other person is excited about and just take it all in. I know it works when done to me (I can talk about my job for hours!!)
5) Talk in terms of the other person’s interests: here also, don’t push your POV, but maybe include it and connect it to their needs. I had people afraid of working with kettlebells who became addicts after I showed them how beneficial they are.
6) Make the other person feel important, and do it sincerely: talk to people about them, and they will listen for hours. Each client you work with should enrich your life as much as you improve theirs.

Remember also, we’re wrong more often than we’re right. We don’t have all the answers and even when we think we do, we should let others the right to have their opinion. Let them explain it, don’t antagonize them. Who here likes to be embarrassed by being proven wrong? I’ve done it myself where I knew I was right, but made the other person feel small and chipped at their dignity. Let people come to their conclusions, and you may turn them around, especially if you appreciate their thought process and recognize their individual knowledge. Educate, don’t admonish!

More “Carnegie Fitness” in a later blog! Then, Miyamoto Musashi’s 9 Principles reviewed!



4 comments on “Carnegie-style Fitness”

  1. LA

    It would be great if more teaching institutions adopted that way of teaching as well. I have had many instructors say, “that way isn’t is good as the way I’m going to teach you”. Not nearly as effective, especially with “A-Type” personalities like me, as saying, “Let me show you another way of doing this, and then we;ll figure out what works best for you”.
    You’ve hit on one of the key points of teaching adults…make them feel as if they’re just as important, valuable, and experienced, and that you’re just adding to their wide base of knowledge.


    1. Philippe Til

      Interestingly, this can be used for children as well. Here’s a great post from Dr Petrus on temperament vs behavior.


  2. Philippe Til

    Todd,
    While running behind in my promise to follow up, check out other classics like “Who moved my cheese?” or “if you don’t know where you’re going, you might end up somewhere else”. Great 1-hour reads!


  3. Todd

    Phillipe, what a wonderful translation of a classic, and one of my favorite “self-help” books. I can’t wait to hear more. This has inspired me to look at some of the books on my bookshelf and do the same.


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