Joe Hart shares powerful wisdom on how to create the life you want based on the timeless principles of Dale Carnegie.
- The questions that make your mind unshakeable
- The powerful habit that sets you up for daily success
- The secret to getting along with even the most difficult people
Joe Hart began his career as a practicing attorney. After taking a Dale Carnegie Course, Joe reassessed his career path and future, ultimately leaving the practice of law to start and sell a company then Joe become the president of Asset Health—all before becoming the President and CEO of Dale Carnegie in 2015.
In 2019, the CEO Forum Group named Joe as one of twelve transformative leaders, giving him the Transformative CEO Leadership Award in the category of the People. He is the host of a top global podcast, “Take Command: A Dale Carnegie Podcast”, and he speaks around the world on topics such as leadership, resilience, and innovation, among other things. Joe and his wife, Katie, have six children, three dogs, and one cat. He is an active marathoner, having run many races, including Boston, New York, Chicago, Berlin, Detroit, and Toronto.
- Book: Take Command: Find Your Inner Strength, Build Enduring Relationships, and Live the Life You Want (website)
- Company: DaleCarnegie.com
- LinkedIn: Joe Hart
- Twitter: @josephkhart
- Book: How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie
- Book: How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- Book: The Earned Life: Lose Regret, Choose Fulfillment by Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter
- Book: Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
- Book: Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport
- Book: Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins
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Joe, welcome to How to be Awesome at Your Job.
Thank you, Pete. Great to be with you today.
Well, I’m excited to dig into your wisdom, talking about your book Take Command: Find Your Inner Strength, Build Enduring Relationships, and Live the Life You Want. But, first, I want to hear, so you have an interesting role in the whole universe of training, learning, and development, my world. You’re the CEO of Dale Carnegie. It’s the world’s oldest training company. What’s that like?
It’s an incredible company and it’s a company that I came to because it really aligns to just my personal mission, and, frankly, it’s the company that had had a huge impact on me. So, I’ll at least give you maybe 60 seconds of context before I talk about the company. I took a Dale Carnegie course as a young lawyer when I was about 27. And my dad had always talked about Dale Carnegie and How to Win Friends and Influence People, and I’d heard this and I decided to take a class.
And prior to that point, my aspiration in life was to be a lawyer in a large firm, and to make a lot of money, and become a partner, and do that for 40 years. And when I took this course, it really challenged me around my vision and what did I want for my career, and, also, frankly, how I was interacting with people because, as a young lawyer, I wasn’t particularly empathetic. I was prickly with people.
So, the two things that came out of that course were it really unlocked in me a desire to really look at my future, and, I, ultimately, left the practice of law, and went in and started my own business. And it also sparked in me just really a passion for improving my people skills and getting along with people more effectively, and really caring and listening and respecting people in a way that I hadn’t before.
So, the long and short of it is I, ultimately, left. I started a new learning company in 2000. Dale Carnegie became my first client. We did new learning programs to reinforce Dale Carnegie’s principles. We had other clients. Built and sold that company. I was the president of another company for 10 years before I became the CEO of Dale Carnegie in 2015.
This is, in my mind, one of the most amazing companies on the planet. Founded by Dale Carnegie 111 years ago, we’ve got 200 operations in 86 countries, and so much of what we do is we believe in the inner greatness of people. We work with people, individuals, and companies, really to drive self-confidence and interpersonal skills, communication, leadership, stress and worry.
You could Google, say, Warren Buffett and Dale Carnegie, and it’ll talk about just the life-changing impact that our program had on him early in his career. We worked with some of the biggest and most successful companies in the world, and it’s an honor to be able to do that. But it’s really about performance, how do we help people perform at the highest levels, how do we help them interact with each other in more successful and positive ways, how do we help them achieve things that they never would be able to achieve in their careers.
And so much of what your podcast is about is, “How do I get to that next level of my career? How do I interact with people?” And, frankly, this is a course, that when I took it, it turbocharged my entire career. Just, really, I’ve never been the same since.
Okay. Well, thank you for sharing. And it’s funny, I think I read How to Win Friends & Influence People in high school, and I think I also listened to it. So, I have that, whoever that narrator was, that voice in my ear, talk about, “Smile. Use people’s names. It’s the sweetest thing that they’ve heard.” Is this a direct quote that’s in my head, “Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise”? I don’t know what approbation meant at the time.
Good job. You got it. You got it.
And so, I think those are good principles, and I think folks who have heard Dale Carnegie, they’re thinking of the book, or they’re thinking, “Oh, yeah, I’ve heard of the Dale Carnegie course. I want to take that someday.” Is there anything that you’ve learned about Dale Carnegie or his legacy that most of us don’t know, like fun facts behind the scenes?
Yeah. So, many people know about Dale Carnegie’s success. He was brilliant. I mean, “How to Win Friends…” has been the bestselling book for 87 consecutive years, so people know him for that. But he started life, he was very poor growing up. He really found his way through public speaking. He realized he’s really very good at it. He’s good at interacting with people, went into sales and became a tremendously successful person.
And then, ultimately, went to New York City and just went in the acting field and realized he wasn’t very good at that. So, that’s when he started a public-speaking class, actually, in the YMCA in 1912. And what he discovered at that time was just people have certain apprehensions about speaking. But the process of getting up and speaking, it’s also about confidence and overcoming fear, and developing human relations skills.
So, people have one idea maybe of Dale Carnegie purely as this successful person. He certainly had lots of bumps along the road and learned a lot and shared that wisdom in How to Win Friends & Influence People and How to Stop Worrying and Start Living and other types of books as well.
Okay. Well, so tell us, your latest book Take Command, what is a particularly surprising, counterintuitive, fascinating discovery you’ve made about some of this stuff during the course of your career and putting together this book in particular?
Yeah, the single most important thing that I’d say I took away from Dale Carnegie, and it also is the framework for the entire first part of the book, so just the book Take Command is about being intentional. So, take command of your thoughts and your emotions is the whole first part. We deal with worry and stress and anxiety, and all kinds of other things, and, “Why is it that some people are strong and courageous and bold and resilient?”
And this, ultimately, comes down to your question, which is the most important thing I’ve taken away from Dale Carnegie, is the importance of our thoughts. He quotes in How to Stop Worrying and Start Living the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, who said, “Our life is what our thoughts make it.” And that explains so much because you could have two people in the exact same situation, and one person is thriving and finding opportunity, and at some point, somebody else, in the exact same situation is fearful and, “I can’t do it,” and so forth.
And what does it come down to? It comes down to our thoughts. So, to me, that kind of epiphany, if you will, is the foundation for the critical thing that you and I and all us need to do if we want to live happy fulfilled lives, if we want to be successful in our careers, in our families, in our relationships, and in our visions, that’s the second and third of the book, take command of your relationship, take command of your future, but you have to take command first of yourself. You can’t lead anyone else if you can’t lead yourself. And that starts with our thoughts.
And when people can learn how to frame their thoughts in the right way, and how to condition their minds for success, and how you can, I’d even say, Pete, befriend your emotions, which is one of the things that we talk about in chapter three, to learn how to use your emotions as kind of rocket fuel instead of something that’s just going to drag you down, going in this kind of spiral negativity, particularly all of us are coming out of COVID. That’s a necessary thing for our success.
Okay. Well, that’s really tantalizing in terms of our thoughts have great importance, and two people could be in the same situation and take drastically different paths based on what’s happening between their ears. Could you give us a cool illustrative story, example, case of that?
Yeah. Well, I’ll give you one of my own and kind of one direction that I was going in, and this kind of opens up the book, and I can give you others. And, by the way, the book has just dozens and dozens of stories of people all over the world who have applied these kinds of principles. But I think about my COVID experience.
And, Pete, I don’t know what your COVID experience was, but there’s a point in mine when I was leading this global company in March of 2020 when I was waking up every night at 3:00 in the morning with just the most negative thoughts and fearful thoughts. It’s like, “Oh, my gosh, our entire business around the world is shutting down.” We were all in-person training at that time, “What are we going to do?”
And that’s the thing. Sometimes it’s not the initial thought. We might have a fact, like I had the fact that, “Oh, our China operation is now shut down, our Asia operation.” But then we extrapolate those facts, and that’s what I was doing, and I was going to the worst possible places. And, frankly, it was that quote that you asked about, that I read in How to Stop Worrying… one night in March of 2020.
I wake up in the middle of the night and I picked up this book, and I’m flipping through it, and I should’ve known these things, Pete. I had studied them for 20 years, but I think in the challenge of that situation, I had forgotten them. And it was kind of like just Dale Carnegie saying to me, he’s like, “Hey, as bad as this situation is, where is the opportunity? What do you need to do? How do you lead?”
And I started to shift my thoughts to not just focus on, “Okay, well, these are horrible facts, but where is the opportunity here?” And in the months that followed, and we’ve got an amazing team, franchise owners, and team members, all over the world working together. We completely flipped the business model of our company. And today, we are stronger, we’re more competitive, we’re more agile, we’re working with more companies. It’s been a really exciting transformation over the past three years.
But I think about kind of two paths for myself at that time, which was you look at something and you can be fearful, or you look at something and you can say, “You know, this is hard but I’m going to find a way through it.” And another thought I had at that time was I remembered when I was a lawyer, and, Pete, when you go through law school, okay, and we’ve got limiting mindsets sometimes.
You go through college, you go through law school, you pass the bar exam. The bar exam was the single scariest experience I’ve had till that point in my life. If you don’t pass the bar exam, it doesn’t matter if you have graduated from law school, it doesn’t matter if you’re at the top of your class, you’re not practicing law unless you pass that exam.
So, you pass the exam, you become a lawyer, and then you say, “Well, could I possibly do anything else other than practice law? Who’s going to want me to do that?” It’s a limiting mindset but I remember talking to someone, and as I made the decision to leave law and to go to this real estate company, and I was afraid. And I talked to a mentor of mine, a guy named Chuck Taunt, a great man, and he said, “It’s not the smooth seas that make a great sailor. It’s the rough seas.”
And so, that got me thinking about just my leadership, and, “You know what, there’s opportunities. How do I look at this? If I leave the practice of law and it doesn’t work out, is that a failure? Well, not if I learned something, and not if I become a better leader.” And I was in my 20s at that time. So, a lot of this, it all comes back, the results that we get start and end so much with our mindset.
And when we can learn to develop our mindsets so that it serves us, and develop our emotional strength so that we are resilient and courageous, then we can do and achieve the things that are really important to us.
Okay. Beautiful. Well, can you share with us, Joe, what are some of the first steps to get that going in terms of having a great mindset that’s of service?
Yeah, the first thing is even to pay attention to our thoughts. I think it’s so easy in our lives just to be very automatic. Say, you’re sitting at your desk, you’re doing your work, you get an email, and there’s a reaction to it, “I don’t like this. This person, I don’t like the way they said this. This is more work for me, whatever.”
But to time out and to say, “Wait a second. Am I paying attention? How often do I even think about what I think? Am I paying attention to the thoughts that are in my head? Are my assumptions correct? could there be a different way to see this?” So, that first step is to pay attention, to observe it, almost like as a third-party observer, say, “What is the thought I got here? And what’s the basis for that?”
The second part of that is really just saying, “Is this serving me? In what ways could I reframe this?” And you were talking about stories, and there’s a man, his name is Artis Stevens, who is the President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters. And he had a mindset, which was he wanted to play football for the University of Georgia, and he was injured catastrophically, and he couldn’t play football. He’s really down.
And he had equated, he said, “Success in life means success in football. And if I’m not successful in football, I’m not successful in life.” But he realized, and his family and his friends came around him, and said, “No, success in life can come from so many other things.” So, he broadened and reframed his thoughts, and, ultimately, got into the University of Georgia, academically, and has been extraordinarily successful since that time.
But to the second point, so you pay attention to your thoughts, you reframe your thoughts, and that’s great, but then you also need to condition your mind for success. And that means, “What are the things that I’m going to do every single day?” If you and I went into the gym, and we went and we’re doing biceps, and we grab some dumbbells, and we do them a bunch, ten reps, and we put them down and leave, it’s good that we were there, it’s good that we did that, but that’s not going to be sustainable, so we need to build that muscle. And that’s what conditioning our mind for success is.
Okay. Well, so let’s say we’re paying attention to some thoughts, and let’s just say I zoom into an example. I get an email and I feel angry. Like, so and so, they said something in which they don’t think I’ve got the right stuff, or my show is worth their time, or whatever. So, there’s a stimulus and then we’ve got an emotional response, we trigger some guilt, some fears, some anger, some anxiety, some sadness, some stress. What do we do next?
Yes. So, it’s a little bit different when we talk about emotions versus thoughts, and we’ve got kind of a process for dealing with emotions but it’s similar. And let me just back up because sometimes people will say, “Hey, I like the good emotions but I don’t want to have those bad emotions, so I don’t want to have anger, regret, guilt, or these kinds of things.”
The reality is that we may have some of those things automatically, so how do those things serve us? So, let’s just pretend that you read an email and you feel threatened and angry. Okay, so you could almost say to yourself, “All right. Well, time out. So, what’s happening here?” because, again, we’re going to focus on what can we control and what can we do, what can we impact.
So, I get an email and I am angry because someone had said something to me. And the question is, “All right, have I misinterpreted what they’ve said? Is that possible? Do I have all the facts? If I do have all the facts, and they have insulted me, what do I want to do with it?” The emotion could actually prompt the action. So, what’s the emotion? What’s the emotion telling me? What do I want to feel? And what do I need to do?
So, in that particular case, I have found that quite often, I had assumed wrongly that someone might have meant something or have been out to get me in a situation, and, really, they weren’t. So, would it make sense to let that emotion be a trigger that says, “You know what, I’m going to go talk to Pete, and I’m going to have a conversation with Pete.” And say, “Pete, I got this email from you, and I want to make sure I didn’t misunderstand it. Can we talk about it? Would that be okay with you? I like to have a good relationship with you.”
But the opposite can also happen, which is you go right down that anger funnel, you go right down the depression funnel. And next thing you know, if you don’t break that, we talk in the book about negative thoughts, if you will, negative emotions being an early warning system. If you feel those things, don’t deny them. Just address them and think about, “What is this telling me? What do I need to do as a result?”
Okay. And then how do we do the conditioning for long-term success?
Well, part of it is do you have a routine? And we know that whether you have a routine or you don’t have a routine, you probably have a routine. It may be an unintentional routine. If you get up and the first thing you do is you pick up your phone, and you start doing email, or whatever you do, that’s part of the habit of the day.
You can develop routines that set you up for success. One thing that I do, and many people do, is to create a space in the morning. Other people do it in the afternoon or the evening, to reflect. But to have time to think about, “What worked well yesterday? What can I learn from yesterday? What didn’t go well? What do I need to change? What are the main things I need to do today to be successful? Do I give myself time to center, to meditate, to pray?” to whatever it is for people that works for them, but to be intentional about the kind of things that they want to do.
So, having that time to focus and to think is important. And, sometimes, frankly, we don’t get it. We are so engrossed in social media, email, day to day, and all of a sudden, the day has gone by. So, one thing is certainly to have time. The second thing is to flip those thoughts and to do them consistently. Affirmations are something that have been around for a long time. They really do work. So, being able to have some of those.
Those are some ideas, and, again, there are many that we talk about in the book. But what I can tell you is when you are intentional and you focus on these kinds of things, and the life that you want to have, and being in touch with your values, it’s incredible how quickly you can create a mindset, a growth mindset, a mindset that’s looking for possibility, but it’s not going to happen on its own.
Well, can you share with us, Joe, some of your favorite affirmations?
I’ll give you one which is from running. Over the years, I have, well, I’d say it’s become a love relationship with running, but in the beginning, it was super hard. I don’t know, Pete, if you’ve ran or is this something you’ve done before where you’re a runner?
I’ve had some seasons of life where I did a lot of it, and did a half marathon and some triathlons, and I’ve done relatively little lately.
Yeah, so you and me both. It’s something I need to do more of. But there was a period of time when I started to run, and the voice in my head kept on saying, “Stop. You can’t do this.” It was really hurting and it was painful. But the affirmation that I used was, it was, “Dig deep. You got this. Dig deep. You got this. Dig deep. You got this.” And I did, and I’ve used that as something else that has guided me through other tough times, “Dig deep. You got this.” And there are others as well but that’s one that stands out.
My wife and I have used the term ‘all in’ when I became the CEO of Dale Carnegie, when we relocated our family from Michigan to New York, with six kids. It was a really big deal, and it’s like, “We’re all in. We’re all in.” It’s like, “We’re going to look forward. We’re not going to look back.” So, those are a couple of things that I’ve used.
Okay. Well, so then we talked about the thoughts and emotions. Now, how do you recommend we take command of relationships?
Well, the first thing is, and it’s similar to thoughts and emotions, we need to be intentional about relationships. A lot of times, if we’re focused only on ourselves and not necessarily on how we’re connecting with other people, those relationships might not be particularly good.
Dale Carnegie’s principles that come from How to Win Friends & Influence People kind of provide a framework for, “How do we connect with people? Do we appreciate? Do we respect people? Do we listen to people? Or do we feel it’s more important to talk about ourselves all the time? Do we try, honestly, to see things from another person’s point of view?”
So, the first thing is, “What’s to find? How important are relationships in our lives? Is it important to you as a partner, or a spouse, or an employee, or a leader, or a CEO? Do you have strong relationships with people? What happens if you don’t? What happens to your marriage, or friendship, or parenthood, or leadership in a company if you don’t care about the people you’re working with?” So, the first thing is be intentional.
Second thing, though, is then to think about, and we have a chapter on this, it is what I think is Dale Carnegie’s probably most valuable principle to me, at least it has been, which is to try, honestly, to see things from another person’s point of view. It is to be empathetic, to listen, to assume positive intent. So, if we do some of those things, we’re far more likely to be able to develop better relationships.
Dale Carnegie said you can make more friends, and I may be paraphrasing it the wrong way here, but you can make more friends in a month by talking about other people and listening to them than you can by talking about you, about just yourself. So, if you are at an event, and you’re talking to someone, are you interested in them? So, those are all things you can do to build good relationships.
We also have the reality that there’s difficult people in our lives. How do you deal with difficult people? How do you deal with people who are critical? How do you deal with people who are triggering in some way, if you will? So, I can talk about that if you’d like, but I also want to be sensitive about my own advice and not be like talking nonstop.
Oh, certainly. Well, yeah, let’s hear about it. So, we’re intentional, we listen, we’re curious, we ask questions, we show interest. And, yeah, let’s hear about it. On the difficult people side of things, what do we do there?
Yeah, I think part of this is sometimes we look at a person who’s difficult, and we would get ourselves in the mindset that that person is the problem. When, in reality, I could be the problem; A, I could be the difficult person, or, B, “Am I thinking about my responsibility with the person who I perceive to be difficult?”
Sometimes, if I don’t assume positive intent, I perceive someone as being difficult. If someone, like using the example that you and I were talking about earlier, you get an email, and, “Gosh, there’s that Pete again, always sending these emails, always being critical.” So, I perceive you to be difficult, but are you? Do you even realize that I have those thoughts?
So, the first thing is, “What can I do? What’s my responsibility?” And it might be, “I’m going to go talk to Pete. I‘m going to communicate with Pete. And, in the case where Pete is, in fact, difficult, if you will, I might want to communicate boundaries to Pete.” A common example, so let’s just say that your boss says, “Pete, I need you to get this project done right now. You got two days to get it done, and that’s that.”
So, the boss walks away or gets off of Zoom, and you think to yourself, “Gosh, that person again, keeps saying. That person doesn’t care about me. That person doesn’t listen to me. He doesn’t realize I’ve got all these other projects. I’m never going to be able to hit the deadline.” “Yeah, Pete, but did you tell the boss? Did you say, ‘Hey, boss, I’ve got these three other projects I’m working on right now, and I’m not going to be able to hit all three of them. Can you help me prioritize them?’”
Or, can you say, “Boss, I’ve been working on a certain number of hours, and what are your boundaries?” Pete, you might say, “Gosh, I have to spend some time with my family. I need to communicate that.” So, the first thing is set boundaries. And the second this is, communicate those boundaries because if you don’t talk about them, then how will someone even know necessarily that they’re violating your boundaries?
So, those are a couple of things, but I think there’s also a situation where, if you find that someone is violating your values, or is just ignoring your boundaries, that might be a situation where there are some relationships that need to end. And sometimes we need to be away from people who are toxic people. And as difficult as that might be, that could be in a workplace, that could be in a relationship, that could be in a community interaction, but if someone is toxic or violating your values, then you may need to cut that relationship.
All right. So, we talked a little bit about the thoughts and emotions, the relationships. And now how about the third part, the living of the life you want? What are your top perspectives here?
Yeah, so it’s kind of neat because you really don’t even get to this third part, I don’t think, unless you have focused on the first two. You got to focus on your own thoughts and emotions, and develop the inner strength. You’ve got to work on relationships, you’ve got this community of people around you, and then you say to yourself, “What’s my vision for myself? What kind of life do I want to lead?”
I think one of the biggest tragedies of life, Pete, is that many times people get to the end of their lives, and certainly we know this through so many of these deathbed surveys where they ask people, “If you’d live your life over, what would you have done differently?” And they say, “Gosh, I regret that I didn’t take chances. I wasn’t bold. I was always afraid. I worried too much about what people thought,” and so forth.
So, part three of this book is about not letting us get to that point. It is about saying, right now, today, we’re going to begin thinking about the values that are important to us, the vision that we want to have for ourselves, whether it’s short term or longer term, what do we perceive our purpose to be as we define it for ourselves. But you go through this process of really getting clear about what it is that you want.
Writing that down or putting it in an electronic journal, or whatever it is, and repeatedly going back to that, and what we find, and there’s lots of stories of people who’ve done that, and have had huge impact, and it’s something that, once we are clear. Let me just give you one story from the book, which I think is a really amazing person.
Daniella Fernandez is someone who is a 19-year-old student at Georgetown University, really became familiar with the crisis facing the ocean. And she went to a conference at the UN and she heard all these people talking about it, and she came to the conclusion that people are not doing enough to protect the ocean.
So, she created what is today the largest sustainable ocean alliance in the world of its kind, and I take it’s in the 130 countries, and they’re taking specific concrete actions to improve the ocean quality. And that’s someone who got really clear about her values, about where she wanted to have impact, but we also have examples just of people who are living their lives and having a positive impact on other people.
I tell the story about my father who was a recovering alcoholic. He went 51 years without a drink. And part of his purpose in life was to help other people find sobriety. In the local AA chapter, he was kind of a local hero, 51 years, that’s a long time for someone who’s been an alcoholic to go without a drink. So, he was committed to helping sponsor people and helping support people. And at his funeral, person after person came up to me, and they said, “What an impact your dad had on me.”
So, this last part is about asking what is really important to you. So, Pete, what’s important to you? What’s important to whoever is reading the book? And then helping guide them through a process to begin to make that happen. Our hope is that people who follow these things, and it’s all rooted in Dale Carnegie’s wisdom, from decades-old wisdom, we’ve proven things today and stories today, that if you do these things, you’re going to live the life you want, you’re going to have great relationships, you’re going to feel more courage, and be able to overcome adversity. So, that’s the third part.
All right. Well, Joe, tell me, anything else you want to make sure to mention before we shift gears and hear about some of your favorite things?
Only that one of the reasons people will often ask, “Why did you write this book?” and I co-wrote it with Michael Crom, who’s Dale Carnegie’s grandson, is I think he and I both feel that we owe a great deal of debt for all that we’ve been given and learned in the wisdom of Dale Carnegie. So, we wrote this book really to give it to other people in the younger audience. So, I hope that it will mean something to people, and it will help really impact people’s lives.
All right. Now, could you share a favorite quote, something you find inspiring?
So, I guess I probably let the cat out of the bag earlier because the quote that I like, that I think about a lot, is the Marcus Aurelius quote about “Our lives are what our thoughts make it.” So, if you push me for a second one, this is one, when you were asking about the difficult people, I think about this quote a lot. It’s from Ralph Waldo Emerson, and it is, “Every person I meet is my superior in some way, in that I learn from him or her.”
So, when I am meeting with someone, and if it’s a difficult conversation, and particularly I think to myself, “What can I learn from this person?” And I remember one time, I was in a cab, I was in Italy, and I was going to the airport, and I’m talking to this taxi driver, and the taxi driver is asking me what I do, and I’m telling him about Dale Carnegie. And he says, “Don’t you ever get tired of talking to people who are, you come across in your travels, and they’re just idiots?”
And I said this quote to him, I said, “You know, I think every person I meet is my superior in some ways. So, when I meet them, I’m trying to figure out what can I learn from them.” And when you think about life that way, that every single person has got something to teach, it kind of shifts how you see other people, and that’s been very valuable for me.
And a favorite study or experiment or bit of research?
One thing we quote in the book, the Harvard happiness study. And this is a study that looked at, I don’t know remember how many, hundreds of people, I think, over a lifetime to determine what really makes people happy and unhappy. And the main finding was that relationships and good high-quality relationships, caring relationships, are life-giving, and loneliness kills.
So, I think sometimes it could be easy to be insular, to be thinking about what’s important to me or whatnot. But if I really want happiness, I need to invest in other people and be connected to other people.
And a favorite book?
It’s hard to narrow down to a favorite book. I guess it’d be easy for me to say How to Win Friends & Influence People is certainly one of the most influential, if not the most influential book, I’ve ever read. Certainly, the Bible and How to Win Friends & Influence People. Well, I will tell you, I read a great book recently, I’ve been reading a lot of books and listening to a lot of books on Audible.
So, a couple books that I’ve read recently that I’ve enjoyed are The Earned Life by Marshall Goldsmith, which has been really, I think, insightful.
I also read a couple books by Cal Newport, Deep Work and Digital Minimalism, which really got me thinking about my relationship with, say, social media and other kinds of things. And David Goggins’ “Can’t Hurt Me,” which is a story about this just unbelievable Navy Seal, and just what he went through in his life and his career. So, those are a few good ones.
All right. And a favorite tool?
Well, I guess I don’t know if I can call this a tool. I like paper clips.
If I find a paper clip in the ground, I typically pick it up. I don’t know, I like paper clips. Little pins, that type of thing. But I guess if it’s a tool-tool, I guess I’d probably say it’s gooseneck pliers.
Okay. And a favorite habit?
My morning routine, I guess I’d say, is my favorite habit. Starting the day, every day, if I can, by making a hot green tea, and going and sitting for 30 to 60 minutes, and really preparing for my day, and reflecting on the prior day, and just really kind of setting myself in the right place.
All right. And is there a particular nugget you share that really seems to connect and resonate with folks; they quote it back to you often?
I get asked often for kind of a piece of advice, and often it’s for young people, “What would you tell yourself?” What would I tell a younger Joe? And maybe the most valuable thing for me is not to worry so much about what people think. As I’ve gotten older, I have cared less. I still care about what people think. I don’t want to say I dismiss it.
But I had this conversation with one of my daughters the other day about if you go to a party, you’re thinking about yourself, you’re thinking about, “How do I look? How do I sound? What am I wearing?” all these different things. And what are other people thinking about? They’re thinking the same thing. They’re worried about themselves. So, we create a lot of energy worrying about what other people think, and the reality is, in most cases, people don’t care. They’re focused on themselves. So, don’t worry so much about what people think, and you got to stay true to yourself and your values.
All right. And if folks want to learn more or get in touch, where would you point them?
So, DaleCarnegie.com is a great place to find lots of Dale Carnegie resources. If people want to take a Dale Carnegie program, they can go to that website. TakeCommand.com has got information about the book and buying the book. It’s available on Audible, in Kindle, and also hard copy. I’m pretty active on Twitter and LinkedIn, it’s @josephkhart, so either of those places, and I’m sharing information and research and studies, and those kinds of things constantly.
All right. And do you have a final challenge or call to action for folks looking to be awesome at their jobs?
Yeah, I would say ask yourself whether you are, in fact, taking command. Are you intentional right now in the important aspects of your life? And if you’re not, I challenge you to be that way. Be intentional. Take command. Make it happen now.
All right. Thank you, Joe. This has been a treat. I wish you much luck and fun and command.
All right. Thank you, Pete. It’s been great talking to you.