“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain — and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving”

It’s easy enough to point out the faults in others. None of us are perfect and we all make rather easy targets. However, putting other people down doesn’t help you get any higher. It is far greater to understand and empathize than it is to condemn and criticize.

Dale Carnegie is perhaps best known for How to Win Friends and Influence People, a self-help book geared toward helping you “win people to your way of thinking” and increase your ability to get things done. The American writer was also revered for his courses on salesmanship, public speaking, and interpersonal skills. It’s amazing to think that How to Win Friends was first published way back in 1936 and it remains a popular title to this day.

While Carnegie’s approach had more to do with influencing others for your own benefit, it still holds a lesson that is valuable and powerful in our everyday exchanges. Ted Koppel reminded us of the importance of decency and respect, for instance. Thomas Carlyle, a Scottish historian and satirist, puts it another way:

“A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men.”

There is nothing wrong with ambition. Just remember not to look down on others when you reach the top.