Through the Eyes of an Optimist Stories

I was going through a Dale Carnegie book yesterday when I came across the quote, “Two men looked out of prison bars; one saw the mud, the other saw the stars.” What I gathered from these sixteen words is that, at the end of the day, it always comes to perspective. A situation can change based on the way we see it. Dale Carnegie, the famous author of How to Stop Worrying and Start Living and How to Win Friends and Influence People saw optimism even in the worst phases of his life. Born in 1888 in Missouri, Carnegie saw poverty and abjection from a very early age. Born to a very poor and impoverished family, he had to wake up at 4 am every day to milk his parent’s cows and look after his father’s farm. In spite of so many hurdles, Carnegie managed to obtain education at the State Teacher’s College in Warrensburg and took the job of a salesman after finishing his studies. His first job was selling correspondence courses to ranchers, and from there he reached the point of making his sales territory of South Omaha, the national leader of the firm. But he quit his job after saving only $500! And he did that because he wanted to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a lecturer. But life took him to a different destination after that and he ended up attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts instead. From there he took up an acting career in New York City but found little success. When the production ended, he returned to New York broke and unemployed, and that was the staggering moment when he got the idea to teach public speaking to New York citizens. He arranged himself a teaching opportunity in return for 80% of the net proceeds. But he met little success in the way since he ran out of material in the very first session. However, he did not just stand there like a blank old chap but improvising, suggested that his students speak about something that made them angry. Whilst his students reshuffled their thoughts and sorted out what to say, Carnegie discovered that the technique made speakers unafraid to address a public audience. And from this 1912 debut, Carnegie tapped into the average American’s desire to boost their self-confidence and develop better self-esteem. By 1914, Carnegie began to earn $500 (about $ 11, 800) every week and this is how a remarkable man uplifted himself from such a meager background. My personal learning from this renowned personality is that, no matter wherever life takes us, we always hold the power to change its direction. And that goes for all of us; no matter how depressed, desolate or let down we are, we can always choose to look through the eyes of an optimist.



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