Carnegie 12.3.03: PRINCIPLE 3 If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.- “If You’re Wrong, Admit It”

Pages 164 – 171.

Mistakes are often a constraint in developing a mutual understanding.  If two people think they are working towards a common goal and one person blocks that process by mistakes – then it is important to find a tactful way to create alignment.  If you’ve made a mistake, and it is important to progress that everyone understand it was a mistake – and importantly understand how / why the mistake was made – then admit it.

Best Quote

“There is a certain degree of satisfaction in having the courage to admit one’s errors. It not only clears the air of guilt and defensiveness, but often helps solve the problem created by the error.” Page 167

Page by Page

164

“Officer, you’ve caught me red-handed. I’m guilty. I have no alibis, no excuses. You warned me last week that if I brought the dog out here again without a muzzle you would fine me.”

165

“But instead of breaking lances with him, I admitted that he was absolutely right and I was absolutely wrong; I admitted it quickly, openly, and with enthusiasm.”

166

Art seller story – “So I said: ‘Mr. So-and-so, if what you say is true, I am at fault and there is absolutely no excuse for my blunder. I have been doing drawings for you long enough to know better. I’m ashamed of myself.’ “Immediately he started to defend me. ‘Yes, you’re right, but after all, this isn’t a serious mistake. It is only—’”

167

“There is a certain degree of satisfaction in having the courage to admit one’s errors. It not only clears the air of guilt and defensiveness, but often helps solve the problem created by the error.”

168

“Any fool can try to defend his or her mistakes—and most fools do—but it raises one above the herd and gives one a feeling of nobility and exultation to admit one’s mistakes.”

169

“But Lee was far too noble to blame others.”

From a persuasion standpoint Carnegie’s inclusion of Robert E. Lee is interesting and likely wouldn’t be made today.  Lee’s surrender made possible Grant’s attempts to rebuild the South and halted what could have been devastating long term resistance, but today that perspective pails in comparison to his defense of slavery through his military efforts, regardless of what his individual outlook may have been.

170

Lee on Pickett’s charge, ““All this has been my fault,” he confessed. “I and I alone have lost this battle.””

“I have pondered this problem,” he said. “Dale Carnegie says, ‘If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.’ It is too late for me to admit it quickly, but I can admit it emphatically. I wronged my son. He was right in not wanting to see me and to expel me from his life. I may lose face by asking a younger person’s forgiveness, but I was at fault and it is my responsibility to admit this.” The

171

“By fighting you never get enough, but by yielding you get more than you expected.”

PRINCIPLE 3 If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.

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3 Responses to Carnegie 12.3.03: PRINCIPLE 3 If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.- “If You’re Wrong, Admit It”

  1. Pingback: Carnegie 13.3.04: PRINCIPLE 4 Begin in a friendly way – A Drop of Honey | Fred Lybrand

  2. Pingback: Carnegie 23.4.2: How to Win Friends and Influence People – How to Criticize—and Not Be Hated for It – PRINCIPLE 2 Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly. | Fred Lybrand

  3. Pingback: Carnegie 24.4.3: How to Win Friends and Influence People – Talk About Your Own Mistakes First – PRINCIPLE 3 Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person | Fred Lybrand

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