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Chapter 5 A Little Worldly Wisdom

How to influence the Active partner – Conversation - The art of listening - Carlyle and his visitor - A delightful conversation - Keep yourself positive – Appearance – Apparel -Clean linen – Perfumes – Cleanliness – Manner – Reserve – Temper – Fearlessness - Self-Respect - Consideration for others – Frankness – Earnestness - Firm handshake - The eye - Tone of voice - A useful rule - How to remedy deficiencies in manner.

In the preceding lesson I compared the two functions of the mind of each individual, to the two brothers - partners in a business enterprise. For the convenience of explanation, I will continue this illustration, which is quite applicable to the real state of affairs.

This Active partner is a “particular” old fellow, and needs considerable humoring, and careful handling. He is influenced, to some extent, by the conversation, appearance, manner, voice, eye, etc., and each Active partner has his own tastes and peculiarities, although there are some things, which they all have in common. As to conversation, we should if possible ascertain what interests, but do not make the mistake of talking too much.”Give the old man a chance.” You should talk until you get him well started on a favorite topic, and then you keep quiet. You should cultivate the art of listening, for it is one of the most valuable accomplishments in the world. Many a man (or woman) has risen to a high position simply by being a good listener. You may remember the old tale told of Thomas Carlyle. A visitor once called on him, and being a good listener and a student of human nature as well, managed to get him started talking on a favorite subject. Carlyle talked for over three hours without giving the visitor “a chance to get a word in edgewise.” When the caller at last rose to depart, Carlyle accompanied him to the door, in a surprisingly good humor, and bade him good-bye saying, “Come again, Mon., we’ve had a most delightful conversation.” Do you see the point? Listen attentively to the old Active partner, and act as if each of his words was a bright golden dollar, fresh from the mint - but do not fall under the influence of his spell. Pay earnest attention to what he says, but do not let his thoughts produce any real impression upon you, or else he will be selling goods to you, Passive partner. Keep yourself positive, not negative, for you will have a word to say to the easy brother after the old fellow becomes “intoxicated with the exuberance of his own verbosity,” and relaxes his vigilance. By all means cultivate the art of intelligent listening.

As to appearance, I would advise you to avoid the two extremes of flashiness and dowdiness, respectively. Keep in the middle of the road. You should particularly avoid clothing calculated to attract special attention, either by its extreme style or the reverse. The apparel should be simple, neat and clean. Do not wear a shabby hat or muddy, shabby shoes.To this effect, even a fine suit of clothes is lost. Always wear clean linen. These things count. Eschew the use of strong perfumes. To most men, strong perfumes are an abomination. It is scarcely necessary to add that personal cleanliness is an important prerequisite for obtaining a favorable hearing with the majority of Active partners, even though they may not be too particular themselves. Your manner should be pleasant and cheerful, yet not frivolous. A certain degree of reserve is desirable. Your temper, of course, should be well under control. Anger is a sign of weakness - not strength, and the angry man is always placed at a disadvantage. You should be absolutely fearless, both physically and morally, the latter being the rarer quality. If you are quick tempered, or apt to give way to fear of misfortune, or worry, etc., you should pay particular attention to the lesson on Character Building, and correct these defects.

Your manner should convey the idea of self-respect, but should likewise show a delicate consideration for the likes and dislikes of others. If you lack the latter quality, you should cultivate it by all means, as it is of paramount importance in creating friends and in gaining the favor of Active partners, the latter being only human in spite of their rough exteriors. If you will carry in your mind this thought: “I act toward you as I would like you to act toward me,” and make the thought take form in action, you will acquire this valuable quality.

Cultivate a frank, open manner. Most people like it. Be earnest when you talk. It not only holds the attention of the people to whom you are talking, but is a valuable aid to you in having your suggestions accepted, and, besides, is an important factor in imparting force to your thought vibrations. Cultivate a firm, honest, manly handshake. Nobody likes to have thrust upon him a flabby limp hand. You don’t yourself. Do not forget this. If you have not the proper handshake, start to work and get it at once. Shake hands with everyone as if he were your best girl’s millionaire father. And then look people square in the eye. I will have more to say about the power of the eye, in the next lesson, but I wish to call your attention to it in connection with the hearty handshake. The two go together.

Cultivate an agreeable tone of voice, avoiding a mumbling utterance on the one hand, and a loud boisterous tone on the other. An excellent rule is to pitch the voice to the tone of the party with whom you are conversing, providing always that you do not shout in order to keep pace with the other person. If the other man shouts, keep you own voice even and subdued, and he will soon drop to your pitch. This, by the way, is a good plan to a adopt with a person who is excited and is attempting to give you a good “tongue lashing.” In such a case keep your temper and see that your voice is subdued and steady, and you will find the voice of the other man (or woman) gradually dropping down to your pitch. As he lowers his voice his temper subsides, and he feels ashamed, and you have won the day. Try it. There is much in the voice. A flexible, well-modulated voice is most pleasing, and wins many victories for its fortunate possessor. Let your voice express the shade of feeling, which you wish to convey. This is one of the most potent forms of suggestion. An expressive voice is one of the principal tools of the successful suggestionist.

The student must not despair if he lacks some of the important requisites to success above mentioned. He should know that every one of these gifts is within his reach, if he will but take the trouble to acquire it. I explain this point fully in Character Building.

Another very important medium of influencing others, including our old Active partner, is the Eye. The Human Eye! Who does not know its power, and yet how few know how to acquire the secret offense and defense, and its aid in influencing man and the lower animals, and yet not begin to exhaust the subject. I will devote our next lesson to an explanation of the use of the eye as an influencing medium; how to acquire the “magnetic gaze”; and how to avoid the influence of the eyes of others.


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