“Assume a virtue, if you have it not.”
Human Relations Principle #28: Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.”
(“Give a dog a good name.”)
(This is the twenty-eighth in a series of articles where I will encapsulate each of Dale Carnegie’s timeless, life-changing principles for dealing with people. (Adapted from How to Win Friends and Influence People.))*
If you want to improve a person in a certain respect, act as though that particular trait were already one of his or her outstanding characteristics.
It might be well to assume and state openly that other people have the virtue you want them to develop. Give them a fine reputation to live up to, and they will make prodigious efforts rather than see you disillusioned.
There’s an old saying: “Give a dog a bad name and you may as well hang him.” But give him a good name—and see what happens.