“If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive.”

Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, no man ever criticizes himself for anything. Criticism is futile because it puts a man on the defensive, and usually makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a man’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses his resentment. No amount of criticism will ever persuade someone else to believe that they are wrong. It is human nature for a wrongdoer to blame everybody but himself.

When you and I are tempted to criticize remember that criticisms are like homing pigeons, they always return home. Let’s realize that the person we are going to correct and condemn will probably justify himself, and condemn us in return. “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Do you know someone you would like to change and regulate and improve? Good! That is fine. I am all in favor of it. But why not begin on yourself? From a purely selfish standpoint, that is a lot more profitable than trying to improve others-yes?

“Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbor’s roof,” said Confucius, “when your own doorstep is unclean.” When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity. A criticism is a dangerous spark, a spark that is liable to cause an explosion in the powder magazine of pride.

Benjamin Franklin, tactless in his youth, became so diplomatic, so adroit at handling people that he was made American Ambassador to France. The secret of his success? “I will speak ill of no man,” he said, ” . . . and speak all the good I know of everybody.” Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain-and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving. “A great man shows his greatness, by the way he treats little men.” Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them. Let’s try to figure out why they do what they do. That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance, and kindness. “God Himself, sir, does not propose to judge man until the end of his days.” Why should you and I?

*Compilation taken from “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” by Dale Carnegie