On May 7, 1931, the most sensational manhunt NewYork City had ever known had come to its climax. Afterweeks of search, “Two Gun” Crowley - the killer, thegunman who didn’t smoke or drink - was at bay, trappedin his sweetheart’s apartment on West End Avenue.
One hundred and fifty policemen and detectives laidsiege to his top-floor hideway. They chopped holes inthe roof; they tried to smoke out Crowley, the “copkiller,” with teargas. Then they mounted their machineguns on surrounding buildings, and for more than anhour one of New York’s fine residential areas reverberatedwith the crack of pistol fire and the rut-tat-tat ofmachine guns. Crowley, crouching behind an over-stuffed chair, fired incessantly at the police. Ten thousandexcited people watched the battle. Nothing like itever been seen before on the sidewalks of NewYork.
When Crowley was captured, Police CommissionerE. P. Mulrooney declared that the two-gun desperadowas one of the most dangerous criminals ever encounteredin the history of New York. “He will kill,” said theCommissioner, “at the drop of a feather.”
But how did “Two Gun” Crowley regard himself? Weknow, because while the police were firing into hisapartment, he wrote a letter addressed “To whom it mayconcern, ” And, as he wrote, the blood flowing from hiswounds left a crimson trail on the paper. In this letterCrowley said: “Under my coat is a weary heart, but akind one - one that would do nobody any harm.”
A short time before this, Crowley had been having anecking party with his girl friend on a country road outon Long Island. Suddenly a policeman walked up to thecar and said: “Let me see your license.”
Without saying a word, Crowley drew his gun and cutthe policeman down with a shower of lead. As the dyingofficer fell, Crowley leaped out of the car, grabbed theofficer’s revolver, and fired another bullet into the prostratebody. And that was the killer who said: “Under mycoat is a weary heart, but a kind one - one that would donobody any harm.’
Crowley was sentenced to the electric chair. When hearrived at the death house in Sing Sing, did he say, “Thisis what I get for killing people”? No, he said: “This iswhat I get for defending myself.”
The point of the story is this: “Two Gun” Crowleydidn’t blame himself for anything.
Is that an unusual attitude among criminals? If youthink so, listen to this:
“I have spent the best years of my life giving peoplethe lighter pleasures, helping them have a good time,and all I get is abuse, the existence of a hunted man.”
That’s Al Capone speaking. Yes, America’s most notoriousPublic Enemy- the most sinister gang leader whoever shot up Chicago. Capone didn’t condemn himself.He actually regarded himself as a public benefactor - anunappreciated and misunderstood public benefactor.
And so did Dutch Schultz before he crumpled upunder gangster bullets in Newark. Dutch Schultz, one ofNew York’s most notorious rats, said in a newspaper interviewthat he was a public benefactor. And he believedit.
I have had some interesting correspondence withLewis Lawes, who was warden of New York’s infamousSing Sing prison for many years, on this subject, and hedeclared that “few of the criminals in Sing Sing regardthemselves as bad men. They are just as human as youand I. So they rationalize, they explain. They can tellyou why they had to crack a safe or be quick on thetrigger finger. Most of them attempt by a form of reasoning,fallacious or logical, to justify their antisocial actseven to themselves, consequently stoutly maintainingthat they should never have been imprisoned at all.”
If Al Capone, “Two Gun” Crowley, Dutch Schultz,and the desperate men and women behind prison wallsdon’t blame themselves for anything - what about thepeople with whom you and I come in contact?
John Wanamaker, founder of the stores that bear hisname, once confessed: “I learned thirty years ago that itis foolish to scold. I have enough trouble overcoming myown limitations without fretting over the fact that Godhas not seen fit to distribute evenly the gift of intelligence.”
Wanamaker learned this lesson early, but I personallyhad to blunder through this old world for a third of acentury before it even began to dawn upon me thatninety-nine times out of a hundred, people don’t criticizethemselves for anything, no matter how wrong itmay be.
Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensiveand usually makes him strive to justify himself.Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person’sprecious pride, hurts his sense of importance, andarouses resentment.
B. F. Skinner, the world-famous psychologist, provedthrough his experiments that an animal rewarded forgood behavior will learn much more rapidly and retainwhat it learns far more effectively than an animal punishedfor bad behavior. Later studies have shown thatthe same applies to humans. By criticizing, we do notmake lasting changes and often incur resentment.
Hans Selye, another great psychologist, said, “Asmuch as we thirst for approval, we dread condemnation,”
The resentment that criticism engenders can demoralizeemployees, family members and friends, and stillnot correct the situation that has been condemned.
George B. Johnston of Enid, Oklahoma, is the safetycoordinator for an engineering company, One of his re-sponsibilitiesis to see that employees wear their hardhats whenever they are on the job in the field. He reportedthat whenever he came across workers who werenot wearing hard hats, he would tell them with a lot ofauthority of the regulation and that they must comply.As a result he would get sullen acceptance, and often after he left, the workers would remove the hats.
He decided to try a different approach. The next timehe found some of the workers not wearing their hard hat,he asked if the hats were uncomfortable or did not fitproperly. Then he reminded the men in a pleasant toneof voice that the hat was designed to protect them frominjury and suggested that it always be worn on the job.The result was increased compliance with the regulationwith no resentment or emotional upset.
You will find examples of the futility of criticism bristlingon a thousand pages of history, Take, for example,the famous quarrel between Theodore Roosevelt andPresident Taft - a quarrel that split the Republicanparty, put Woodrow Wilson in the White House, andwrote bold, luminous lines across the First World Warand altered the flow of history. Let’s review the factsquickly. When Theodore Roosevelt stepped out of theWhite House in 1908, he supported Taft, who waselected President. Then Theodore Roosevelt went off toAfrica to shoot lions. When he returned, he exploded.He denounced Taft for his conservatism, tried to securethe nomination for a third term himself, formed the BullMoose party, and all but demolished the G.O.P. In theelection that followed, William Howard Taft and the Republicanparty carried only two states - Vermont andUtah. The most disastrous defeat the party had everknown.
Theodore Roosevelt blamed Taft, but did PresidentTaft blame himself? Of course not, With tears in hiseyes, Taft said: “I don’t see how I could have done anydifferently from what I have.”
Who was to blame? Roosevelt or Taft? Frankly, I don’tknow, and I don’t care. The point I am trying to make isthat all of Theodore Roosevelt’s criticism didn’t persuadeTaft that he was wrong. It merely made Taft striveto justify himself and to reiterate with tears in his eyes:“I don’t see how I could have done any differently fromwhat I have.”
Or, take the Teapot Dome oil scandal. It kept thenewspapers ringing with indignation in the early 1920s.It rocked the nation! Within the memory of living men, nothing like it had ever happened before in Americanpublic life. Here are the bare facts of the scandal: AlbertB. Fall, secretary of the interior in Harding’s cabinet,was entrusted with the leasing of government oil reservesat Elk Hill and Teapot Dome - oil reserves thathad been set aside for the future use of the Navy. Didsecretary Fall permit competitive bidding? No sir. Hehanded the fat, juicy contract outright to his friend EdwardL. Doheny. And what did Doheny do? He gaveSecretary Fall what he was pleased to call a “loan” ofone hundred thousand dollars. Then, in a high-handedmanner, Secretary Fall ordered United States Marinesinto the district to drive off competitors whose adjacentwells were sapping oil out of the Elk Hill reserves.These competitors, driven off their ground at the ends ofguns and bayonets, rushed into court - and blew the lidoff the Teapot Dome scandal. A stench arose so vile thatit ruined the Harding Administration, nauseated an entirenation, threatened to wreck the Republican party,and put Albert B. Fall behind prison bars.
Fall was condemned viciously - condemned as fewmen in public life have ever been. Did he repent?Never! Years later Herbert Hoover intimated in a publicspeech that President Harding’s death had been due tomental anxiety and worry because a friend had betrayedhim. When Mrs. Fall heard that, she sprang from herchair, she wept, she shook her fists at fate and screamed:"What! Harding betrayed by Fall? No! My husbandnever betrayed anyone. This whole house full of goldwould not tempt my husband to do wrong. He is the onewho has been betrayed and led to the slaughter and crucified.”
There you are; human nature in action, wrongdoers,blaming everybody but themselves. We are all like that.So when you and I are tempted to criticize someonetomorrow, let’s remember Al Capone, “Two Gun”Crowley and Albert Fall. Let’s realize that criticisms arelike homing pigeons. They always return home. Let’srealize that the person we are going to correct and condemnwill probably justify himself or herself, and condemnus in return; or, like the gentle Taft, will say: “Idon’t see how I could have done any differently fromwhat I have.”
On the morning of April 15, 1865, Abraham Lincoln lay dying in a hall bedroom of a cheap lodging housedirectly across the street from Ford’s Theater, whereJohn Wilkes Booth had shot him. Lincoln’s long bodylay stretched diagonally across a sagging bed that wastoo short for him. A cheap reproduction of Rosa Bonheur’sfamous painting The Horse Fair hung above thebed, and a dismal gas jet flickered yellow light.
As Lincoln lay dying, Secretary of War Stanton said,“There lies the most perfect ruler of men that the worldhas ever seen.”
What was the secret of Lincoln’s success in dealingwith people? I studied the life of Abraham Lincoln forten years and devoted all of three years to writing andrewriting a book entitled Lincoln the Unknown. I believeI have made as detailed and exhaustive a study ofLincoln’s personality and home life as it is possible forany being to make. I made a special study of Lincoln’smethod of dealing with people. Did he indulge in criticism?Oh, yes. As a young man in the Pigeon CreekValley of Indiana, he not only criticized but he wroteletters and poems ridiculing people and dropped theseletters on the country roads where they were sure to befound. One of these letters aroused resentments thatburned for a lifetime.
Even after Lincoln had become a practicing lawyer inSpringfield, Illinois, he attacked his opponents openlyin letters published in the newspapers. But he did thisjust once too often.
In the autumn of 1842 he ridiculed a vain, pugnaciouspolitician by the name of James Shields. Lincoln lamnedhim through an anonymous letter published inSpringfield Journal. The town roared with laughter.Shields, sensitive and proud, boiled with indignation.He found out who wrote the letter, leaped on his horse,started after Lincoln, and challenged him to fight a duel.Lincoln didn’t want to fight. He was opposed to dueling,but he couldn’t get out of it and save his honor. He wasgiven the choice of weapons. Since he had very longarms, he chose cavalry broadswords and took lessons insword fighting from a West Point graduate; and, on theappointed day, he and Shields met on a sandbar in theMississippi River, prepared to fight to the death; but, at the last minute, their seconds interrupted and stoppedthe duel.
That was the most lurid personal incident in Lincoln’slife. It taught him an invaluable lesson in the art of dealingwith people. Never again did he write an insultingletter. Never again did he ridicule anyone. And from thattime on, he almost never criticized anybody for anything.
Time after time, during the Civil War, Lincoln put anew general at the head of the Army of the Potomac, andeach one in turn - McClellan, Pope, Burnside, Hooker,Meade - blundered tragically and drove Lincoln to pacingthe floor in despair. Half the nation savagely condemnedthese incompetent generals, but Lincoln, “withmalice toward none, with charity for all,” held his peace.One of his favorite quotations was “Judge not, that ye benot judged.”
And when Mrs. Lincoln and others spoke harshly ofthe southern people, Lincoln replied: “Don’t criticizethem; they are just what we would be under similarcircumstances.”
Yet if any man ever had occasion to criticize, surely itwas Lincoln. Let’s take just one illustration:
The Battle of Gettysburg was fought during the firstthree days of July 1863. During the night of July 4, Leebegan to retreat southward while storm clouds delugedthe country with rain. When Lee reached the Potomacwith his defeated army, he found a swollen, impassableriver in front of him, and a victorious Union Army behindhim. Lee was in a trap. He couldn’t escape. Lincolnsaw that. Here was a golden, heaven-sent opportunity-the opportunity to capture Lee’s army and end the warimmediately. So, with a surge of high hope, Lincoln orderedMeade not to call a council of war but to attackLee immediately. Lincoln telegraphed his orders andthen sent a special messenger to Meade demanding immediateaction.
And what did General Meade do? He did the veryopposite of what he was told to do. He called a councilof war in direct violation of Lincoln’s orders. He hesitated.He procrastinated. He telegraphed all manner of excuses. He refused point-blank to attack Lee. Finallythe waters receded and Lee escaped over the Potomacwith his forces.
Lincoln was furious, “ What does this mean?” Lincolncried to his son Robert. “Great God! What does thismean? We had them within our grasp, and had only tostretch forth our hands and they were ours; yet nothingthat I could say or do could make the army move. Underthe circumstances, almost any general could have defeatedLee. If I had gone up there, I could have whippedhim myself.”
In bitter disappointment, Lincoln sat down and wroteMeade this letter. And remember, at this period of hislife Lincoln was extremely conservative and restrainedin his phraseology. So this letter coming from Lincoln in1863 was tantamount to the severest rebuke.
My dear General, I do not believe you appreciate the magnitude of the misfortuneinvolved in Lee’s escape. He was within our easygrasp, and to have closed upon him would, in connectionWith our other late successes, have ended the war. As it is,the war will be prolonged indefinitely. If you could notsafely attack Lee last Monday, how can you possibly do sosouth of the river, when you can take with you very few-no more than two-thirds of the force you then had in hand?It would be unreasonable to expect and I do not expect thatyou can now effect much. Your golden opportunity is gone,and I am distressed immeasurably because of it.
What do you suppose Meade did when he read theletter?
Meade never saw that letter. Lincoln never mailed it.It was found among his papers after his death.
My guess is - and this is only a guess - that after writingthat letter, Lincoln looked out of the window andsaid to himself, “Just a minute. Maybe I ought not to beso hasty. It is easy enough for me to sit here in the quietof the White House and order Meade to attack; but if Ihad been up at Gettysburg, and if I had seen as muchblood as Meade has seen during the last week, and if my ears had been pierced with the screams and shrieks ofthe wounded and dying, maybe I wouldn’t be so anxiousto attack either. If I had Meade’s timid temperament,perhaps I would have done just what he had done. Anyhow,it is water under the bridge now. If I send thisletter, it will relieve my feelings, but it will make Meadetry to justify himself. It will make him condemn me. Itwill arouse hard feelings, impair all his further usefulnessas a commander, and perhaps force him to resignfrom the army.”
So, as I have already said, Lincoln put the letter aside,for he had learned by bitter experience that sharp criticismsand rebukes almost invariably end in futility.
Theodore Roosevelt said that when he, as President,was confronted with a perplexing problem, he used tolean back and look up at a large painting of Lincolnwhich hung above his desk in the White House and askhimself, “What would Lincoln do if he were in myshoes? How would he solve this problem?”
「弥特这样做是什么用意？」林肯知道这件事后，震怒至极。林肯向他儿子劳白脱大声说：「 老天爷，这是什么意思……？「李」 军已在我们掌握中了，祗要一伸手，他们就是我们的了……在那种情形下，任可将领都能带兵把「李」 打败，如果我自己去己经把他捉住了。」
The next time we are tempted to admonish somebody,/let’s pull a five-dollar bill out of our pocket, look at Lincoln’spicture on the bill, and ask. “How would Lincolnhandle this problem if he had it?”
Mark Twain lost his temper occasionally and wroteletters that turned the Paper brown. For example, heonce wrote to a man who had aroused his ire: “The thingfor you is a burial permit. You have only to speak and Iwill see that you get it.” On another occasion he wroteto an editor about a proofreader’s attempts to “improvemy spelling and punctuation.” He ordered: “Set thematter according to my copy hereafter and see that theproofreader retains his suggestions in the mush of hisdecayed brain.”
The writing of these stinging letters made Mark Twainfeel better. They allowed him to blow off steam, and theletters didn’t do any real harm, because Mark’s wifesecretly lifted them out of the mail. They were neversent.
Do you know someone you would like to change andregulate and improve? Good! That is fine. I am all in favor of it, But why not begin on yourself? From a purelyselfish standpoint, that is a lot more profitable thantrying to improve others - yes, and a lot less dangerous.“Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbor’sroof,” said Confucius, “when your own doorstep is unclean.”
When I was still young and trying hard to impresspeople, I wrote a foolish letter to Richard HardingDavis, an author who once loomed large on the literaryhorizon of America. I was preparing a magazine articleabout authors, and I asked Davis to tell me about hismethod of work. A few weeks earlier, I had received aletter from someone with this notation at the bottom:“Dictated but not read.” I was quite impressed. I feltthat the writer must be very big and busy and important.I wasn’t the slightest bit busy, but I was eager to makean impression on Richard Harding Davis, so I ended myshort note with the words: “Dictated but not read.”
He never troubled to answer the letter. He simplyreturned it to me with this scribbled across the bottom:“Your bad manners are exceeded only by your bad manners.”True, I had blundered, and perhaps I deservedthis rebuke. But, being human, I resented it. I resentedit so sharply that when I read of the death of RichardHarding Davis ten years later, the one thought that stillpersisted in my mind - I am ashamed to admit - was thehurt he had given me.
If you and I want to stir up a resentment tomorrowthat may rankle across the decades and endure untildeath, just let us indulge in a little stinging criticism-no matter how certain we are that it is justified.
When dealing with people, let us remember we arenot dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing withcreatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudicesand motivated by pride and vanity.
Bitter criticism caused the sensitive Thomas Hardy,one of the finest novelists ever to enrich English literature,to give up forever the writing of fiction. Criticismdrove Thomas Chatterton, the English poet, to suicide.
Benjamin Franklin, tactless in his youth, became sodiplomatic, so adroit at handling people, that he was made American Ambassador to France. The secret of hissuccess? “I will speak ill of no man,” he said, " . . andspeak all the good I know of everybody.”
Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain - andmost fools do.
But it takes character and self-control to be under-standingand forgiving.
“A great man shows his greatness,” said Carlyle, “bythe way he treats little men.”
Bob Hoover, a famous test pilot and frequent per-formerat air shows, was returning to his home in LosAngeles from an air show in San Diego. As described inthe magazine Flight Operations, at three hundred feetin the air, both engines suddenly stopped. By deft maneuveringhe managed to land the plane, but it wasbadly damaged although nobody was hurt.
Hoover’s first act after the emergency landing was toinspect the airplane’s fuel. Just as he suspected, theWorld War II propeller plane he had been flying hadbeen fueled with jet fuel rather than gasoline.
Upon returning to the airport, he asked to see the mechanicwho had serviced his airplane. The young manwas sick with the agony of his mistake. Tears streameddown his face as Hoover approached. He had just causedthe loss of a very expensive plane and could have causedthe loss of three lives as well.
You can imagine Hoover’s anger. One could anticipatethe tongue-lashing that this proud and precise pilotwould unleash for that carelessness. But Hoover didn’tscold the mechanic; he didn’t even criticize him. Instead,he put his big arm around the man’s shoulder andsaid, “To show you I’m sure that you’ll never do thisagain, I want you to service my F-51 tomorrow.”
Often parents are tempted to criticize their children.You would expect me to say “don’t.” But I will not, I ammerely going to say, “Before you criticize them, readone of the classics of American journalism, ‘Father Forgets.’ ”It originally appeared as an editorial in the People's
Home Journnl. We are reprinting it here with theauthor’s permission, as condensed in the Reader’s Digest:
“Father Forgets” is one of those little pieces which-dashed of in a moment of sincere feeling - strikes anechoing chord in so many readers as to become a perenialreprint favorite. Since its first appearance, “FatherForgets" has been reproduced, writes the author,W, Livingston Larned, “in hundreds of magazines andhouse organs, and in newspapers the country over. It hasbeen reprinted almost as extensively in many foreignlanguages. I have given personal permission to thousandswho wished to read it from school, church, andlecture platforms. It has been ‘on the air’ on countlessoccasions and programs. Oddly enough, college periodicalshave used it, and high-school magazines. Sometimesa little piece seems mysteriously to ‘click.’ Thisone certainly did.”
FATHER FORGETSW. Livingston Larned
Listen, son: I am saying this as you lie asleep, one littlepaw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickilywet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your roomalone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paperin the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me.Guiltily I came to your bedside.
There are the things I was thinking, son: I had been crossto you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school becauseyou gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I tookyou to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrilywhen you threw some of your things on the floor.
At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. Yougulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table.You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as youstarted off to play and I made for my train, you turnedand waved a hand and called, “Goodbye, Daddy!” andI frowned, and said in reply, “Hold your shouldersback!”
Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As Icame up the road I spied you, down on your knees, playingmarbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before your boyfriends by marching you ahead of me tothe house. Stockings were expensive - and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son,from a father!
Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library,how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look inyour eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient atthe interruption, you hesitated at the door. “What is it youwant?” I snapped.
You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuousplunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissedme, and your small arms tightened with an affection thatGod had set blooming in your heart and which even neglectcould not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up thestairs.
Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slippedfrom my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me.What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault,of reprimanding - this was my reward to you for being aboy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expectedtoo much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick ofmy own years.
And there was so much that was good and fine and true inyour character. The little heart of you was as big as thedawn itself over the wide hills. This was shown by yourspontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night.Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bed-sidein the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed!
It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understandthese things if I told them to you during your wakinghours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chumwith you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when youlaugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. Iwill keep saying as if it were a ritual: “He is nothing but aboy - a little boy!”
I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I seeyou now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see thatyou are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother’sarms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much,too much.
2011-01-07 13:08 编辑：kuaileyingyu