Will Rogers’ Secret

Elmer Wheeler
From How to Sell Yourself to Others

A magic way to win more friendships that no one can resist; even hardened criminals can be won over this way.
“I never met a man I did not like,” said Will Rogers. Many people thought this was just another funny Rogers’ remark, but one time when I met him with Amon Carter, of Fort Worth, I asked him, “Surely you can’t like everybody?”
I knew he must meet bores, cheats, fourflushers just like the rest of us do. How can he possibly like even them?
Will was famous as a funnyman; but he was also a wise philosopher and he could be most serious when he wanted.
“Of course I don’t approve of all the things that people do,” he said, “but there is some goodness and some cussedness in all of us.”
He continued, “If you know a man well enough you can always find something good in him and you can always find something interesting about him. It is just a matter of what you are looking for!”
“But what about the narrow-minded people? What about gossips? The people who do petty, mean little things? Do you like them, too?” I persisted.
“I once read somewhere,” he said, “where someone asked Abe Lincoln that same question – why he refused to get mad at the people who abused him, ridiculed him and tried to discredit him.”
“Lincoln replied that people’s actions spring from their character and that many factors beyond their control went into making up their character – where they were born, the people they had associated with, and a lot of other things.”
“Therefore,’ said Lincoln, ‘you shouldn’t become angry with a person who blocks your path any more than you would with a tree which the wind blew across the road.'”
Will Rogers had no more reason for hating a person who happened to have been unfortunate enough to have acquired a habit of gossip than he did for hating a person who was foolish enough to neglect his teeth.
He didn’t like gossip. Few people do; and he didn’t like pettiness. He looked upon them as foolish behavior rather than evil behavior.
I am convinced that Will Rogers really did like every person he ever met.
There is an interesting thing about liking people, and that is they in turn like you. If you must start a rumor about somebody start it by saying, “I sure like that person.”
This gets back to them and they say, “Well, I always liked him, too.”
Another funny thing about gossip is that if they tell you things about others, you can just bet they will tell others things about you.
While there is always a temptation to listen to gossip, just remember while you are on the listening end this time with this gossiper, the next time you will be on the receiving end when the gossiper gets elsewhere.
Beware of the Gossip!

Avoid the company of the gossip. Don’t give them a chance to be with you, find something out about you, then carry that story into another circle.
I am convinced that this trait of his character was largely responsible for Will Rogers being the most universally liked person I have ever heard about.
Will Rogers liked everybody and everybody liked Will Rogers!