IN A NUTSHELL
Rewards don’t work. People are more motivated by internal factors than by external drivers. Once basic financial needs are met, people are more motivated by having a desire for Mastery and a sense of Autonomy/self-direction towards a driving Purpose (MAP).
External motivating forces (esp. money) tends to kill intrinsic motivation, leading to reduced levels of motivation.
Many managers have a belief that extrinsic motivators work and they see them as a useful way to ‘control’ people. However, there is scientific evidence that these rarely provide long-term performance improvements.
Why carrot & stick approaches no longer work
Reduction in algorithmic work
Taylor in 1900’s saw workers as part of a complicated machine where desired behaviour was controlled through reward and punishment. This mindset still dominates the way many companies manage their people. But his principles
were born out of an era when most work was mechanical, repetitive labour (aka algorithmic i.e. a learned simple repeating pattern). For these types of jobs that still exist, evidence suggests extrinsic motivators are still effective.
Increase in complexity
These days many people’s work is more complex, constantly evolving, less routine, less directed and more interesting (aka heuristic). This requires a different approach to management and motivation.
Changing management structures
We are seeing a reduction in management levels in many organizations, requiring a less hands-on, more self-directed work patterns.
Internet driven open sourcing
Open sourcing (such as Wikipedia, Linux, Firefox, Apache, cookbooks, stock photography, legal briefs, medical research etc) is a radically different model. The reward is contribution and some recognition – but not £ in the short-term.
Lakhani & Wolf (Boston Consulting Group) surveyed 684 open-source developers. They found the primary motivation was the enjoyment from creating something in its own right (rather than any extrinsic rewards).
A change in corporate focus
In 2008, Vermont was first US state to allow a new type of ‘low profit limited liability’ company (aka L3C) to be set-up (versus the for-profit or not-for-profit social cause driven organizations). L3C aim to return modest profits to allow them to instead focus on their primary goal of social benefit.
The reality of what really drives behaviour
Rational driven economic theory predicts that in a world of prefect information and low transaction costs, parties will bargain to a position of wealth maximization. But this is not what happens in reality. People make decisions more on internal factors than external factors – we spend hours mastering an instrument for no external financial gain, we leave expensive jobs to work to become teachers, nurses or aid workers. As Frey writes, “It is inconceivable that people are motivated solely or even mainly by external incentives”
The 7 deadly flaws of extrinsic motivators
- They can extinguish intrinsic motivation
Once you get past basic threshold levels (of fairness and adequacy), carrots & sticks can achieve the opposite of their intended aims. Extrinsic rewards kill intrinsic rewards (cf Festinger’s cognitive dissonance – the reward becomes the key reason to do it and destroys the intrinsic enjoyment of the task itself.
Harlow (’49) found that monkeys enjoyed the intrinsic experience of solving puzzles – the joy of the task was its own reward. When given external motivation (extra food etc) it actually led to increased mistakes and slower time.
Lepper, Nisbett & Green (’78) observed how pre-school children choose to spend their free play. They divided the children into three groups:
Group 1 was told in advance they would get a reward for their drawings (‘If-then’). Group 2 were not offered any incentives up front. However, upon completion they were given an unexpected gift (‘now that..’). The third group were not promised anything for their efforts and nor did they receive anything. 2 weeks later the room was laid out with paper and pens during their free play period. Those who had been in the ‘If-then’ reward group drew less than the other two groups.
- They can diminish performance (esp. long-term)
Research has shown that extrinsic rewards caps growth – If bonused to achieve 10% growth, then why go for 15%?
In 2009, LSE analyzed 51 studies of corporate pay-for-performance plans. They concluded, “We find that financial incentives…can result in a negative impact on overall performance”
Deci (’69) discovered that if an incentive is no longer offered, it led to a reduction in commitment to the task. The original external motivating may provide short-term lifts in performance but can backfire when no longer offered.
Dan Airely conducted experiments where simple tasks were motivated by different sized incentives. He found those with very high incentive levels (equivalent to 5 months pay) fared worse. Too much was at stake leading them to ‘choke’.
- They can crush creativity
Bonuses etc drives functional fixedness, whereby the incentive so focuses action and attention, that it prevents wider perspectives to be taken into account, reducing potential creativity.
Artists commissioned to do work for people to set briefs often produce less creative work than when given free reign.
- They can crowd-out good behaviour
Sociologist, Richard Titmuss concluded that paying citizens to donate blood would actually lead to a reduction in donation rates as it would move the donation from a socially responsible act of altruism to being financially motivated.
Psychologists studied patterns of behaviour by parents in a childcare (which required the children to be picked up at 4pm). They found that when a fine was imposed for late pick-ups the number of ’offences’ doubled. It was hypothesized that the penalty removed the moral guilt and turned it into a purely financial transaction (of buying overtime).
- They can encourage cheating, shortcuts and unethical behaviour
Heavily bonused goals can lead to overly focused actions (which can compromise other areas of the organization e.g. NASA Apollo) – and in extreme case can encourage unethical behaviour (e.g. ENRON).
- They can become addictive
The study of drug abuse can be applied to extrinsic motivators – the more frequently they are given, the more we expect them. This leads to two consequences: 1) The same amount looses its motivational impact, requiring ever larger sums to be paid to extract a similar motivational effect. 2) When withdrawn, they lead to a slump in behaviour.
- They can foster short-term thinking
Researchers have found that companies that spend the most time guiding quarterly earnings deliver significantly lower long-term growth rates than other companies that do not.
Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic driven people
Pink defines two types of people: Type X (Extrinsic) are primarily driven by external factors, such as money, fame, status symbols etc. They can often be highly successful but can be troubled by an insatiable appetite for more ‘stuff’ (the joy of monetary success for example never fully satisfies. It quickly evaporates and is replaced by further longing for the next pay rise, the bigger car etc etc).
Type I’s (Intrinsic) motivation comes from within – to accomplish something meaningful to them. Success is measured by the task and not by an added-on reward.
They have been shown to have higher self-esteem, better interpersonal relationships and greater physical and mental well-being.
Type I’s will usually outperform a Type X in the long run.
Type I behaviour is fuelled by three factors: 1) Purpose 2) Mastery and 3) Autonomy. They have a clear purpose in mind – and that is often to master/excel in an area. They then desire the freedom to do it in their own way.
We will look at each of these three in more depth:
Passion behind a meaningful purpose makes us more motivated and engaged.
In 1962, Clare Boothe Luce, on of the first women to serve in the U.S. Congress, offered some advice to President John F. Kennedy. ‘A great man,’ she told him, ‘is one sentence.’ Abraham Lincoln’s was: ‘He preserved the union and freed the slaves.’ Franklin Roosevelt’s was: ‘He lifted us out of a great depression and helped us win a world war.’ So what is your one sentence?
Lack of inspiring purpose at work
Everyone benefits from a driving purpose. The issue is most organizations do not have a motivating purpose, Gary Hamel states, “As an emotional catalyst, wealth maximization lacks the power to fully mobilize human energies.”
Deci, Richman, Ryan & Niemic asked graduates at Rochester University about their life goals (and followed up with them 2 years later). They found that those with extrinsic goals (i.e. to be wealthy etc) had the same level of self-esteem and satisfaction as when at University, but their stress level was much higher.
However, those with intrinsic goals (e.g. to learn, to grow to help others etc) reported higher levels of satisfaction and lower anxiety than when at university. They concluded that extrinsic goals (whilst successful at helping one achieve those goals) do not tend to make people happy. Thus satisfaction is more to do with what goals you aim-for rather than the achievement of the goals themselves.
The changing demands of a new generation
Gen Y’s are demanding more corporate social responsibility.
Harvard’s MBA students have developed their own Hippocratic oath: “My purpose is to serve the greater good…I will strive to create sustainable economic, social and environmental prosperity worldwide.”
The development of teams is starting to change. Teams naturally form around natural leaders – i.e. those who have such a burning passion for a purpose – something that inspires others to self-organize around them.
At Gore-tex, anybody who wants to rise in the ranks and lead a team must assemble people willing to work for them – thus leadership is given by the people – not by management. Likewise, at Whole Foods, it’s the peers who decide if a person should be employed after their 30-day trial.
The Internet now allows geographically disparate people to come together to make a virtual team – hence the rapid escalation and potency of open-source projects.
We have an innate desire to grow and develop – to become really good at something. And this mastery leads to a sense of personal fulfillment. But without passion and engagement, mastery will not happen.
Gallup research has found that more than 50% of US people are not engaged at work (and 20% are actively disengaged). McKinsey have found that in some countries only 2- 3% are highly engaged in their work.
Mastery even for algorithmic roles
Wrzesniewski and Dutton have studied hospital cleaners, nurses and hairdressers and found many were finding areas of personal mastery that engaged them at work.
Three laws of Mastery
1) Mastery is a mindset – What people believe shapes what they can achieve.
Dweck demonstrated that those who believe intelligence is genetically fixed are less likely to push themselves and consequently restrict their growth potential (for fear of finding out they are not as clever as they think). Conversely those who believe intelligence can be developed do take risks, do push themselves and in the end out-perform those with a more fixed mindset. Dweck therefore recommends we praise effort not talent.
2) Mastery is painful – It takes ‘grit’ (a key determinant for success at WestPoint) to overcome the inevitable set backs along the way to mastery.
3) Mastery is an asymptote –Total mastery is never fully realized (which keeps people constantly pushing on).
People want autonomy in four areas: Task, time, techniques and team.
Studies have shown that perceived control is an important component of one’s happiness. Lack of free-will and choice reduces a person’s vitality. Having a sense of autonomy has been shown to have a powerful effect on performance, attitude, job satisfaction, and causes less burn-out.
Cornell University studied 320 small businesses – half of which had granted their people autonomy. These businesses grew at four times the rate of the control oriented companies.
Economist, Francis Green points to individual lack of discretion at work as the main explanation for declining productivity and job satisfaction in the UK.
William Knight, 3M’s past president said, “Hire good people and leave them alone”. They pioneered the idea of allowing staff to spend up to 15% of their time pursuing projects that are of interest for themselves (which might benefit the company). Many companies have adopted the same principles – e.g. Google and Atlassian.
Once a quarter, Atlassian (an Australian software company) run a Fed-Ex day (it’s called Fed-Ex because the staff need to deliver the next day). The staff are given 24 hours to work on anything they want – and then show their results the next day. These Fed-Ex days have solved many of their software issues.
Autonomy even for mundane tasks
Even some quite simple roles can benefit from autonomy.
Call centres which have heavily scripted responses and carefully monitored response call times have turnover rates of 35% – double that of the UK average. Zappos, the US shoes on-line retailer do not monitor the calls and have no scripts.
They even pass down the discretion on how to address complaints. Their mission is to provide the best customer service possible. They often use homeshoring (where can have the calls diverted to their own homes). Turnover is minimal.
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Way of the Wolf Book Summary | Straight Line Selling: Master the Art of Persuasion, Influence, and Success by Jordan Belfort
- PROLOGUE: The Birth of a Sales System
- Selling is everything in life.
- Chapter 1: Cracking the code for sales and influence
- Don’t you guys get it? Every sale is the same
- The reason every sale is the same is because, despite all that individual stuff, the same three key elements still have to line up in any prospect’s mind before you have a shot at closing them.
- The Three Tens
- We call these three core elements the Three Tens – with the context being a prospect’s current state of certainty on a scale from one to ten.
- For example, if a prospect is currently at a “ten” on the certainty scale, then it means he or she is in a state of absolute certainty at that moment. Conversely, if the prospect’s currently at a “one,” then they are in a state of absolute uncertainty at that moment.
- So – the first of the Three Tens is your product. In essence, your prospect must be absolutely certain that they love your product, or as we like to say with the Straight Line System, your prospect must think it’s the best thing since sliced bread!
- A prospect in the middle at a 5 this is referred to as “sitting on the fence”. Or in other words carrying a big sign on their chest, saying: PLEASE INFLUENCE ME NOW! I CAN’T MAKE UP MY MIND, SO PLEASE HELP ME!
- If your prospect is either at a 3 or a 7, there feelings of certainty or uncertainty are less set in stone than if they were at the level to the right or left of them. There current state of certainty is just that – current. It is not permanent, and they are eagerly waiting to be influenced by you.
- The closers you’ve gotten your prospect to a 10, the better chance you have of closing them.
- Human beings don’t buy things that they think will make their lives worse, they buy things that they think will make their life better.
- What if the prospect doesn’t trust you?
- Plain and simple, if your prospect doesn’t trust you, there’s absolutely no way they are going to buy from you.
- What if your prospect doesn’t trust the company you work for?
- If your prospect doesn’t trust the company you work for, then there’s absolutely no way they are going to buy from you – so long as you continue to work there, or until you can convince them otherwise.
- THE THREE TENS
- The product, idea, or concept
- You, trust and connect with you
- The prospect must trust and connect with the company.
- This is why it’s so much easier to sell to existing customers than to new ones.
- TWO TYPES OF CERTAINTY
- There are actually two types of it: you have logical certainty, and you have emotional certainty, and they’re entirely different things.
- LOGICAL CERTAINTY
- Logical certainty is based primarily on the words you say.
- EMOTIONAL CERTAINTY
- On the flip side, emotional certainty is based on a gut feeling that something must be good. Once it hits us, we feel a craving inside that simply must be fulfilled, even if there’s a heavy price to pay for fulfilling it.
- People don’t buy on logic; they buy on emotion, and then justify their decision with logic.
- If you want to close at the highest level, then you’re going to have to create both types of certainty – logical and emotional
- At the end of the day, objections are merely smoke screens for uncertainty for one or all the Three Tens.
- More than 95 percent of the time, the common objections are merely ploys on the part of the prospect.
- Chapter 2: Inventing the Straight Line
- Take immediate control of the sale, and then move the prospect from open to the close along the shortest distance between any two points: a straight line.
- Every sale is the same!
- In control, out of control
- Now, when you’re on the straight line – meaning, directly on it – that’s where you’re doing all the talking.
- With every single word you say there’s one specific goal in mind, and that’s to move the prospect down the straight line towards the close; that’s it.
- When you’re speaking, it’s directed. It’s powerful. Your words have meaning behind them; and the meaning is to create massive certainty in the mind of your prospect as you move him down the straight line, from the open to the close.
- You need to gather intelligence, massive intelligence.
- First, identify their needs, core needs and problems they might have.
- Second, identify any core beliefs they might have that could impact the sale.
- Third, past experiences they’ve had with similar products.
- Fourth, identify values – meaning, what things are most important to them.
- Fifth, financial standards, their spending ability.
- Sixth, where their pain lies. What’s keeping them up at night?
- When you’re off the line, you’re looking to (a) continue building on the rapport that you already have, and (b) use that rapport to help you gather the more invasive intelligence.
- Essentially, those are three basic tenets of the front half of the Straight Line:
- You must take immediate control of the sale.
- You must engage in massive intelligence gathering, while you simultaneously build massive rapport with your prospect.
- You must smoothly transition into a Straight Line presentation, so you can begin the process of building absolute certainty for each of the Three Tens.
- Every word, every phrase, every question you ask, every tonality you use; every single one of them should have the same ultimate goal in mind, which is to increase the prospect’s level of certainty as much as humanly possible, so that by the time you get to the close, he’s feeling so incredibly certain that he almost has to say yes. That’s your goal.
- Think of this as goal-oriented communication.
- Every word that comes out of your mouth is feeding into one single goal, which is to increase your prospect’s level of certainty to the highest possible level, as you’re moving him down the straight line towards the close.
- Imagine a continuum of certainty between one and ten.
- Act as if you’re a wealthy man, rich already, and you will become rich. Act as if you have unmatched confidence, and you will become confident. Act as if you have all the answers and the answer will come to you.
- Act as if their success was a foregone conclusion – that it was time to accept the fact that they had true greatness inside them, greatness that had always been there, dying to come out.
- Five Core Elements of the Straight Line System
- You’re going to have to ask for the order at least two or three times before you have any chance of your prospect saying yes.
- In order to move forward the prospect needs a high level of certainty.
- Not all prospects are created equal. There are some who are very tough to sell to; others who are very easy to sell to; and still others who are right in the middle, being neither tough nor easy.
- A prospect must cross over the “threshold of certainty” before he or she feels comfortable enough to buy.
- We call this level of certainty a person’s action threshold, and it comprises the fourth core element of the Straight Line System. By way of definition, we refer to people who are very easy to sell to as having a low action threshold; and we refer to people who are very difficult to sell to as having a high action threshold.
- A prospect’s action threshold is malleable; it is not set in stone.
- The fifth core element of the Straight Line System: the pain threshold.
- Pain is the most powerful motivator of all – causing human beings to quickly move away from whatever they believe is the source of their pain, and to move towards whatever they believe will resolve their pain. In essence, pain creates urgency, which makes it the perfect vehicle for closing these tougher sales.
- Five Core Elements of the Straight Line System
- The prospect must love your product.
- The prospect must trust and connect with you.
- The prospect must trust and connect with your company.
- Lower the action threshold.
- Raise the pain threshold.
- However, as powerful as the Straight Line System is, it completely breaks down in the absence of one crucial element, which is: You need to take immediate control of the sale.
- You have only four seconds to do it.
- Chapter 3: The first Four Seconds
- Four second over the phone to take control of the sale.
- It takes only a quarter of a second for a prospect to make an initial decision about you if you meet them in person.
- Whether in person or over the phone, there are three things that you need to establish in those first four seconds of an encounter, if you want to be perceived in just the right way.
- Sharp as a tack
- Enthusiastic as hell
- An expert in your field
- Those three things absolutely must come across in the first four seconds of a conversation; otherwise, you set yourself up for a major uphill battle.
- The simple fact is that we all want to deal with pros or experts, and we also want to deal with people who are sharp and on the ball, and who are enthusiastic about what they do. Experts. Have a certain way of talking that literally commands respect.
- If you make a negative first impression, it takes eight subsequent positive impressions to erase that one negative first impression.
- First, you’re sharp as a tack. If they don’t think that you’re sharp as a tack, you’re wasting their time.
- In essence, you have to sound and act like someone who can help the prospect fulfil their needs and desires. You can accomplish this by demonstrating mental speed and agility, fast decision-making, and a unique pace of delivery that immediately impresses the prospect and builds trust.
- Second, you’re enthusiastic as hell. This sends a subliminal message to your prospect, telling them that you must have something great to offer. You must sound upbeat, enthusiastic, and full of energy, and be a positive influence in their lives.
- Third, you’re an expert in your field – an authority figure and a force to be reckoned with.
- Convince the prospect that I am highly competent, ultraknowledgeable professional by coming off as a world-class expert in my field, right out the gate. Not only does this allow me to instantly gain the prospect’s respect, but it also causes them to defer to me and basically hand over control of the sale.
- Show Them You’re Worth Listening To
- Get to the point quickly
- Not waste the prospect’s time
- Have a solution to their problem
- Be an asset to them over the long-term
- Once the prospect has come to this positive conclusion about you, their brain will instantly extrapolate your value to its logical end, which is: You can help them achieve their goals. You can help get them what they want in life.
- The Straight Line System is as much about becoming an expert listener as an expert talker.
- Chapter 4: Tonality and Body Language
- Your tone of voice. Specifically, how you say what you say has a profound impact on how it’s perceived and, for that matter, how you are perceived; and not just during those all-important first four seconds, but throughout the entire conversation as well.
- On the flip side, if a sales encounter takes place in person, then a second communication modality comes into play, working hand-in-hand with tonality to help us get our point across. We call this second modality body language.
- Serving as the dual linchpins of an immensely powerful communication strategy known as unconscious communication, tonality and body language play major roles in how we get out point across – both while we’re talking and as we’re listening.
- In terms of percentages, tonality and body language comprise approximately 90 percent of our overall communications, spilt evenly down the middle, with each modality having approximately a 45 percent impact.
- The remaining 10 percent of communication is comprised of our words – meaning, the actual words we say as we verbally communicate.
- In total, of the twenty-nine tonalities that a human being uses to communicate, only ten of them are core-influencing tonalities – meaning that we use them over and over again as we go about influencing and persuading.
- You want to lower your voice, and then raise your voice; you want to speed up, and then slow down you want to make a declarative statement, and then turn it into a question.
- Bottled enthusiasm makes a massive impact on someone emotionally, and it’s one of the earmarks of sounding like an expert. Just always remember to never stay in any one tonality for too long, or else the prospect will become bored – or in scientific terms, habituate – and ultimately tune out.
- Your success is still going to be contingent on your ability to trigger a key emotional state within yourself as you’re about to enter the sales encounter, and then maintain that state to the very end.
- Chapter 5: State Management
- Future Pacing. In short, future pacing entails running an imaginary movie through your mind where you get to see yourself in the future having already achieved a certain outcome. The result is that you get to experience the positive feelings associated with a future achievement right now, as opposed to having to wait until a few years from now, when you actually achieve it.
- Act as if
- Act as if you’re a wealthy man, rich already, and you will become rich. Act as if you have unmatched confidence, and people will have confidence in you. Act as if you have all the answers, and the answers will come to you.
- When you’re in an empowered state – like “certainty,” for instance – then you’re able to access your internal resources, which then sets you up for massive success. Conversely, when you’re in a disempowered state, you’re blocked from accessing your internal resources, and you’ve set yourself up for massive failure.
- In terms of achieving success in sales, there are four key states that you need to learn how to trigger at will within state management. We call them the four Cs: Certainty, clarity, confidence, and courage.
- NLP and Anchoring State
- NLP has distilled the entire state management process into two core elements, both of which are under a person’s conscious control. The first of these two elements is: What you choose to focus on.
- The second of these two elements is: Your current physiology.
- Chapter 6: A Surefire Formula For Managing Your State
- There are five basic steps to NLP anchoring
- Step 1: Choose a state
- Step 2: Choose your focus
- Step 3: Choose your physiology
- Step 4: Intensify your state
- Step 5: Set your anchor
- The name of the product Jordan uses to set his anchor is BoomBoom
- Chapter 7: Advance Tonality
- Remember, it’s your words that move a prospect logically, and it’s your tonality that moves your prospect emotionally.
- Tonality is the secret weapon of influence, because it’s an unspoken language. Your prospect hears words without you having to say them, and gets influenced without even knowing.
- Always try to create at least some degree of urgency right before you ask for the order, as it will dramatically increase the likelihood of your prospect saying yes.
- First, verbal scarcity is used to convey the logic. Second, you add on tonal scarcity by using a power whisper, which greatly intensifies the prospect’s sense of scarcity.
- And third, you add on informational scarcity by explaining that even the information itself is in short supply.
- The next tonalities.
- Absolute certainty. In essence, with the tonality of absolute certainty, your voice takes a firmer, more definitive tone, with a power that seems to come right from your solar plexus, in order to convey your absolute conviction about whatever you happen to currently be saying.
- Utter sincerity. This is a calm, smooth, confident, low-pressure tone that implies that what you’re currently saying to the prospect is coming directly from your heart, and that you’re being absolutely sincere with them at the highest possible level.
- The reasonable man. Apply the reasonable man tone, which entails you raising your voice up at the end of the sentence, to imply the reasonableness of your statement. The extra words your prospect hears are “I’m reasonable, you’re reasonable, and this is a very reasonable requests.
- When a prospect hits you with one of the common objections – they still want to think about it. The first questions you’re going to ask them, no matter what objection they hit you with, is: “Does the idea make sense to you? Do you like the idea?”
- “Hypothetically speaking, putting money aside, does the idea make sense to you? Do you like the idea?”
- Chapter 8: Advance Body Language
- The bottom line is that nonverbal communication is ten times more powerful than verbal communication, and it hits you with the force of a cannonball to the gut.
- When a person lays eyes on you for the first time, in that 1/24th of a second that their judgment indicator goes up and down, they see your face and how you move and they make a judgement. In essence, they rip you apart, process you in their brain, then put you back together and you are judged.
- The best way to dress is in a style that’s congruent with your profession.
- Remember that getting into a rapport with someone is done primarily through tonality and body language, not your words.
- Here’s an interesting fact: if you don’t make eye contact at least 72 percent of the time, people won’t trust you.
- Active listening. This is a way of listening to someone that helps you actually build rapport with them.
- As simple as nodding your head while your prospect is speaking.
- Than you add an occasional nod, along with a few ahas! And yups! And I got its!
- There are other facial expressions too – like compressing your lips and lowering your head a bit, which implies sadness, or compressing your lips and nodding your head slowly, which implies sympathy and empathy.
- The audible cues are even more important when you’re on the phone and don’t have body language to rely on. In that case, those little grunts and groans are the only way to stay in rapport with your prospect while they’re talking.
- Matching can be a way to calm anyone down, or get them excited about something, or feeling certain about something. You simply enter their world where they are, and then you pace them, you pace them… and then you lead them in the direction you want them to go.
- Chapter 9: The Art of Prospecting
- Trying to sell something to someone who doesn’t need it or want it is fool’s errand and a total waste of time.
- When you gather intelligence, you want to know everything there is to know about your prospect, so long as it’s relevant to closing the sale – including their needs, beliefs, values, hierarchy of values(meaning, the relative importance of each value), their past experiences with similar products, past experiences with other salespeople, personal financial situation (insofar as affording your product), and both their primary and their secondary pain points.
- The fact that your ability to gather intelligence will be directly related to how powerful a first impression you make on your prospect during those first four seconds.
- In other words, the only way that your prospects will answer your questions honestly and forthrightly is if they perceive you as being a true expert in your field, and a person whose confidence and eloquence and bottles enthusiasm has left them no doubt whatsoever that you’re definitely a person worth listening to, someone who can help them achieve their goals and resolve their pain.
- Quick overview of the relationships between marketing and sales.
- You have marketing on one side of the equation, and sales on the other. The objective of marketing is to:
- Research the marketplace to identify the best prospective buyers – prospects, for short – for a particular product.
- Develop a cost-effective strategy that gets the company’s message in front of as many of these prospects as possible.
- Embed the message with some of offer or book or call to action that prompts as many of these prospects as possible to enter the company’s sales funnel.
- Coordinate with the sales departments to ensure a seamless handoff of the funnel, so prospects can be turned into customers.
- Straight Line prospecting is all about: sifting through prospects who enter your sales funnel to eliminate the ones who don’t qualify to buy your product – thereby avoiding wasting your time making a full-blown sales presentation to them.
- In any given marketing campaign, there are four categories of buyers who will enter your sales funnel. We call these the four buying archetypes.
- The first archetypes is called buyers in heat.
- Between 10 and 20 percent of the total prospects that enter your sales funnel will fall into this category
- The second buying archetype is called buyers in power.
- Between 30 and 40 percent of the total prospects that enter your sales funnel will end up falling into this category.
- The prospects from the remaining two buying archetypes need to be weeded out as quickly as possible, especially those who fall into the third archetype.
- The dreaded lookie-loos. Also known as “tire-kickers”
- Between 30 and 40 percent of their sales funnel is filled with professional time wasters (disguised as buyers in power), salespeople end up spending the bulk of their time making sales presentations to prospects who have no intention of buying.
- The fourth and final buying archetype, which I refer to as the mistakes, or “the people who were dragged there.”
- They had no desire to enter your sales funnel in the first place, so you have basically no chance of closing them.
- In summary the three main goals of Straight Line prospecting are as follows:
- Identify the lookie-loos and the mistakes and remove them from your sales funnel as quickly as possible.
- Gather the necessary intelligence from the buyers in heat and the buyers in power, and then continue moving them down the Straight Line towards the close.
- Begin the process of turning the buyers in power into buyers in heat by amplifying their pain.
- Chapter 10: The Ten Rules of Straight Line Prospecting
- When you’re properly engaging in the process of straight line prospecting, you’re doing each of the following four things:
- You’re sifting through the prospects in your sales funnel by asking them a series of strategically prepared questions.
- You’re using these questions to not only gather intelligence but also to separate the buyers in heat and buyers in power from the lookie-loos and the mistakes.
- You’re continuing to gather intelligence from the buyers in heat and buyers in power, while eliminating the lookie-loos and mistakes from your sales funnel as quickly as possible,
- You’re transitioning the buyers in heat and the buyers in power to the next step in the syntax, so they can continue their journey down the Straight Line.
- Rule #1: You are a sifter, not an alchemist.
- Rule #2: Always ask for permission to ask questions.
- Rule #3: You must always use a script.
- Rule #4: Go from less invasive questions to more invasive questions.
- Rule #5: Ask each question using the right tonality.
- Rule #6: Use the correct body language as the prospect responds.
- Rule #7: Always follow a logical path.
- A list of all seven questions in their most logical sequence.
- What part of town do you live in?
- How long have you been living there?
- What do you like most about your neighbourhood?
- Are you married or single?
- Do you have any children?
- What kind of work do you do?
- Are you self-employed or do you work for someone else?
- Rule #8: Make mental notes; resolve their pain.
- Rule #9: Always end with a powerful transition.
- Rule #10: Stay on the Straight Line; don’t go spiralling off to Pluto.
- Genuine rapport is based on two things. First that you care. Second that you’re just like them.
- We don’t associate with other people based on our differences; we associate based on our commonalities.
- You can’t close a sales while you’re out of rapport with your prospect; it’s that simple.
- You need to be actively building rapport throughout the entire sale, 100 percent of the time, without ever letting your guard down.
- Chapter 11: The Art and Science of Making World-Class Sales Presentations
- It’s these three distinctions – he cares about me, he understands me, and he feels my pain – that serve as the very foundation on which all rapport is built, and they come naturally to those who possess massive charisma.
- In fact, the power of charisma is so vital to a salesperson’s success that it’s almost impossible to find even a single top producer who doesn’t possess it in massive quantities.
- Charisma’s first component, which is the effective use of tonality – meaning, that you sound so good when you speak that you keep people hanging on your every word as opposed to them tuning out, or dividing their attention among other people in the room.
- The second component of charisma is the targeted use of body language principles, with a heavy emphasis on active listening, to communicate an extraordinary level of attentiveness and empathy.
- And charisma’s third component – which is typically the toughest one of all, for most people – is not saying stupid shit.
- Eight things that set Straight Line scripts apart from everything else out there. In essence these are the key features that must be in place in order for your script to be effective.
- First, your script must not be front-loaded.
- Front-loading is when you disclose all your major benefits right up front, which leaves you with nothing powerful to say to change your prospect’s mind when they hit you with the first objection.
- The key to writing a great script is to frame, not front-load.
- Second, focus on the benefits, not the features.
- Third, your script must have stopping-off points.
- After you make a powerful statement, you want to lock it down by asking the prospect a simple yes-or-no question, such as: “You follow me so far?” or “Make sense?” or “Are you with me?” By doing this, not only do you keep the prospect engaged in the conversation but you also get them into the habit of saying yes, which creates consistency.
- Fourth, write in the spoken word, not grammatically correct English.
- Fifth, your script must flow perfectly.
- Sixth, your scripts must be honest and ethical.
- Seventh, remember the overarching equation of energy in benefits out.
- Make it clear to your prospect that you will do everything in your power to make the process as simple as possible for them.
- And eighth, a Straight Line script is part of a series of scripts.
- The Power of Language Patterns
- Every word that escapes your lips has been specifically designed to feed into one overarching goal, which is to increase your prospect’s level of certainty for each of the Three Tens to the highest level possible, a 10 on the certainty scale.
- Now, in terms of the order in which you go about creating certainty, you’re always going to follow the same protocol, which is:
- The product.
- You, the salesperson second.
- And the company that stands behind the product third.
- The basic rules for creating a powerful introduction. We’ll assume an outbound phone call:
- Be enthusiastic right from the start.
- Always speak in the familiar. For example, you wouldn’t say “Hi, is Mr. Jones there?” You would say, “Hi, is John there?”
- Introduce yourself and your company in the first couple of sentences, and then restate the name of your company a second time within the first couple of sentences.
- Use power words, like “dramatically,” “explosive,” “fastest growing.” “Most well respected.” Power words go a very long way to capturing someone’s attention and establishing yourself as an expert.
- Use your justifiers.
- Ask for permission to begin the qualification process.
- Once you’ve gone through the script-building process and you’ve finalized your draft, there are only two things left to do: Training and drilling.
- You should always use a script, whether you’re selling in person or on the phone.
- Know your scripts so well you move past the point of the actual words. Remember, 10 percent of human communication is words; the other 90 percent is tonality and body language. By memorizing scripts, you free up your conscious mind to focus on the 90 percent.
- Keep reading your scripts back to yourself, to make sure all the language patterns and transitions are absolutely seamless.
- Chapter 12: The Art and Science of Looping
- The sale doesn’t truly begin until after your prospect hits you with the first objection; only then do you have the chance to finally roll up your sleeves and earn your paycheck.
- There are only three possible ways that your prospect can respond the first time you ask them for the order.
- Yes – meaning, the deal is closed and it’s time to break out the paperwork and collect payment.
- No – meaning, the prospect is definitely not interested and it’s time to end the sales encounter and move on to the next prospect.
- Or maybe – meaning, the prospect is sitting on the fence and can still go either way. Maybe consists of all the common objections that salespeople typically get hit with during the back half of the sale.
- In terms of which objection your prospect chooses, it doesn’t even matter, because you’re going to respond to all the common objections in exactly the same way.
- For example, let’s say Bill replies, “It sounds interesting. Let me think about it.” To that, you’ll answer with the standard Straight Line response to an initial objection, which is: “I hear what you’re saying, Bill, but let me ask you a question: Does the idea make sense to you? Do you like the idea?”
- In Straight Line parlance, we refer to this process as deflection, and it comprises step number six of the Straight Line Syntax. In essence, when you deflect a prospect’s initial objection, you’re avoiding answering it head-on by using a two-step process:
- Step one consists of a simple, five-word language pattern – I hear what you’re saying – which you’ve infused with the reasonable man tonality.
- Step two consists of another simple language pattern – Let me ask you a question: Does the idea makes sense to you? Do you like the idea? – Which you’ve infused with the money-aside tonality.
- Transition into your follow-up presentation when hit with an objection, using the same proven language pattern every time. You’re going to say, “Exactly! It really is a great buy at this level! In fact, one of the true beauties here is…” and then you’ll go directly into your follow-up presentation, which must be so utterly compelling that even the most sceptical of prospects will have no choice but to become logically certain after hearing it.
- THE ACTION THRESHOLD
- The action threshold is the collective level of certainty that a person needs to be at before they feel comfortable enough to buy.
- `The instant before you make a buying decision, your brain runs not one but two separate movies: it runs a positive one and a negative one. It happens so fast that you don’t even realize it.
- How to lower your prospect’s action threshold right on the spot.
- In total, there are four ways to do this. The first way is to offer your prospect a money-back guarantee. The second way is to offer your prospect a cooling off or rescission period. The third way is to use certain key phrases that paint a picture that runs counter to the worries and concerns that a typical high action-threshold prospect ruminates on. And the fourth, and most effective way by far, is to use a very powerful language pattern that allows you to temporarily “reverse” a high action-threshold prospect’s parallel movies – causing them to abandon their strategy of running an unrealistically long negative movie and an extremely abbreviated positive one.
- By taking these high-action threshold buyers and, for a few minutes, lowering their action thresholds, you can then step through that window and close what are about your most loyal customers.
- If there’s one thing about high-action threshold prospects that makes them more than worth the extra effort is it takes to close them, it’s that they make excellent long-term clients.
- They’re basically so happy to have finally found a salesperson who was able to break through their limited beliefs and earn their trust that they’ll stay put under almost any circumstance.
- People who are feeling significant pain tend to act quickly; conversely, people who are in denial of their pain tend to act slowly.
- “I feel your pain.”
- “Please don’t misconstrue my enthusiasm for pressure; it’s just that I know that this truly is perfect fit for you.”
- You do not want to use pain to disempower people; you want to use it to empower people by helping them make good buying decisions, so they can have the things that they truly need.
- SYNTAX OF THE STRAIGHT LINE
- First four seconds
- Build and get into massive rapport, both conscious and unconscious
- Gather intelligence
- Transition to the body of the presentation
- Ask for the order
- Deflect and build certainty through the process of looping
- Lower the action threshold
- Add on pain
- Close the deal
- Massive referrals
- Develop customers for life
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The first chapter presents events happening before Malcolm’s birth, during the time his mother was pregnant with him. Then, his mother was attacked by white supremacists because Malcolm’s father, Earl Little, was involved in a movement that supported the return to Arica of those who wanted it. Malcolm was the lightest skinned child in the family and his father began to take him with him to the UNIA meetings. His mother meanwhile stayed and home and cooked and cleaned for the family because she was unable to find work despite being very light skinned.
The family then moves to Lansing in 1929 but they don’t escape the problems being black brings. Their home is burned to the ground by white extremists and when Malcolm turn six, his father is killed. The Great depression also starts during those times and Malcolm’s mother is sent to a mental hospital after she refuses to accept free pork claiming that they can’t eat it because they are members of the Seventh Day Adventists.
Malcolm moves with a white foster family names Swerlins in 1937. Despite being good at school, his teachers don’t think that he will be able to achieve his dreams of being a lawyer. Over the years, Malcolm works as a dish washer and visits his mother and siblings as often as he can. In 1940, Malcolm moves with his half-sister Ella in Boston in a wealthy black neighborhood. While the Swerlings don’t understand his decision, Malcolm feels that he will be stuck in a menial job if he remains with them and so he decides to leave. Malcolm is fifteen when he decides to look for a job, knowing that he will able to pass as being several years older.
Chapter three presents Malcolm in Boston, exploring the new city and observing the differences between the wealthier blacks and the poor blacks. Malcolm criticizes the wealthier blacks because they try to imitate the whites and thus Malcolm is drawn to the poor population that remained true to who they really are. Malcolm meets Shorty while frequenting a pool hall and Shorty gets Malcolm a job in a ballroom where he works.
At the Ballroom, Malcolm shines men’s shoes, tends the men’s bathroom, sells condoms and passes towels while also learning that the ballroom’s income comes primarily from selling marijuana and serving as an intermediary between black dealers and white customers.
During his stay there, Malcolm changes drastically and he begins to drink, use drugs and he also changes the way he used to dress until then. After a while, Malcolm quits his job there and becomes a regular customer.
Malcolm begins to work as a clerk at a drugstore and it there where he meets Laura. Malcolm tells Laura about his dreams of becoming a lawyer and she encourages him to follow his dreams. Laura likes dancing and during one time when Malcolm and Laura are dancing at the Roseland, Malcolm meets Sophia, a white woman. Malcolm dumps Laura for Sophia and he begins to enjoy the status he has by dating a white woman.
Malcolm moves in with Shorty and after a few years he finds that Laura never recovered after Malcolm dumped her and she eventually became a prostitute. Malcolm begins working various jobs washing dishes or selling sandwiches until he earns enough money in the numbers racket. Malcolm also meets Sammy the Pimp and they soon become friends.
Malcolm moves into a rooming house where he learns many things about men in general from prostitutes. Malcolm’s life takes a turn for the worst when he loses his job after offering a cop to take him to a prostitute and losing his job. Malcolm begins to sell marijuana but the police prevent him from expanding his business. Malcolm soon becomes addicted and because he is unable to sell the product in his area, Sammy suggests that he should try and alternate between trying to sell marijuana in one place and then move to another area.
World War II begins and because many white men left for war, the population is more reluctant to accept interracial relationships. Malcolm continues to meet in secret with a white woman named Sofia while also escaping being drafted by the military.
Malcolm becomes unable to travel by railroad after an incident where he threatened someone with a gun during a train ride and because the police began to know him and his drug dealing business, he also became unable to sell drugs. As a result, Malcolm begins to traffic guns and be involved in robberies while also starting to use harder drugs.
Malcolm’s brother Reginald moves in with him and Malcolm arranges for him to sell different products on the streets. Things changed drastically in Harlem and the Savoy Ballroom is shut down, riots take place and prostitutes and hustler remain with no other choice but to find a legal job. Malcolm is also affected by this changes and he finds himself forced to live on what Reginald makes on the streets.
Malcolm works various illegal jobs and even gets involved with bootlegging with a Jewish man but that didn’t last long either because the man soon disappeared. After a disagreement Malcolm had with a man against who he betted, Malcolm is forced to run away to Boston in order to save his life. Shorty and Ella are amazed to see how much Malcolm has changed and Malcolm continues his relationship with Sophia while Shorty starts seeing Sophia’s younger sister.
In order to earn some money, Malcolm, Shorty and an Italian man named Rudy form a burglary ring and they rob the houses of rich white people with Sophia’s help. Malcolm is caught when one day he sees Sophia on the streets with one of her husband’s friends and blows her cover. Malcolm is eventually sentenced to serve ten years in prison.
During his time spent inside the Massachusetts state prison, Malcolm meets Bimbi who helps Malcolm grow by pushing him to learn more and use the small library in the prison to learn about various subjects. When Malcolm is moved to another prison with a bigger library, he continues to teach himself using the books he has. Malcolm also becomes a Muslim in prison and accepts the Nation of Islam’s principles.
During his stay in prison Malcolm becomes a member of a debate group and during his debates he always finds a way to bring the theme of racism into his speeches and begins to be obsessed with the idea of converting as many as he can to Islamism.
Malcolm’s brother, Reginald, goes insane after he is thrown out of Nation of Islam for being caught sleeping with a secretary and Malcolm believes that Reginald was punished for his sins.
Malcolm is released in 1952 and he contacts the Nation of Islam. Malcolm is taken as an example and he asks Elijah Muhammad how to attract more people to the faith but has little success in Detroit. He attracts more people as time passes and thus Malcolm changes his last name to “X” to symbolize the names that were robed through slavery. Eventually Malcolm is named assistant minister in Detroit and is sent to different locations to start new temples and to attract more people to the faith. Malcolm marries a woman named Betty who joined the temple in 1956 and with whom he has five children. In 1958, Malcolm’s half-sister Ella also joins the Nation of Islam and by the year 1965, numerous temples exist in Chicago, New York and Detroit.
Starting from 1957, Malcolm, the Nation of Islam and Elijah Muhammad begin to be attacked in the media. In 1959 Malcolm is sent as an emissary to other countries and it is also during those times when he begins to attack other black civil rights leaders. In 1960 mass rallies are being held by the Nation of Islam and even though at first they don’t allow white people to participate, they soon ease up and let them participate.
Malcolm also starts a newspaper and slowly he takes over the Nation of Islam when Elijah Muhammad becomes too old to travel as he did before. Malcolm also starts a circuit in which he held lectures at universities but because Elijah became jealous of his success, Malcolm gives up some of his activities.
The relationship between Elijah and Malcolm suffers again when Elijah becomes involved in two paternity suits. Elijah doesn’t confess and the relationship between Malcolm and the Nation of Islam breaks more. When Malcolm makes a comment towards president’s J.F. Kennedy’s assassination the temple is displeased and he soon starts to hear rumors about a possible warrant for his death. Because of this Malcolm moves to Florida temporally where he stays with a boxer names Cassius Clay who will take the name Muhammad Ali after his victory.
Malcolm forms his own religious group called the Muslim Mosque in Harlem and plans to make a trip to Mecca. Because Malcolm no longer has a job, Ella is willing to pay for his trip. Malcolm arrives in Cairo but there his passport is confiscated until it can be proven that he is indeed a Muslim. Omar Azzam, the friend of an influential Muslim helps him and Malcolm is able to continue his trip to Mecca where he is impressed to see everyone living in harmony. Malcolm changes his name to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz and he continues his trip, going from Mecca to Lebanon, Liberia, Morocco and Senegal before returning to New York.
During his travels, black began to riot and the press implied that Malcolm may be the one responsible. Malcolm continues to travel and he also expresses his fears that he will suffer a violent death and that he will not be able to see the autobiography finished, this being also the last chapter narrated by Malcolm.
The last chapter in the autobiography is the epilogue told from Alex Haley’s point of view and he recalls how he gained Malcolm’s and Elijah’s trust that eventually led to the writing of the autobiography. He also describes the death threats Malcolm received in his last days and ended with his assassination. The autobiography ends with the sheikh’s words that were present at Malcolm’s funeral, hinting that Malcolm was accepted into heaven.
Shout out to Nicola Francisc and gradesaver.com for doing this written summary
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Belief is the acceptance that something is true to us even though it may not be. I want to make it clear that the belief I want to explore is self-belief, not belief in religion. Believing in yourself and your dreams requires work. First, we practice daily faith then over time, our faith will turn into a belief that we can and will succeed in realizing our dreams. During the course of our lives we pick up unconscious negative beliefs from our environment, culture, TV, friends and even family. On your journey to success in manifesting your dreams, you will start rewiring new beliefs over the old ones. You will replace your old negative beliefs and install new positive beliefs into your mind through repetition and affirmation.
The first major belief we need to install is that the majority of people on this planet are well intent and good, not ill-intent and bad. I myself wasted many years with this wrong belief that the world was negative. It can sometimes seem like that, but what I discovered was that I was negative and so I was looking at the world through a lens of negativity. Once I changed my belief, to reflect that the majority of people are well intent, good and want nothing but peace, my world view changed purely by my new belief. Beliefs are the filter of our reality. If we change our beliefs, we change our reality.
BELIEVE IN YOUR DREAMS
A major part of the population goes through life with the weight of dead dreams never actualized in reality because they gave up on their belief that their dreams weren’t possible. They once had a thought that turned into a dream and they silently carried around with them in their head, never uttering their dream to another soul. Then one day they spoke of their dream to another unwitting soul, who listened unattentively and mutter back “That seems quite difficult, what about this and what about that.” And that person that spoke of their dream to another thought, “his right, this is difficult, I didn’t think about this or that,” “I can’t do this, what was I thinking” and never thought of that dream again, and continued a life unfulfilled. Can you relate to this story? Can you see that the dreamer accepted someone else’s belief about their dream and not their own? You must stand guard to the opinions of people and society and have unwavering belief in yourself and your dreams 100%.
GROW YOUR BELIEF THROUGH ACTION
Take the seed of a mighty oak tree. Place it in soil and everyday speak motivating words to it to grow and prosper. Continue this for a month 28 days without water and fertilizer. And abracadabra you end up with a dead seed and no tree. Instead, take the seed (thought), implant in the fertile soil (mind) and this time water the seed daily (take daily action) say, 5 to 10 years. And abracadabra you have an oak tree. An oak tree takes about 50 years to produce acorns and over the next hundred years, the young tree matures into a majestic adult. Things of importance in life don’t happen overnight, they take time to mature and grow, just like a baby takes decades to become an adult. Your belief’s grow and come alive through action, action, action. They die and wither away through inaction. The difference in growth and death is action vs inaction. Grow your belief through action.
QUOTES ON BELIEF
- A thought becomes a belief when you’ve worked on it reportedly, not when you simply try it once and use your initial inability as the rationale for giving up. (Wayne Dyer)
- Always remember, believing is seeing, not the other way around. (Bob Proctor)
- Ambition is, believing in yourself when no one else does. (Unknown)
- As you believe, so shall it be done unto you. (Earl Nightingale)
- Belief is any guiding principle, dictum, faith or passion that can provide meaning and direction in life. Beliefs are prearranged filters to our perceptions of the world. (Anthony Robbins)
- Belief is the motivating force that enables you to achieve your goal. (Claude M. Bristol)
- Belief is the thermostat that regulates what we accomplish in life. (David Schwartz)
- Belief itself has amazing powers. (Claude M. Bristol)
- Beliefs are picked up by the subconscious mind, and translated into its physical (Napoleon Hill)
- Beliefs are what makes us different. (Ben Stein)
- Believe big. The size of your success is determined by the size of your belief. Think little goals and expect little achievements. Think big goals and win big success. Big ideas and big plans are often easier-certainly no more difficult-than small ideas and small plans. (David Schwartz)
- Believe in yourself, there isn’t a skill you can’t learn, there isn’t a discipline you can’t try, there isn’t a class you couldn’t take, there isn’t a book you couldn’t read. (Jim Rohn)
- Believe it is possible to solve your problem. Tremendous things happen to the believer. So believe the answer will come, it will. (Norman Vincent Peale)
- Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact. (William James)
- Believe that what you imagine is possible for you. Go to work and make it real. (Jim Rohn)
- Believing it can be done becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. (Anthony Robbins)
- Choose beliefs that serve your soul, choose beliefs that serve the grander dream of who you choose to be. (Joy Page)
- Cultivated trust becomes belief. (Osho)
- Dehypnotize yourself from false beliefs. (Maxwell Matlz)
- Develop an unshakeable belief in your ability to overcome all obstacles and reach some great height. (Brian Tracy)
- Environment may be the single most potent generator of belief, but it’s not the only one. (Anthony Robbins)
- Have the simple belief that “you can do it.” (Richard Branson)
- He does not believe that does not live according to his belief. (Sigmund Freud)
- I suspend my belief in opposites by seeing myself in all. (Wayne Dyer)
- If you believe it strongly enough, it becomes your reality. (Brian Tracy)
- If you believe that you can do a thing, or if you believe you cannot, in either case, you are right. (Henry Ford)
- If you believe you can, you probably can. If you believe you won’t, you most assuredly won’t. Belief is the ignition switch that gets you off the launching pad. (Denis Waitley)
- If you believe, you will keep coming back until you succeed. (Anthony Robbins)
- If you change your beliefs in any area of your life, you begin immediately to change in that area. Your expectations, your attitudes, your behavior and your results all change. (Brian Tracy)
- If you develop the absolute sense of certainty that powerful beliefs provide, than you can get yourself to accomplish virtually anything, including those things that other people are certain are impossible. (William Phelps)
- If you don’t have solid beliefs you cannot build a stable life. Beliefs are like the foundation of a building, and they are the foundation to build your life upon. (Alfred A. Montapert)
- It is what you believe in that will determine the course of your life, what happens to you and your ultimate destiny. (Earl Nightingale)
- It takes a lot more energy to fail than to succeed, since it takes a lot of concentrated energy to hold on to beliefs that don’t work. (Jerry Gillies)
- Labels that are accepted and dwelt upon become believed. (Tom Hopkins)
- Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man. But sooner or later the man who wins is the man who believes he can. (Napoleon Hill)
- Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is. (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)
- Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn’t have it in the beginning. (Mahatma Gandhi)
- Most of our beliefs are generalizations about our past, based on our interpretations of painful and pleasurable experiences. (Anthony Robbins)
- Most of the sustained and continuing manifestations come as a result of belief. It is through this belief with its strange power that miracles happen. I refer now to deep-seated belief a firm and positive conviction that goes through every fiber of your being – when you believe it “heart and soul.” (Claude M. Bristol)
- Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside of them was superior to circumstance. (Bruce Barton)
- Once accepted, our beliefs become unquestioned commands to our nervous system, and they have the power to expand or destroy the possibilities of our present and future. (Anthony Robbins)
- One comes to believe whatsoever one repeats to one’s self whether the statement be true or false. (Napoleon Hill)
- One must marry one’s feelings to one’s beliefs and ideas. That is probably the only way to achieve a measure of harmony in one’s life. (Napoleon Hill)
- One person with a belief is equal to a force of ninety-nine who have only interest. (John Stuart Mill)
- Our beliefs affect our biology. The irrefutable scientific fact that stress causes disease, that positive emotions such as love and compassion cause a feeling of well-being and promote good health, are evidence that what we believe is directly connected to our physical state. It is also the foundation of what we think and do. (Bruce Lipton)
- Pain is the ultimate tool for shifting a belief. (Anthony Robbins)
- People who succeed are people who believe they can succeed. Success, until it has been won, is a mental thing. A man has only his mental picture and his belief, until he has achieved his goal. Belief in himself is one of man’s most difficult accomplishments. (Earl Nightingale)
- Perhaps the biggest mental roadblocks that you will ever have to overcome are those contained in your self-limiting beliefs. These are beliefs you have that limit you in some way. They hold you back by stopping you from even trying. (Brian Tracy)
- Personal breakthroughs begin with a change in beliefs. (Anthony Robbins)
- Personal experiences causes one’s beliefs to evolve into one’s knowledge. (Unknown)
- Someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality. (Les Brown)
- The force of belief cannot really work in our favor until the belief becomes literally part of us, settled in the subconscious mind as a fact. (Claude M. Bristol)
- The law of belief says that your beliefs determine your reality because you always see the world through a screen of prejudices formed by your belief structure. (Brian Tracy)
- The more we believe we can accomplish something, the more we’re usually willing to invest in its achievement. (Anthony Robbins)
- The more you believe in yourself, the greater will be your achievements. (Claude M. Bristol)
- The outer conditions of a person’s life will always be found to reflect their inner beliefs. (James Allen)
- The strongest factor for success is self-esteem; believing you can do, believing you deserve it, believing you will get it. (Bob Proctor)
- The word “belief” is a difficult thing for me. I don’t believe. I must have a reason for a certain hypothesis. Either I know a thing and then I know it. I don’t need to believe it (Carl Jung)
- The writer had at some point decided to believe that he was among the best, and so he acted and performed accordingly. (David Schwartz)
- There is a difference between wishing for a thing and being ready to receive it. No one is ready for a thing, until he believes he can acquire it. The state of mind must be belief, not mere hope or wish. Open-mindedness is essential for belief. Closed minds do not inspire faith, courage, and belief. (Napoleon Hill)
- To believe in the things you can see and touch is no belief at all; but to believe in the unseen is a triumph and a blessing. (Abraham Lincoln)
- Under all that we think, lives all we believe, like the ultimate veil of our spirits. (Antonio Machado)
- We do not achieve deeply felt goals by action alone, but are helped along depending on the quality and intensity of our belief that they will be achieved. (Claude M. Bristol)
- What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. (Napoleon Hill)
- What you believe about yourself, the world will believe about you. (Sun Tzu)
- What you believe is what will happen to you. For belief is faith, and faith is still the greatest power on earth. (Earl Nightingale)
- You always act in a manner consistent with your self-concept, consistent with the bundle of beliefs that you have acquired from infancy onward. (Brian Tracy)
- You do not necessarily believe what you see but you see what you believe. (Brian Tracy)
- Your belief determines your action and your action determines your results, but first you have to believe. (Mark Victor Hansen)
- Your beliefs give you a form of tunnel vision. They edit out or cause you to ignore incoming information that is inconsistent with what you have decided to believe. (Brian Tracy)
That’s a wrap on
50 Words to Your Dreams
Chapter 14: Belief
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Stay tuned for Chapter 15 in the series “ATTITUDE”
Brian Tracey says that if you are completely fluent in closing and absolutely confident in your ability to ask for the order you will be more aggressive in prospecting in the first place and have higher self esteem.
Because you know you can do what it takes to close the sale, you will feel like a winner most of the times.
This self confidence will even affect your prospects, making them in turn even more likely to buy from you.
Brian Tracey says that your personality constitute 80% of your success.
He says that top sales people have high level of self confidence and self esteem. Self confidence is the natural growth of liking and respecting yourself.
I liked how The Art of Closing The Sale stresses that mental fitness is like physical fitness. It requires a good mental diet and practice. And once you develop it, it will go beyond sales because how you feel about yourself is the single most determinant of the success of all of your relationships.
It’s a simple rule: like and care about yourself, and you will like and care about others.
You’re Self Employed
If you have been reading Brian Tracey you are likely to have heard this one before because it’s a big mantra for him. He says that no matter where you are employed, you should always consider yourself as self employed.
You are the president of your own company!
He says that top salespeople accept 100% responsibility for everything they do.
And the top 3% of people in every organization look at themselves as self employed. Not in the sense that they don’t belong to the company, but the opposite: they treat the company as if it belonged to them. And they took everything which happened to the company as if it happened to them.
Ambition And Empathy
Brian Tracey also restates that EQ more important than IQ.
A person with empathy will try to put himself in the shoes of the other person to see what he feels. And the author emphatically adds “if you can see John through John’s eyes you can sell John what John wants to buy”.
Empathy requires a long term thinking, and Brian Tracey says that a balance between ambition and empathy is what you should strive for. Too ambition and you’re too focused on the short term, don’t care about the customers and they will sense that. On the other hand if a salesperson is too empathetic he will not be assertive enough to ask for the close.
Believe In: You, Your Company, Your Product
Here’s another high impact, simple rule Brian Tracey brings to the table: your customer can never believe in your product anymore than you do.
There’s a relation between how much you believe in your product and your capability to convince your customer to believe in it.
When you get into business you will make a living. But when the business gets into you, you will make a great life.
What You Did Good, What Can You Do Different
Brian Tracey suggests to note down immediately after each sales call / meeting what you did good and what you can do different.
Notice that it’s “what can you do different” and not “what you did wrong”. By focusing on the positives and on what you can do different you program into your subconscious mind the best behaviour -like having a totally new interaction- and they’ll be ready at your disposal on the next call.
100 Calls Warm Up Period Program
The author recommends that for every new job / task or product you start, you should make an effort to have 100 calls and face to face interactions as soon as possible.
The focus of these calls is not necessarily to sell, but to get face to face time with prospects and tell them about your product or services.
And without focusing on sales it’s even possible you will make sales more easily.
In any case, the 100 calls warm up period will teach you much more than most people will learn in years (questions, customers feedback, customer issues etc etc).
And in the next two years you’ll find yourself doing sales to those 100 people you had calls with as it was easier to build a friendly vibe since you were not actively selling and didn’t put them under any pressure.
Sales Key Result Areas :
The Art of Closing The Sale goes into the major skills needed for selling. Any weakness in one of these areas will hold you back. And if you keep improving in each one of them, you’ll quickly get to the top.
- Establishing trust and rapport
- Identify customers’ problems and needs
- Present your product as the ideal solution
- Answering objections and concerns
- Getting agreement to proceed
- Obtain resales and referrals
Brian Tracey says that your goal is to make the closing as smooth as possible for the customer.
It should be quick and your whole presentation should be structured with the close in mind.
Top sales people know what they’re gonna say word for word and rehearse. Poor sales people wing it and sweat as they say whatever comes to their mind and hope.
6 major requirements to close
- Positive, enthusiastic and eager to close the sales : emotions are contagious
- prospect requirements must be clear to you -as a result of asking questions –
- the prospect must understand your product and its value for him
- prospect must believe and trust you (and have faith your company will deliver)
- the prospect must desire and want what you’re selling
- product must be suited for your customer
Close at the right time (avoid high pressure)
Make sure the prospect :
- Wants it
- Need it
- Can afford it
- Be able to use it and get full value out of it
Signals the closing time has come
These are some signals that your prospect is ready to move:
- Talking faster, becoming more upbeat and cheerful (from thoughtful and critical)
- Sudden friendliness – relax and maybe ask a personal question (answer warmly and close question)
- Chin rubbing – he’s probably thinking how to use your product. Stop talking, and when he comes up, ask a closing question
- Price, terms and delivery questions. Ask another question and you’ve made the sale
Him: How much does it cost ; You: how soon do you need it
Him: How soon can I get this ; You: how many do you want
- Any changes in attitude, posture or voice
Brian Tracey says you should be able to master at least 10 different closing techniques to be used depending on the person and the situation and the kind of objections you get.
Try them out multiple times and practice them more than once until you perfect them.
And you’re on your way to excellence.
You agree on the minor details so the customer implicitly decides on the major one. You help through the moment of indecision.
For example: would you prefer this in blue or green / would you prefer it on 60 or 90 days / would you like it delivered or would you like to take it with you today
You can ask “test closes questions” like “does this make sense to you” and if they say yes, assume they said yes to the sales and say “then the next step is this”.
It allows you to keep control of the interaction: the customer either goes along or raises another objection that you can address.
Selling past the sales
You begin talking about the joy of using the product and what will happen with it.
Tell (happy / sad) stories
Tell a happy story of a customer using your product. Or the sad story of a customer NOT using your product.
You can start with “BTW, this reminds me of Susan Smith, one of our customers.. “ . Once you talk about happy customers, you trigger an unconscious desire by customers.
If the customer is walking away saying he wants to shop around, tell him most people did that before coming back and shopping from you.
You can tell him: You can go out but why don’t you save that time and make a decision now. We can wrap up the deal right now and you’ll spare yourself all that researching time and happily go on with your life.
If he still insists he wants to go:
Only today close
It’s the last day of sales contest so you can make a discount.
This is only to be done AT THE END of the selling. Save it until the last moment.
Always ask for a referral.
One way is to visit each year customers of yours to make sure they are happy and then asking for a referral.
It was an impressive statement in The Art of Closing The Sale that made me think: most people work only a couple hours a day making the first phone call at 11 and the last at 3.
Sometimes it’s true indeed.
Brian Tracey says that if you think of your goals on a yearly basis like most people do it’s easy to waste time like that. The solution? You should instead think about your income goals in terms of hours.
And if you’re doing sales then prospecting, presenting and closing are the only 3 activities that pay you money. All the rest is waste.
Shout out to thepowermoves.com for doing this written summary
To buy the book, click the link in the image below to purchase from Book Depository
Sapiens A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
The Book in Three Sentences
Human history has been shaped by three major revolutions: the Cognitive Revolution (70,000 years ago), the Agricultural Revolution (10,000 years ago), and the Scientific Revolution (500 years ago).
These revolutions have empowered humans to do something no other form of life has done, which is to create and connect around ideas that do not physically exist (think religion, capitalism, and politics).
These shared “myths” have enabled humans to take over the globe and have put humankind on the verge of overcoming the forces of natural selection.
- Human cultures began to take shape about 70,000 years ago.
- There have been three major revolutions in human history: the cognitive revolution, the agricultural revolution, and the scientific revolution.
- Prehistoric humans (2 million years old or so) were no more important and impressive than other mammals.
- Homo Sapiens means “wise man.”
- Humans first evolved in Africa about 2.5 million years ago.
- The author believes it is unlikely Homo sapiens will survive for another 1,000 years.
- From about 2 million years ago until 10,000 years ago, multiple human species roamed the earth together. The depiction of man evolving from hunched over to upright incorrectly displays human evolution as a linear trajectory. In fact, the species lived simultaneously.
- Humans have huge brains for their body size.
- Human brains account for 2-3 percent of body size, but use 25 percent of energy.
- Human kind was very much in the middle of the food chain until 400,000 years ago and didn’t leap to the top of the food chain until 100,000 years ago.
- Most animals at the top of the food chain made it there gradually over millions of years. Humans, however, jumped to the top relatively rapidly. This means that the rest of the food chain wasn’t ready and neither were we. Hence we feel anxious and stressed because we aren’t used to being at the top.
- The advent of fire and cooking food may have opened the way for the evolution of a smaller intestinal track and a larger brain.
- There are two theories of how Homo sapiens evolved: Interbreeding theory and Replacement theory. The reality is probably a combination of both theories.
- Perhaps this is why Homo sapiens wiped out the Neanderthals: “They were too familiar to ignore, but too different to tolerate.”
- The last dwarf species of humans died out 12,000 years ago.
- Homo sapiens conquered the world because of its unique language.
- The Cognitive Revolution occurred between 70,000 to 30,000 years ago. It allowed Homo sapiens to communicate at a level never seen before in language.
- As far as we know, only Homo sapiens can talk about things we have never seen, touched, or smelled. Think religions, myths, legends, and fantasies.
- The telling of myths and stories allow Homo sapiens to collaborate in large numbers in extremely flexible ways.
- This separates us from all other animals.
- Chimps can’t form groups of more than 50 or so. For humans, the group size is usually 150 or so. Beyond that, you can’t rely on gossip and personal communication. You need something more to get large numbers of people working together.
- Large numbers of people can collaborate by sharing common myths and beliefs.
- In academic circles, stories are known as fictions, social constructs, or imagined realities.
- An imagined reality is not a lie because the entire group believes it.
- Ever since the Cognitive Revolution, humans have been living in a dual reality: the physical reality and the imagined reality.
- The way people cooperate can be changed by changing the stories as myths we tell.
- Because Homo sapiens shared myths were not genetically based, they could adapt and change their behavior as soon as they adapted their new belief. They didn’t have to wait millions of years for a genetic change.
- Homo sapiens are the only animals that conduct trade.
As far as we know, the humans of 30,000 years ago had the same physical, emotional, and intellectual capabilities that we have today.
- Evolutionary psychology claims that most of our psychology was developed during the period before the
- Agricultural Revolution about 10,000 years ago.
- The instinct to gorge on high calorie food is wired into our DNA.
- Ever since the Agricultural Revolution, there hasn’t been one predominant way of life for all humans. There have only been options from a variety of cultures.
- The dog was the first animal domesticated by humans around 15,000 years ago.
- In ancient human groups (over 10,000 years ago) there was very little privacy, but also very little loneliness.
- Most of our ancient ancestors had much wider and deeper knowledge of their physical surroundings than we do. They were not unintelligent at all.
- The human collective today knows far more overall than the whole population of 15,000 years ago. However, at the individual level we are much more specialized today. Ancient foragers were the most knowledgable and skillful people in history.
- It is far easier to pass “unremarkable” genes along today than it was 10,000 years ago.
- Our lack of knowledge about prehistoric religions and beliefs is one of the biggest holes in our understanding of human history.
- Humans traveling across the sea and landing in Australia was one of the most important expeditions in history.
- It marked the moment humans cemented themselves at the top of the food chain.
- Homo sapiens first made it to America about 16,000 years ago.
- The settling of America – across the Siberian peninsula through Alaska into Canada and the United States down through Mexico and Central America into the Andes and the Amazon and all the way to the tip of South America – was one of the most rapid and incredible invasions by a single species the world had ever seen.
- Incredibly, the Agricultural Revolution sprang up independently in many different parts of the world.
- There is no evidence modern humans have become more intelligent with time.
The Agricultural Revolution actually didn’t make the life of the average human better at first. It did, however, allow humans to collect more food per unit area and thus the overall population multiplied exponentially.
- Fascinatingly, the first few thousand years of the Agricultural Revolution actually made life harder for humans by creating more work, less leisure, and a ballooning population that created more mouths to feed. Each individual generation didn’t see how their life was becoming worse because the small changes were so tiny.
- One of history’s few iron laws is that luxuries tend to become necessities and to spawn new obligations. Once people begin to enjoy new luxuries they tend to become expected and then count on them.
- The evolutionary success of the Agricultural Revolution (greater population) was actually cause for much suffering on the individual level. Not just for humans, but for domesticated animals like cows, sheep, and chickens as well.
- The advent of the Agricultural Revolution marked the time when worries of the future became prevalent: the weather, the crop yield this year, etc.
- The myths that surround us and make up our lives dictate so much of what we believe and what we do.
- Like the ancient Egyptians, most people dedicate their lives to building pyramids. It’s just that the names, shapes, and sizes of the pyramids change from one culture to another.
- In order to change the imagined order, you must first find a group that believes in a current imagined order.
- New myths must build upon or evolve from previous myths.
- The main purpose of writing is to record numbers, which our brains did not evolve to manage well. Our brains are much better at remembering biological, zoological, and social information.
- There is an ancient writing system used by the Incas known as a quipu. They are not written words at all, but a series of knots of different colors and strings that represent words and numbers.
- Writing has actually changed the way humans think. We can use writing and record keeping to think far more categorically than ever before.
- Numbers are the world’s most prevalent language.
- Social hierarchies, inequality, and so on are human inventions.
- Most rich people are rich because they were born into rich families. Most poor people are poor because they were born into poor families.
- Unjust discrimination often gets worse, not better, with time.
- As of 2006, there were still 53 countries where a husband could not be legally prosecuted for raping his wife.
- When it comes to gender inequality: biology enables, culture forbids. The idea of “unnatural” behaviors is actually a result of Christian theology, not biology.
- If it is possible biologically, then it is natural. From a scientific perspective, two men having sex is natural.
- Traveling at the speed of light is not natural.
- Why are men valued in many cultures more than women?
- All human cultures are filled with inconsistencies. For example, America currently values individual freedom and equality. But these two ideals don’t always play nicely. It is part of the human experience to reconcile them.
- These inconsistencies aren’t necessarily bad. They force us to think critically. Consistency is the playground of dull minds.
- History is moving relentlessly toward unity. The whole planet is moving toward one world culture.
- The creation of money was purely an intellectual revolution. It doesn’t exist except in our minds.
- More than 90 percent of all money is just electronic data, not physical money.
- Everyone always wants money precisely because everyone else always wants money.
- Empires have been the world’s most common form of political organization for the last 2,500 years.
- In general, empires do not fall because of uprisings. They almost always succumb to outside invasion or splits from within the empower class.
- Most of what we firmly believe is part of “our culture” was actually forced upon us by other empires who conquered our ancestors.
- Despite the obvious negatives of empires taking over a culture, there are many benefits too. Art, music, governance, and more are the result of empires forming. Often, they blended new together with the conquered people to create a new culture.
- It seems obvious that we are moving fast toward a singe global empire. Global markets, global warming, and commonly accepted concepts like human rights make it clear we all need one collective entity, not man states and countries.
- Religion is the third great unifier of humankind, alongside money and empires.
- The Agricultural Revolution was accompanied by a Religious Revolution.
- Interestingly, polytheism is more open and accepting of multiple beliefs even though we often look at it as more barbarian and uneducated than our current beliefs.
- Monotheism seems to push away polytheism, but actually is very similar to polytheistic gods with the use of patron saints. Praying to the patron saints of farmers isn’t much different than praying to the god of rain.
- The central tension with monotheism is how to deal with the fact that there is evil in the world while the omnipotent God is believed to be good and caring. If God is good why would he allow evil things to happen?
- Even the rich and famous are rarely satisfied.
- According to Buddhist tradition: the mind naturally craves more in all situations. And all suffering arrives from craving.
- There are a variety of “natural law religions” that are popular today like communism, capitalism, and liberalism.
- Over the last 200 years, science has increasingly revealed that human behavior is determined by hormones, genes, and neurological synapses. If this is true, then for how much longer will we ignore that biology does not agree with the concept of free will?
- To describe how something happened means to reconstruct the series of specific events that led from one point to another.
- To describe why something happened means to find causal connections that led to this particular series of events to the exclusion of all others.
- The deeper your knowledge of a particular area of history, the harder it becomes to explain why one particular outcome occurred and not another.
- It is an inevitable rule of history that what seems obvious in hindsight is impossible to predict beforehand.
- The are level one and level two Chaotic Systems. Level one does not respond to predictions about it, like the weather and weather forecasts. Level two does respond to predictions about it, like the stock market and analyst reports about rising oil prices.
- There is no proof that history is working for the benefit of humans or that human well being increases overtime. It’s good for the victors, but is it good for us all?
- The Scientific Revolution started in Europe around 500 years ago. The last 500 years have witnessed an unprecedented growth of human impact.
- One difference between religion and science is that science assumes humankind does not know the answers to many of life’s biggest questions. Religion, however, assumes that the important stuff is already known. Science assumes human ignorance.
- Modern culture has been able to admit ignorance more than any previous culture.
- Previous cultures and belief systems compiled their theories using stories. Science compiles its theories using mathematics.
- The story of how Scottish Widows was founded is an awesome example of the power of probability.
- Scientists generally agree that no theory is 100 percent correct. Thus, the real test of knowledge is not truth, but utility. Science gives us power. The more useful that power, the better the science.
- The military arms race drives science forward in rapid fashion. The truth is war prompts many scientific discoveries.
- In the past, the best minds of the day worked on finding ways to give meaning to death. Today, our best minds work on preventing death through biological, hormonal, and genetic means. Science does not take death as an inevitability.
- The economic, religious, and political interests that impact the flow of money into scientific and technological research have a huge impact on the output of science.
- It is not enough to consider science in a vacuum. Economic and capitalistic interests, for example, determine what we research and what to do with the research findings.
- Why did Europeans discover and conquer the Americas? Why not the Chinese or those from India or the Middle East who possessed just as much knowledge and technology as the Europeans? The European ideology to explore the world was the primary difference.
- For most of human history, per capita production remained the same. Since the launch of capitalism, however, per capita production has skyrocketed.
- Modern capitalism has exploded the growth of humankind thanks to the creation of credit, which allows you to borrow money now because we collectively trust that the future will be better than the present.
- Adam Smith’s brilliant insight about capitalism in The Wealth of Nations was that increasing private profits is the basis for increasing collective wealth and prosperity. In other words, by becoming richer you benefit everyone, not just yourself. Both parties get a bigger slice of pie. (Note: this only works if profits get reinvested, not hoarded.)
- For capitalism to work, profits must be reinvested in new production.
- The “religion” of capitalism says economic growth is the supreme because justice, freedom, and happiness requires economic growth.
- All credit is based on the idea that science and technology will advance. Scientists ultimately foot the bill of capitalism.
- The annual sugar intake of the average Englishman rose from nearly zero in the early 17th century to 18 pounds in the early 19th century.
- The life expectancy, child mortality, and calorie intake are significantly improved for the average person in 2014 compared to 1914, despite exponential population growth.
- Until the industrial revolution, human behavior was largely dictated by solar energy and plant growth. Day and night. Summer and winter. Everything was determined by man power and animal power, which were determined by food, which is determined by photosynthesis.
- “This is the basic lesson of evolutionary psychology: a need shaped in the wild continues to be felt subjectively even if it is no longer really necessary for survival and reproduction.”
- Harlow’s infant monkey studies from the 1950s (and a variety of follow up studies) have shown that animals have strong psychological needs as well as purgative physical needs. Note to self: never disregard your psychological needs.
- Each year the United States population spends more money on diets than the amount needed to feed all the hungry in the rest of the world.
- Most people don’t realize just how peaceful of the times are we live in.
- In recent years, more people die from suicide each year than from war and violent crime. The same can be said for car accidents.
- Live a safe community, drive as little as possible, and love yourself. Violent local crime, car accidents, and suicide are some of the biggest killers of humans.
- War is at an all time low because the costs of war have increased because of nuclear weapons, the benefits of war have decreased because physical resources drive less of the economy and international trade is more lucrative than conquest, and the tightening of international connections because a worldwide culture is less likely to battle itself.
- Our view of the past is heavily influenced by recent events.
- Researchers have investigated nearly all aspects of history, but have rarely have asked whether historical changes have made humans happier.
- Nietzsche: “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”
- If happiness is based on pleasurable feelings, then increasing our happiness is a matter of increases biochemical release. If happiness is based on meaning, then increasing our happiness is a matter of deluding ourselves about the meaning of our lives.
- One uncommonly cited benefit of religion: belief in the afterlife gives meaning to your life in the present.
- Buddhism has studied happiness for over 2,000 years. Interestingly, Buddhism shares many viewpoints on happiness with science. Most notably, that happiness results from processes within the body and not from the outside world.
- The Buddhist philosophy of happiness centers around the idea that you are not the events that happen to you, but you are also not the feelings you have. You are not your feelings. They are just feelings. Thus, if you understand this, you can release the needs to keep chasing the need to feel happy or to not feel angry or to not feel sad. In other words, you have to understand yourself.
- For close to 4 billion years, every organism developed according to evolution. But in recent decades, humans have begun to evolve according to intelligent design. In other words, there are people who would have been selected out of the gene pool millennia ago, but not today.
- Genetic engineering is allowing humans to break the laws of natural selection.
- The next stage of human history will not only involve biological and technological changes, but also changes in human consciousness and identity. Changes that are this fundamental will call the very term “human” into question.
- Many people think the question we should ask to guide our scientific pursuits is, “What do we want to become?” However, because we seem to be on the path to genetically engineering and programming nearly every facets of our wants, desires, and consciousness, the real question we should ask is, “What do we want to want?”
- In the past 1000 years, humans have evolved to take over the world and are on the verge of overcoming natural selection and becoming gods. Yet, we still seem unhappy in many ways and we are unsure of what we want. Is there anything more dangerous that dissatisfied and irresponsible gods who don’t know what they want?
Shout out to jamesclear.com for doing this written summary
To buy the book, click the link in the image below to purchase from Book Depository
Psycho Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz : Book Summary
”The science of Cybernetics does not tell us that “man” is a machine but that man has and uses a machine. Moreover, it tells us how that machine functions and how it can be used.”
”Creative striving for a goal that is important to you as a result of your own deep-felt needs, aspirations and talents (and not symbols which the “Joneses” expect you to display) brings happiness as well as success because you will be functioning as you were meant to function. Man is by nature a goal-striving being. And because man is “built that way” he is not happy unless he is functioning as he was made to function – as a goal-striver. Thus true success and true happiness not only go together but each enhances the other.”
”Whatever your definition of happiness may be, you will experience happiness only as you experience more life. More living means among other things more accomplishment, the attainment of worthwhile goals, more love experienced and given, more health and enjoyment, more happiness for both yourself and others.”
THE BIG IDEAS
- Experience Is Important
“Human beings always act and feel and perform in accordance with what they imagine to be true about themselves and their environment.”
Dr. Maltz begins with a preface describing a bit of the background behind his book. As a plastic surgeon, he saw example after example of patients who would have their outward appearance transformed (via plastic surgery), but wouldn’t end up any happier as a result of having had their surgeries. In short: their outward appearance would change, but their internal feelings and attitudes would remain the same.
In his investigations he discovered cybernetics—the actions and requirements of machines in accomplishing tasks. This field of cybernetics was then applied to people, resulting in an application of how people achieve success, or failure.
People’s experiences are similar to a machine’s programming. Both lead to certain outcomes, and both can be changed. As the field of psychology developed, it became clear that even in a controlled laboratory, people could use experiences “imagined vividly and in detail” to change outcomes.
The book Psycho Cybernetics was written to be experienced. Each chapter should be read actively, making notes about the points that appeal to you, and creating your own summaries and analysis. There are practice exercises to complete throughout the book. As you take action, remember this point; “It usually requires a minimum of about 21 days to effect any perceptible change in a mental image.” So keep practicing the exercises, and working through the knowledge you’re gaining.
- You Can Change Your Self-Image And Success Mechanism
“Whether we realize it or not, each of us carries about with us a mental blueprint or picture of ourselves…It has been built up from our own beliefs about ourselves. But most of these beliefs about ourselves have unconsciously been formed from our past experiences, our success and failures, our humiliations, our triumphs, and the way other people have reacted to us, especially in early childhood.”
Although you are not conscious of it, your self-image has developed as a result of your past experiences. You tend to believe this self-image, and live your life based on this belief of yourself. This explains how some people seem to always be successful, and others constantly fail. Their subsequent experiences will support the self-image they have of themselves.
Many people’s attempts at changing their self-image are external—as witnessed by Dr. Maltz in his plastic surgery practice. Some have tried positive thinking about the future, without actually addressing their beliefs about their self-image. This is where Dr. Maltz discovered the great potential for change—in directing activity at your self-image. He discovered that true happiness and satisfaction in life comes from “an adequate and realistic self-image that you can live with.”
The secret, Maltz tells us, is this: “To really live, that is to find life reasonably satisfying, you must have an adequate and realistic self-image that you can live with. You must find your self acceptable to you.”
Dr. Maltz sees the subconscious as a mechanism that the mind controls. He calls this our Creative Mechanism. It will function based on the goals it is given. These goals are based on your self-image. This self-image dictates the limits of your accomplishments—what you believe you can do. The Creative Mechanism uses past memories as structure for solving current problems.
Within all of us is also a Success Mechanism. This is the structure and function designed for any “activity which is intimately tied in to [your] “living” or makes for a fuller life.”
There are many ways that your brain and nervous system operate as a machine. Although Dr. Maltz is clear in that you are NOT a machine, he makes numerous analyses that show how the brain and nervous system are machine-like in their operation. He calls these “servo-mechanisms”. The field of Psycho Cybernetics seeks to understand how the brain works in these machine/mind terms.
In addition to your brain’s amazing capabilities, there is support to the concept that your brain can access subconscious knowledge outside of its own experiences. This access to universal knowledge is acquired through analysis, contemplation, and striving for answers. “Science has now confirmed what philosophers, mystics, and other intuitive people have long declared: every human being has been literally “engineered for success” by his Creator. Every human being has access to a power greater than himself.”
The first practical applications involve internalizing the following five concepts:
- Your success mechanism must have a goal or target that you believe already exists (it can exist in actuality, or in potential).
- Your mechanism focuses on the END, NOT the MEANS. When you supply the goal, your mechanism finds a way.
- Making mistakes helps to direct you toward your goal. It provides an autocorrect that helps you redirect towards your goal.
- You gain skill by redirecting your errors until you are heading in the right direction. Then, you must FORGET the past (the errors), and focus on the final successful choice that led you in the right direction.
- Trust in the process without worrying about it or trying to adjust it. “You must “let it” work, rather than “make it” work.” Your success comes as you act, and the proof of your success follows, so you can’t look for success before actions.
- The Importance Of Imagination
“For imagination sets the goal “picture” which our automatic mechanism works on. We act or fail to act, not because of “will,” as is so commonly believed, but because of imagination.”
Your thoughts and actions are based on what you imagine as truth. Hypnosis is an excellent example of this in action. “Your nervous system reacts appropriately to what “you” think or imagine to be true.”
You often react automatically to your environment. Seeing a bear will make you feel fear and run. It’s not something you need to think about first. You automatically react to the environment based on what your nervous system tells you, regardless of whether this information is true or not. It is what you believe to be true that causes the reaction. Numerous studies have shown that mental practice improves actual performance. The key is to practice the correct mental image of the actual action.
Remember that “your physical brain and body functions as a machine which “YOU” operate.” When you practice something in your mind, you are establishing the goal to aim for. This activity is far more successful than employing will power, or ‘trying harder’. You are able to relax, picture the process, and enjoy the journey.
You can also use this method to develop an excellent self-image. Seeing yourself differently will lead to acting differently, and improving yourself. Some have called this self-image “the strongest force within you.” Although this is only achieved when you create an honest picture of yourself (not arrogant or egotistic), many people underrate themselves, so seek the best in yourself, and aim high!
You’ve already build a self-image based on past experiences. “Now you are to use the same method to build an adequate self-image that you previously used to build an inadequate one.” Use 30 minutes a day to relax, close your eyes, and imagine you are watching a movie of you. Get detailed. This is your mental practice for life. View positive interactions, opportunities, responses and dreams. Don’t worry if you don’t believe it—that will come. Think about how each of your senses will experience what you are imagining. Imagine positive feelings that you will experience. And remember that it may take you at least 21 days of practicing this before you notice changes. Practice will lead to new, automatic responses based on the self-image you are developing.
When you are successfully hypnotized, it is because you believe what the hypnotist is saying. In this sense, you have been hypnotized throughout your life. You believe what someone has said to you or about you, and this belief has led to certain actions. Perhaps you’ve been told you are dumb, ugly, or bad at math. You have accepted these statements and then felt obligated to act them out in order to ‘be yourself’.
The reverse of being hypnotized into negative beliefs is also possible. People have been hypnotized and behaved far beyond what their conscious restrictions would allow them. In a sense they were dehypnotized so that they could achieve what they were truly capable of. As Maltz tells us: “Within you right now is the power to do things you never dreamed possible.”
Inferiority comes when we measure ourselves against someone else’s ‘normal’ rather than our own. We believe we should be what they are, and determine that we are unworthy… NOT true. “We have allowed ourselves to be hypnotized by the entirely erroneous idea that “I should be like so-and-so”. This leads to more striving, more inferiority, and a miserable life.
The solution lies in knowing that you are uniquely you, and will never be someone else. You’re not supposed to be. Your uniqueness is valuable, and only yours to have.
So how do you undo these types of negative beliefs about yourself if you’re holding onto them?
In order to undo a negative belief or behavior, we need to begin by relaxing.
This leads to Dr. Maltz’ second practice exercise in the book—using imagination to relax. Get comfortable, and consciously relax each muscle group in your body. Don’t let this be work—just do what you can easily do. Move through mental images of relaxation.
Practice going through all of these mental images over and over again. You will develop stronger connections between mental images and how you feel physically, and become better at relaxation.
- Using Rational Thinking And Relaxation
”Scientific experiments have shown that it is absolutely impossible to feel fear, anger, anxiety, or negative emotions of any kind while the muscles of the body are kept perfectly relaxed.”
Rational thinking works for changing beliefs and behaviors. You do not have to unbury every negative unconscious thought in order to change. Focusing on a mistake or guilty feelings can make the mistake the actual goal. Instead, remember that negative experiences helped you orient towards your goals, and then can be forgotten as you practice traveling in the right direction towards your goals.
It has been theorized that those who are successfully hypnotized to do amazing things have simply had negative memories purged so they could achieve greatness. It follows that you can consciously purge negative memories and unlock your own innate success. When you begin to feel negative, look for the cause, and dismiss this cause as absurd. Determine that the irrational will not control you. Repeat this practice whenever negative thoughts and memories start to surface. Look for new, rational, positive beliefs that resonate with you.
Identify a belief about not being able to do something. Evaluate it using the following questions: 1. “Is there any rational reason for such a belief?” 2. “Could it be that I am mistaken in this belief?” 3. “Would I come to the same conclusion about some other person in a similar situation?” 4. “Why should I continue to act and feel as if this were true if there is no good reason to believe it?” Really evaluate your responses. Get mad about beliefs that have interfered with your success and happiness. Allow this anger to spur you on to new beliefs and great success.
Rational thoughts must be joined by feelings and desires. Long for who you want to be, and what you want to have. Get excited about these desires. This process is exactly like worrying, except that now you are dwelling on positive, desirable things instead of negative things. As you change your goal picture and engage your positive emotions the possibilities will become more real.
“It is the job of conscious rational thought to decide what you want, select the goals you wish to achieve – and concentrate upon these rather than upon what you do not want.” Focus on the current task. Do everything you can under the best of assumptions, and then let the results happen.
There is a limit to rational thought. If you focus on achieving results with rational thought, you begin to develop anxiety and feelings of stress. Instead, once you have determined your goals and you are taking action towards them, let go of making success happen. You can see how that works when examining the lives of very creative individuals. Their creative breakthroughs come from spontaneity when their rational mind has relaxed. They have a goal, a question, or a need for a solution that they have consciously examined. But once they have done what they can, they ‘let go’ and inspiration comes. We are all creative, and too much “conscious effort inhibits and “jams” the automatic creative mechanism.” Releasing this inhibition of your creative mechanism can lead to creativity, spontaneity, and truly being yourself.
Take the time to research, prepare, and make good decisions. And then, once the wheels are in motion, relax. You’ve done what you can. Give your attention now to this moment you are in. Live in today without worrying about the future, or mulling over the past. Your attention to this moment allows your creative mechanism to respond at its best. Allow your senses to absorb the experiences of this moment. Avoid multitasking, as this takes the focus away from the moment. Do one thing at a time. “Even on the busiest day the crowded hours come to use one moment at a time”. Taking this approach relieves worry, stress, and feeling overwhelmed.
Let problems go at the end of the day. Sleep on it, and allow your creative mechanism time to work without your conscious getting in the way. Dreams often lead to amazing breakthroughs. Write down what you need to do the next day, make a plan, or identify your problem, and then go to sleep. Have a pen and paper ready beside your bed to record your morning insights.
Use your relaxing practice to ‘remember’ how to achieve a feeling of relaxation in the middle of your day. Just take a moment, and recall the details and sensations of your relaxation practice. This reduces fatigue and increases coping skills and creativity.
- Making Happy Habits And Having A Successful View
“Happiness is not something that is earned or deserved. Happiness is not a moral issue, any more than the circulation of the blood is a moral issue…Happiness is simply a “state of mind in which our thinking is pleasant a good share of the time.” If you wait until you “deserve” to think pleasant thoughts, you are likely to think unpleasant thoughts concerning your own unworthiness.”
Happiness is not selfish, wrong, or something to be earned. Being happy leads to unselfishness, creativity, and helpfulness – naturally. Unhappiness leads to terrible, even criminal behavior.
Happiness is learned behavior and thoughts. It must be practiced in the present moment, and cannot “be made contingent upon solving some external problem.” Learning to be happy means being free from the habit of responding negatively to the external things around us.
Part of being happy involves separating facts from opinions. Losing your savings in the stock market is a fact, being embarrassed and destroyed by it is an opinion—an unhelpful opinion that you, yourself choose to accept. Many things that are seen as impossible are opinions, not facts. The key here, is to recognize when to separate one from the other.
Working towards goals often leads to feeling happy. It is your thoughts about events that lead to your feelings. If bad things happen, see them as challenges; then, get yourself a goal and start working towards it. As Maltz tells us, “Form the habit of reacting aggressively and positively toward threats and problems. Form the habit of keeping goal-oriented all the time, regardless of what happens.” Use your imagination to picture yourself handling challenges in positive, smart ways.
Happiness is something you do and something you choose. Consciously choose to think pleasant thoughts. Perform surgery on your negative thoughts – cut them out – and replace them with beautiful thoughts. Changing your self-image will impact your habits, and changing your habits will impact your self-image. “When we consciously and deliberately develop new and better habits, our self-image tends to outgrow the old habits and grow into the new pattern.” Most of your actions, feelings, and responses are habit. That means they can be changed.
The following practice exercise starts at your feet. Put your shoes on opposite to usual, and tie them differently. Use this as a reminder for change, saying “I am beginning the day in a new and better way.” In your day, choose to be cheerful, more friendly, less critical, more tolerant, focused on success, separating opinions and facts, smiling, reacting calmly and practice for 21 days.
In order to be successful you need to be clear about what success looks like. Use this acronym:
- S-ense of direction
Sense of direction is about maintaining your own personal focus and goals, rather than trying to go where other people think you should. It’s also about always having a goal you are working for.
Understanding comes when you can separate fact from opinion. This often means taking a step back, and seeing a situation/memory/feeling for what it really is, rather than from a biased viewpoint. “Admit your mistakes and errors but don’t cry over them. Correct them and go forward.”
Having courage to act on your goals and beliefs can make them reality. You can practice courage by taking small steps every day in little things, like striking up a random, friendly conversation with a stranger.
Charity can start with treating other people with more kindness. This leads to treating yourself with more kindness. Charity recognizes that people are valuable and important. Appreciate others, care about them, and treat them with care.
Esteem involves having a healthy, good mental picture of yourself and treating the people around you with appreciation.
Self-confidence grows as successful experiences increase. You can develop this by “remembering past successes, and forgetting failures.”
Self-acceptance is accepting yourself right now for who you are, and remembering that, “Creating a better self-image does not create new abilities, talents, powers – it releases and utilizes them.”
- Get An Emotional Face Lift And Unlock Your Real Personality
Someone with a good self-image will not easily become emotionally damaged. The same for someone with a self-reliant attitude. “Assume responsibility for your own life and emotional needs.”
It is your response to experiences that can leave emotional scars. Practice relaxation, and focusing on peaceful images. This will help prevent these scars.
In order to lose emotional scars, they have to be removed. “Forgiveness, when it is real and genuine and complete, and forgotten – is the scalpel which can remove the pus from old emotional wounds, heal them, and eliminate scar tissue.” This means forgiving, and forgetting. Forgiveness happens when you recognize that the ‘debt’ (the purpose for the unforgiveness) is invalid. Condemnation and hatred should not have been given any place in your life. “We ourselves err when we hate a person because of his mistakes, or when we condemn him, or classify him as a certain type of person, confusing his person with his behavior”.
You must also forgive yourself. You’ve made mistakes, but hating yourself for them is futile. “So remember “You” make mistakes. Mistakes don’t make “You” – anything.” You may have failed at something, but you are not a failure. Carrying judgment and living with scars happens when you live in the past. Instead, relax, practice forgiveness, have flexible but strong ‘skin’, be creative, and let yourself be a little vulnerable.
Unlocking your real personality is about showing outwardly your “unique and creative self”. When people are inhibited they keep their real personality locked up. Often this is because they are over-experiencing negative feedback. Instead of using negative feedback to correct course, they over-correct, or cease taking any action at all. It can also occur when people are excessively careful. A solution is to practice relaxation. This enables you to be freer, less tense, and less inhibited.
Self-consciousness can also lead to inhibition. Being self-conscious is really about being too conscious of others. You monitor everything you do and say because you are concerned with how others might see you. You can begin to deal with self-consciousness by (again!) relaxing. Remember a time and place when you were with people who made you feel comfortable and supported. Recreate this feeling when you are with others, and your self-consciousness will begin to fade. Practice disinhibition – “being less careful, less concerned, less conscientious.”
- Self Tranquilizing
Often your responses to stimuli are conditioned – things you have learned to do, and now do automatically. An example is picking up your phone whenever you hear a notification. You can undo this condition. If you can’t ignore the stimulus, start by delaying your response to it. As you learn to not respond, you are actually practicing relaxation. This state of relaxation encourages positive feelings, which is a natural form of tranquilizer. Remember the relaxation exercises at the beginning of the book. “Protect yourself from disturbing stimuli by maintaining the relaxed attitude.”
Mentally create a quiet room – a place of total relaxation in your mind. Go to this mental place to rest, have a break from stimulus, and renew yourself. Practice going to this room before sleep, and before tackling challenges. You will begin to carry this calmness to other parts of your life – with positive benefits.
Another calming practice is to refuse to respond to all of the negative possibilities you might think of during the day. Instead, focus on your goals, and dismiss ‘what ifs’ as unreasonable and not worthy of a response.
- Finding The Good In Crisis And Feelings
“A “crisis” is a situation which can either make you or break you. If you react properly to the situation, a “crisis” can give you strength, power, wisdom you do not ordinarily possess.”
To learn to turn crisis into opportunity, you first need to practice reacting to challenges without the pressure of a crisis situation. This is similar to practicing fire drills before a fire. You learn the actions without stress so you can take those same actions when the pressure is on. You also carry over an attitude of calmness and competence. Learn to react to crisis with an active (rather than a passive) response. Finally, evaluate ‘crisis’ situations so you can identify the true ones from ones that are not true crises.
When you face a crisis, be confident and assertive. “This means maintaining an aggressive, a goal-directed attitude, rather than a defensive, evasive, negative one: “No matter what happens, I can handle it, or I can see it through,” rather than, “I hope nothing happens.”
There are times when your greatest challenge may be making a goal you can get excited about. Since your brain can’t tell the difference between real and vividly imagined experiences, you brain will coordinate negative feelings if you are focusing on the failures that might come of goal setting.
Bring to mind feelings of success by focusing on positive things. These feelings lead to successful actions and outcomes. You can also take time to recall successes in your past. The imprinting in the brain is strong for these, and becomes stronger with recall. The winning feeling accompanying those past successes will carry over into your current goal seeking activity.
If you haven’t experienced a great deal of success, begin with small measures you are successful at, and build on these, both with repeats of the success, and growing memories. Gradually increase the challenges and successes, as if you are weight-training. You will become accustomed to success.
Negative feelings (“fear, anxiety, lack of self-confidence”) are “indicative only of attitudes of mind within you – not of external facts which are rigged against you. They mean only that you are underestimating your own abilities, overestimating and exaggerating the nature of the difficulty before you, and that you are reactivating memories of past failures rather than memories of past successes.” You can counteract these feelings by directly confronting them, or by substituting them with positive feelings.
If you tend to be a worrier, your solution is to practice “immediately substituting pleasant, wholesome, mental images, for unpleasant “worry images.”” You replace the habit of worry with a habit of wholesome positive thinking.
You can change your thinking from negative to positive. It takes a great deal of practice to create this new habit. Using vivid mental images in your replacements will increase your success. Instead of focusing on will power, focus on positive images that generate great feelings.
- Better Days, Better Life
“I believe that there is ONE LIFE, one ultimate source, but that this ONE LIFE has many channels of expression and manifests itself in many forms. If we are to “Get More Living out of Life,” we should not limit the channels through which life may come to us. We must accept it, whether it comes in the form of science, religion, psychology, or what not.”
Living with a failure mechanism in place can slow healing, and lead to overall poor health. Resentment and hatred are also bad for your health. Dr. Maltz found that his patients that recovered faster were optimistic, positive thinkers who had a reason to get better – some goal, or something good in their future. “Mental attitudes can influence the body’s healing mechanisms.” This is even obvious with the success of placebo treatments. People who believe they are receiving healing medication improve.
What you believe works in your life will very often work for you. Even your views of aging will impact how you age. There are seven needs that, when fulfilled, lead to a better life. These needs are for love, security, creative expression, recognition, new experiences, self-esteem, and the need for “more life – the need to look forward to tomorrow and to the future with gladness and anticipation.”
This desire for more life leads to more life. “I believe that we establish this need by looking forward to the future with joy and anticipation, when we expect to enjoy tomorrow, and above all, when we have something important (to us) to do and somewhere to go.”
Creativity also leads to a longer life. Many creative people produce their greatest works after eighty. It may also explain why some men die soon after they retire. They no longer have a creative/productive outlet.
Your life is like a machine that you can develop, control, and change through your thoughts and beliefs.
- Develop a healthy self-image based on facts
- Work with a success mechanism, believing and thinking about great possibilities you can achieve
- Use the power of your imagination to learn complete relaxation, successful imagery, and mental practice of future physical actions
- Develop happy habits, practice self-hypnosis, and turn crisis into opportunity
- Embrace opportunities to live a long, happy, healthy life
BONUS NOTES + CRUCIAL QUOTES:
- “The imagination, aimless, may provide pleasant entertainment. Applied purposefully, it can effectively program your self-image and, in turn, your Automatic Success Mechanism to realize whatever goals you choose.”
- “You can give problem-solving or idea-getting tasks to your servo-mechanism, send it off on a search while you do other things, even while you sleep, and have it return with useful material you didn’t know you knew and might never have obtained through conscious thought or worry.”
- “You act and feel not according to what things are really like, but according to the image your mind holds of what they are like. You have certain mental images of yourself, your world, and the people around you, and you behave as though these images were the truth, the reality, rather than the things they represent.”
Shout out to meaningfulhq.com for doing this written summary
To buy the book, click the link in the image below to purchase from Book Depository
Sam Walton Made in America
Jack Welch said, “Sam Walton understood people the way Thomas Edison understood innovation and Henry Ford, production. He brought out the very best in his employees, gave his very best to his customers, and taught something of value to everyone he touched.”
If you want to succeed in a business, read this book. Don’t think, “I’m just starting a small bookstore. Walton would be talking way over my head.” Think again. Walton started from scratch. What he learned along the way applies to everything from corporate giants to lemonade stands.
Sam Walton was passionate about retailing, and his passion leaps off the pages. I don’t get the feeling that he’s saying, “look at how great I am.” Rather, he’s just telling the story of building Wal-Mart through his eyes, warts and all. Bonus: he allows associates and family members give their two-cents worth in text boxes, even if their opinion is less than flattering.
It doesn’t take many pages to realize that Walton loved his work and pursued it with boundless energy. If he had been in it solely for the money, he’d have left Wal-Mart when he was worth his first billion. But he loved his work. During his final weeks on earth, dying of cancer, his family brought in a local Wal-Mart manager to chat with Walton about his store’s sales figures.
What gripped me the most about Walton – his relentless search for better ideas. He read everything he could get his hands on, learned from his competitors by spending time in their stores, asked endless questions of experienced retailers, listened to employees at all levels of Wal-Mart and invented creative ways to foster an idea-driven culture.
Sam Walton: A Passion to Learn
Wal-Mart is the largest retailer in the world and the second largest corporation in the world, with a 2005 income of over $11 billion. It’s the largest employer in both the United States and Mexico. (2)
It was started by a country boy who for his entire life loved calling his bird dogs into his old pick-up truck to go tramping through the woods quail hunting. The story of how he became the best merchant who ever walked the planet can tell us a lot about achieving our own success.
Work Around Your Weaknesses
Sam Walton wasn’t all strengths. Academically, he didn’t consider himself a gifted student in high school, but he worked hard and made good grades. (3) He also made it through college, although he wasn’t that great at accounting. (4)
According to Sam, he “never learned handwriting all that well.” Nobody could read it. Also, he’d screw up organizational details, like sales slips and cash register transactions. At Penney’s, his first full-time job out of college, the man over personnel told him,
“Walton, I’d fire you if you weren’t such a good salesman. Maybe you’re just not cut out for retail.” (5)
That guy didn’t have a strength in discernment. Walton would become the best retailer ever.
Walton was a terrible driver (6) and admitted to being hopelessly disorganized. (7) People would show up for scheduled appointments from out of town and Walton would be out of town visiting a store. His personal secretary finally refused to make appointments for him, knowing he might not show.
Build on Your Strengths
But Walton also had strengths, which he developed tirelessly. He was a great leader and team builder. (8)
He set extremely high personal goals (9), which he accomplished with his team through his competitive spirit and intense drive. His entire life, much of that drive was focused on learning.
Learn by Doing
He learned a lot about hard work and sales from doing it in his early years. At ages 7 or 8 he sold magazine subscriptions. Later, he raised and sold rabbits and pigeons. (10)From seventh grade through high school, (11) he ran paper routes.
In college, he added more routes and hired helpers, making some serious money (12). He needed it, since he was paying his own way. (13) He did whatever it took to make ends meet, waiting tables in exchange for meals (14) and life guarding on the side (15).
Besides learning hard work, he learned people skills. In college, he aspired to become the student body president. Here’s a trick he learned that he’d use the rest of his life:
I learned early on that one of the secrets to campus leadership was the simplest thing of all: speak to people coming down the sidewalk before they speak to you. I did that in college. I did it when I carried my papers. I would always look ahead and speak to the person coming toward me. If I knew them, I would call them by name, but even if I didn’t I would still speak to them. Before long, I probably knew more students than anybody in the university, and they recognized me and considered me their friend.” (16)
Get Formal Education
In his formal education, he majored in business at the University of Missouri. (17) Later in life he’d take formal classes as needed. But the most striking thing to me about Sam was that he never stopped learning. In fact, he became a learning machine.
Way before personal computers came along, he felt that Wal-Mart needed to move toward computerization.
“…I was curious. I made up my mind I was going to learn something about IBM computers. So I enrolled in an IBM school for retailers in New York.” (18)
He wasn’t your typical, passive student. He knew how to get the most out of the learning environment.
Abe Marks was one of the speakers. So Abe’s sitting there innocently reading a newspaper, when he gets this feeling that somebody’s standing over him. It was Walton, who introduced himself, saying that he came to the conference to talk with Abe. In Abe’s words,
So he opens up this attaché case, and, I swear, he had every article I had ever written and every speech I had ever given in there.” (19)
He goes on to pull out his accounting sheets and asks Abe to look them over.
He was about ten years ahead of the computer revolution. But because he caught the vision early, he was ready for it when it came. Walton
“became…the best utilizer of information to control absentee ownerships that there’s ever been. Which gave him the ability to open as many stores as he opens, and run them as well as he runs them, and to be as profitable as he makes them.” (20)
Learn From Mentors
Just out of college, he went to work for J.C. Penney, (21) finding a mentor in Duncan Majors, his very successful store manager. He’d learn from Duncan at the store six days a week, then go to Duncan’s house on Sundays with his associates to play ping-pong, cards, and talk about retailing.
Learn From Books and Publications
During a stint in the army, he was posted in Salt Lake City. He checked out every book on retailing in their library, and studied a nearby department store.
He would read every retail publication he could find, and would later refer to himself as an “avid student of management theory.” (22)
Learn from Company Training Classes
After the army, he bought a Ben Franklin variety store in Newport, Arkansas. (23) The company put him through a two week training class, which taught him the basics of running a store. He would use their accounting system well into his Wal-mart years. (24)
Learn from Your Competition
Once he started working at his first store, his unique spin on education came into play. He soon discovered that the store he’d just bought was “a real dog.” His competition across the street had an excellent manager and was doing twice the business in sales. According to Walton,
“…I learned a lesson which has stuck with me all through the years: you can learn from everybody. I didn’t just learn from reading every retail publication I could get my hands on, I probably learned the most from studying what John Dunham was doing across the street.” (25)
So Walton became a student of his competitor, always hanging out across the street, checking out Dunham’s prices, how he displayed his merchandise, learning everything about why he was successful.
According to associate Charlie Cate: “I remember him saying over and over again: go in and check our competition. Check everyone who is our competition. And don’t look for the bad. Look for the good. …everyone is doing something right.” (26)
He especially checked out Kmarts, which were far ahead of them in those early years. (27)
He was even so bold as to visit the headquarters of other retailers. He could get away with it, since they were small at the time and they didn’t consider him to be serious competition.
“I probably visited more headquarters offices of more discounters than anybody else – ever.” (28)
Get Outside Input
They once asked other discounters who weren’t in competition to come to their stores and critique them. Being outsiders, they had a different perspective from insiders. According to Walton,
“These guys…just ripped our stores apart, telling us how poorly we did everything.”
It shocked them. But Walton considered it “a turning point in our business.” It geared them up to compete w/ Kmart. (29)
Learn from Your Workers
Walton learned from everyone in his stores, regardless of status.
“Great ideas come from everywhere if you just listen and look for them. You never know who’s going to have a great idea.” (30)
He especially loved to talk to the truck drivers. According to Lee Scott,
“For a long, long time, Sam would show up regularly in the drivers’ break room at 4 A.M. with a bunch of doughnuts and just sit there for a couple of hours talking to them.”
According to Sam,
“It’s amazing to me how many ideas they always have for fine-tuning the system.” (31)
He’d grill them, asking, ‘What are you seeing at the stores?’ ‘Have you been to that store lately?’ ‘How do the people act there?’ ‘Is it getting better?’
“…I’d still say that visiting the stores and listening to our folks was one of the most valuable uses of my time as an executive. But really, our best ideas usually do come from the folks in the stores. Period.” (32)
Learn From Associations
Walton joined the National Mass Retailer’s Institute and the discounters’ trade association, (33) where he could learn from others in his industry.
He’d ask questions of anyone in the know. One day, the executive vice president of the discounters’ trade association was minding his own business in his New York office, when Sam Walton arrived. Here’s how Walton worked him over:
“So in comes this short, wiry man with a deep tan and a tennis racket under his arm. He introduced himself as Sam Walton from Arkansas. I didn’t know what to think. When he meets you, he looks at you – head cocked to one side, forehead slightly creased – and he proceeds to extract every piece of information in your possession. He always makes little notes. And he pushes on and on. After two and a half hours, he left, and I was totally drained. I wasn’t sure what I had just met, but I was sure we would hear more from him.” (34)
Innovate, Swim Upstream; Constantly Experiment With New Ideas
Many people are good at learning, but have a hard time applying what they learn. After Walton learned something new, he’d experiment with the best ideas in his own store. (35)According to Walton,
“I think my constant fiddling and meddling with the status quo may have been one of my biggest contributions to the later success of Wal-Mart. ” (36)
A pattern emerges in Walton’s biography. First, grab ideas from anybody you can. Second, shake things up in your stores by innovating. Learn something else. Innovate. It became a lifelong obsession.
“He was notorious for looking at what everybody else does, taking the best of it, and then making it better.” (Sol Price, founder of Fed-Mart and Price Club) (37)
According to Walton,
“…after a lifetime of swimming upstream, I am convinced that one of the real secrets to Wal-mart’s phenomenal success has been that very tendency.” (38)
Learn from Your Mistakes
Not all of his ideas worked. The minnow buckets didn’t sell. People in Wisconsin didn’t go for his Moon Pies. (39)
But when he saw he was wrong, he admitted his mistake and went on to try something else. And he wanted his associates to be the same way. He’d get them together on Saturday mornings to share their success and admit their failures. That culture of candor produced a great environment to capture ideas.
It helped that he had “very little capacity for embarrassment.” (40)
Travel Far and Wide for Great Ideas
He’d travel the world to get an idea. In his early career, he read an article about how two stores in Minnesota had gone to self-service, which nobody else was doing. Customers picked out their own stuff and checked out at the cash registers at the front of the store. So he rode the bus all night to visit the stores, liked what they were doing, and changed his store to self service. (41)
He was always out looking for new merchandise. Once he came back from New York with some unique sandals which some called flip-flops, or thongs. The clerk said, “No way will those things sell. They’ll just blister your toes.” They sold like crazy. (42)
Before Walton, very few stores concentrated on buying low, selling cheap, and making their profit by selling such huge quantities. When Walton heard of a few discounters, he ran around the country from the East to California, studying the concept. Everywhere he went, he visited stores and scribbled ideas in his yellow legal pad. (43)
According to his brother Bud,
“There’s not an individual in these whole United States who has been in more retail stores…than Sam Walton. Make that all over the world. He’s been in stores in Australia and South America, Europe and Asia and South Africa. His mind is just so inquisitive when it comes to this business. And there may not be anything he enjoys more than going into a competitor’s store trying to learn something from it.” (44)
Capture Your Ideas
Wherever he found himself, he’d visit stores, look around, and ask questions. At first, he wrote down all his ideas on his yellow pad. Later, he used a little tape recorder. (45)
Develop an Idea-Driven Culture
Sam didn’t want to be the only idea-hunter. He wanted to get everyone in on the act. Once a week, he’d get together with his managers to critique each other, evaluating their failures and successes. (46) Each was supposed to report their Best Selling Item. (47)
To add the thrill of competition, they set up a contest for the best volume producing item. (48)
He’d also invite the hourly associates who came up with the best money saving ideas, presenting them with a cash award. He estimates that these ideas have saved them $8 million a year. (49)
These days, their 18 regional managers pile into airplanes every Monday morning to look at stores, with the charge to come back with some idea good enough to pay for the trip. Then they get with Senior management, who also should have been visiting stores, to report in their Friday morning merchandising meeting. (50)
Don’t Worry Who Gets the Credit
According to Walton,
“…most everything I’ve done I’ve copied from somebody else….”
To get the best ideas, you’ve got to be humble enough to give credit where credit’s due.
As Claude Harris says,
“He was always open to suggestions, and that’s one reason he’s been such a success. He’s still that way.” (51)
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