The Starting Point of All Achievement Is Desire

The Starting Point of All Achievement Is Desire

GameBreaker: Guide to World-Class Selling, by Ronald G. Brock, highlights the success of salesman Ben Feldman and guides you through what it takes to find success in your own business endeavors. 

That inspirational statement attributed to Napoleon Hill has been the driving force behind accomplishment by several generations.

Speak with almost anyone and they will tell you about their, or someone they knows’, achievement which, against all odds, was accomplished through what can best be defined as driven by a burning desire. You can likely think of your own examples. And some among this group elevate, through an unstoppable determination to iconic status.

One such individual— Ben Feldman—was a small-town high school dropout selling eggs at $10 per week when inspiration struck. Desire for Ben was both practical, and inspirational.

Among Napoleon Hill’s and Dale Carnegie’s star disciples it’s impossible not to be inspired by Ben’s story. The epiphany came when Ben’s proposal of marriage to Fritzie Zaremberg required a response to Fritzie’s question, “how are you going to support me.” Inspiration comes in many forms; this was Ben’s moment.

Ben’s only experience was a selling job resulting in his pursuit of, and hiring as, an insurance salesman with New York Life insurance company. But there was a problem.

As seems to apply to newly employed insurance salesman, sale prospects— nearly always composed of family and friends— were soon diminished. A dilemma requiring that he remake himself into someone capable of dealing with a cross-section of the population extending outside of immediate acquaintances. But there was a small problem.

Ben didn’t sound, or look, like a salesman. He wasn’t slick, he didn’t have a soothing, no-problem style, he spoke softly, hesitantly, with a Lisp. He didn’t look like Hollywood’s version of a salesman, described as appearing more like a gnome, “short and stooped, pudgy and balding, with eyelids so droopy he appeared half asleep.” In other words, Ben was exceptionally ordinary. About all Ben had working for him at that moment was desire—not to let Fritzie down. The question remained, how to go about it?

Desire wasn’t a problem. Immediacy of need took care that. So the question became, how was this salesman of extraordinarily average appearance, style, and personal presence going to develop the tools needed to compete with individuals gifted with the appearance and personality attributed to salesmen.

So he went to work— with what he had. Desire turned into dedication, supported by, in Ben’s words, “Your value depends on what you make of yourself. Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.” And set about doing just that.

Ben’s belief in what he was doing never wavered. He developed a unique perspective on his product’ S attributes, then proceeded to act as a true believer. Ben wasn’t perfect; he was just capable, reliable, willing, honest, and accountable. And he proved that anyone with the desire to do it can sell like a tall person.

Results of Ben’s desire were easily measured. He achieved one goal after another: New York Life’s Top Agent in 1955, the first agent to write $1 million in new business a month in 1956, the first to write $1 million in new business a week in 1969, the first to write $2 million a week in 1975. In the 1970s it was reported he personally wrote more business than 1,500 of the nation’s 1,800 life insurance companies.

Ben’s achievements were remarkable, but not entirely unique. Every major accomplishment has had someone like Ben who had a similarly overwhelming desire to achieve an objective of some sort.

What will be yours?

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Ron Brock

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