It's Not the Job, It's You - Earl Nightingale
Another essay by Earl Nightingale from the How to Completely Change Your Life Series
Have you ever wondered why one person will make an outstanding success at the same job or business that another person will fail in?
While I was, having lunch with an old friend, we got on this subject and it reminded him of a story about a distant relative. It seems this man found himself in Los Angeles right in the middle of the depression of the thirties. For some reason he decided to go into the real estate business. So he took care of the necessary preliminaries and opened a small office in Los Angeles on a street known as “Real Estate Row.”
For a month this man sat in his ofﬁce waiting for someone to come around to buy or sell some real estate. No one did. He began to notice that none of the other real estate ofﬁces were doing any business either; they were in fact, dying on the vine. It was the time of a widespread depression and no one was buying much of anything.
Three months passed while he tired to think of ways to keep from starving to death. One day he hit upon an idea. On the big Real Estate sign in front of his ofﬁce, he printed down at the bottom in small, conservative letters these words: WE DO NOT HANDLE HOMES UNDER $25,000. Almost immediately business began to come in. People who had homes valued at twenty-ﬁve thousand dollars and more began dropping in asking him to sell their homes. He called only on people who could afford twenty-ﬁve-thousand-dollar homes (and there were still quite a few around although they represented a miserable minority in those days) and he began to sell. He had restricted his business to the only people in the area who could buy and sell homes. And they, quite naturally, only wanted to do business with the real estate operator who catered to the kind of deals they were interested in. To make a long story short, he was very successful and actually became quite wealthy—even during the depression—in one of the hardest hit industries.
While real estate men all over town were crying on each other’s shoulders about how terrible business was and how bad the times were, one man thought his way out of the dilemma.
Anyone, in any job or business, can do this. The very fact that you have a problem means there must be a solution. This isn’t Pollyanna, this is good, sound, successful business and it’s being demonstrated every day.
Some time ago I made a speech at the University of Georgia. The gentleman sitting next to me at the speakers’ table told me we were in the heart of what has become the chicken-producing center of the country. He went on to say that some years back the area was deeply depressed until one man—one man—got the idea of giving eggs to farmers to incubate and raise chickens. All they had to buy was the feed, and he would sell their chickens for them. He made money, the farmers made money, and the entire area boomed. If there’s a problem, there’s a solution if you can just think of the idea for it and, as Red Motley says,
“There’s nothing in the world more powerful than an idea Whose time has come.”
No matter What we achieve—it consists of solving problems. But I think that we too often underestimate our own powers. You can solve. problems just as well as the next person. Half the battle is knowing they can be solved.
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