While baseball players, bats and stadiums have evolved – for better or worse — since the mid-1800’s, the game remains nearly as simple as it was when it started. Which is why so many fans love it!
And simple—as in easy to understand, easy to apply, accomplishes more without a huge learning curve or investment—is powerful. Of course, in our hurry-up world, we want results quickly. But we also want results that work over time—not a one-hit wonder.
Like the classic that is baseball, former ball player Frank Bettger, (St. Louis Cardinals, 1910 as Frank Betcher) shared two secrets of success, claiming they led him from failure to winning big– both on the diamond and in business: Enthusiasm and Excitement.
Expecting more powerful ‘secrets’? Likely you’re overlooking or underestimating them because they seem too soft to matter! Frank did, too, until he just about lost it all. In 1907, Frank played baseball for Johnstown in Pennsylvania. For $175 dollars a month. He was young and actually ambitious. But ended up being fired for being lazy. He insisted he wasn’t lazy–but had been trying to control his nervousness by being laid back.
His manager told him: “Whatever you do after you leave here, for heaven’s sake, wake yourself up and put some life and enthusiasm into your work.” Frank went to Chester, Pennsylvania where he was offered a spot on the team for only $25 a month.
Frank said: “Well, I couldn’t feel very enthusiastic on that kind of money but I began to act enthusiastic.”
After a few days he was given a trial at New Haven, Connecticut. No one knew him in that league so he decided to establish a reputation for enthusiasm. Once created, he would be forced to live up to his own reputation:
”From the minute I appeared on the field I acted like a man electrified. I acted as though I were alive with a million batteries.”
Frank threw the ball hard and fast around the diamond and ran like a madman to score for his team. All this was when the thermometer was 100 degrees. The act worked like magic. His nervousness now worked for him by fueling his energy.
His enthusiasm affected the other players on the field and they, too, became enthusiastic. He felt better during the game and after it than ever before. Next day, the New Haven newspaper wrote:
“This new player, Bettger, has a barrel of enthusiasm. He inspired our boys. They not only won the game but looked better than any time this season.”
The papers began calling him “Pep” Bettger, the life of the team. In ten days his income went from from $25 a month to $185 a month–a 700% increase. Bettger insists that this extra income was not for his ability—but because of his enthusiasm alone. He couldn’t catch or hit better than before.
Two years later he was playing 3rd base for the St Louis Cardinals. Another two years later, he injured his arm and unfortunately was forced out of baseball. Two years after this, he ended up selling life insurance. He’d be the first to admit that he was a miserable failure at this in the beginning. Then, he went to a public speaking course run by Dale Carnegie, who, like his first manager, told him to be more enthusiastic.
”That night, I decided to stay in the insurance business and put the same enthusiasm into selling that I had put into baseball.”
During his first sales pitch after this decision, he became so excited that he pounded his fist. He could hardly believe it when his customer listened intently and then bought the insurance policy. He does not equate enthusiasm with fist pounding or chair throwing, like he’d seen Carnegie do.
But “do something to arouse yourself inside,” he insisted, saying “I know this: When I force myself to act enthusiastic I soon feel enthusiastic.”
Frank went on to become a great salesman, and a man who has inspired many other salesmen and ordinary citizens to live their lives with enthusiasm. While he passed away in 1981, his books and winning ideas live on.
Probably the most famous of Frank’s books is How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Sellingand is still worth reading (and re-reading, whether you are in sales or not).
They attract others and inspire them to do what they thought was beyond them. An enthusiastic salesman can outsell a non-enthusiastic salesman who has much greater knowledge.
But how do you get enthusiastic and keep that enthusiasm, among the tiny to seemingly insurmountable happenings of each day—the unfinished project, the looming meetings, the filled-up email inbox, the projects around the house, the kids activities, the meals to prepare, the car repairs, and more?
The answer is literally to shortstop the negative focus and force yourself to act with enthusiasm. Some may think this is the ‘fake it til you make it’ strategy except it won’t work with fake enthusiasm.
Focus on one outcome you could get enthusiastic about what you’re doing and decide to be positively, wildly interested in getting it. The key word is interested. Start there. Of course, inspiring yourself with whatever uplifting books, photos, quotes, prayer, mediation or affirmations on a daily basis helps instill your practice of enthusiasm.
When Chrysler was asked to give the secret of success, he listed qualities such as ‘ability, capacity, and energy’ but added that the real secret was ‘enthusiasm.’
“Yes, more than enthusiasm,” said Chrysler, “I would say ‘excitement’.” He stated that when the sales people got excited they get customers excited, “…and we get business.”
Research at Yale University has proven the existence of a kind of “mind cloud”–a unique electric field that not only regulates different neural functions but as it surrounds the brain, makes it possible to influence those around you through the energy you create via you’re the activity in your brain (like the positive thoughts that stem from Enthusiasm and Excitement).
Scientific American explained this as similar to how a “cloud of enthusiasm” evolves from a cheering crowd at a sports stadium, funneling even more of their zeal into more enthusiastic cheering.
This is how your enthusiasm makes that difference not just for your own performance, but to those around you.
Even negative people are drawn to the positive, enthusiastic people in the room!
Fire up your enthusiasm to get to the ‘major leagues’ of your destination and stay on-track for a life with more success, more friends, more fun and more money.