Every young man should some time in his life have experience in salesmanship.
Selling goods is the best known cure for those elements in a man that tend to make him a failure.
The art of success consists in making people change their minds. It is this power that makes the efficient lawyer, grocer, politician, or preacher.
There are two classes of men. One seeks employment in a position where he merely obeys the rules and carries out the desires of his employer. There is little or no opportunity for advancement in this work. You get to a certain point and there you stick.
Such posts are a clerkship in a bank, a government job, such as letter-carrier, a place in the police force, or any other routine employment requiring no initiative. These kinds of work are entirely honorable and necessary. The difficulty is, they are cramping, limiting.
Some day you may have to take a position of this sort, but first try your hand at selling things.
Be a book-agent, peddle washing-machines, sell life-insurance, automobiles, agricultural implements, or peanuts.
You shrink from it because it is hard, it goes against the grain, as you are not a pushing sort of fellow. And that is the very reason you need it.
Salesmanship is strong medicine. You have to go out and wrestle with a cold and hostile world. You are confronted with indifference, often contempt. You are considered a nuisance. That is the time for you to buck up, take off your coat, and go in and win.
A young lawyer will gain more useful knowledge of men and affairs by selling real estate or fire-insurance than by law-school.
I have just read a letter from an office man fifty-seven years old. He has lodged at $1,600 a year for twenty years, while two of the salesmen who entered the business about the time he did own the concern.
Get out and sell goods. Hustle. Fight. Don’t get fastened in one hole. Take chances. Come up smiling. So the best and biggest prizes in America are open to you.
Selling things, commercialism, business, is not a low affair; it is a great, big, bully game. It is a thoroughly American game, and the most sterling qualities of Americanism are developed by it, when it is carried on fairly and humanely.
There is incitement in it for all your best self, for your honesty, perseverance, optimism, courage, loyalty, and religion. Nowhere does a MAN mean so much.
I mean to cast no slurs upon faithful occupants of posts of routine. They have their reward.
But, son, don’t look for a “safe” place. Don’t depend upon an organization to hold your job for you. Don’t scheme and wire-pull for influence and help and privilege.
Get out and peddle maps. Make people buy your chickens or your essays. Get in the game. It beats football.