Life is a Tennis Match

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Life is a tennis match between polar opposites. Winning and losing, love and hate, open and closed. It helps to recognize that painful fact early. Then recognize the polar opposites within yourself, and if you can’t embrace them, or reconcile them, at least accept them and move on. The only thing you cannot do is ignore them.

Andre Agassi

Set Off the Alarm Clock on Yourself

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I am a great admirer of Abraham Lincoln, and one reason I am is because he came to the point so quickly. He was a master of brevity. He made the most famous address in the history of the world. The man who preceded him to the platform spoke for two hours. Then Lincoln spoke – for exactly two minutes.

Overtalking is one of the worst of all social faults.

Whenever you become conscious of talking too long – stop! “Set Off the alarm clock” on yourself. 

A salesman cannot know too much, but he can talk too much. 

I don’t mean we should be abrupt. We quickly resent the person who is abrupt; but we admire the person who is brief and to the point.

Frank Bettger

 

Like a Shepherd

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As a leader, I have always followed the principles I first saw demonstrated by the regent at the Great Place. I have always endeavored to listen to what each and every person in a discussion had to say before venturing my own opinion. Oftentimes, my own opinion will simply represent a consensus of what I heard in the discussion. I always remember the regent’s axiom: a leader, he said, is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go on ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.

Nelson Mandela

Action and Feeling

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“Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not.”

Before entering a man’s office I would pause for an instant and think of the many things I had to be thankful for, work up a great big, honest-to-goodness smile, and then enter the room with the smile just vanishing from my face. It was easy then to turn on a big, happy smile.

Give every living soul you meet the best smile you ever smiled in your life, even your own wife and children, and see how much better you feel and look. It’s one of the best ways I know to stop worrying, and start living. When I began doing this, I found I became more welcome everywhere.

Frank Bettger

Witnesses

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I never had much success overcoming objections with clever comebacks. They read well in textbooks, but when I tried to use them, they only seemed to lead into an argument. I found if a hundred times more effective when I could get a direct testimony from one of my “witnesses”.

I have been inspired by reading about a few great men in history, but my biggest inspiration, and some of the best ideas I’ve ever learned, have come from the men I have done business with, and friends I have made. As I profited by their ideas, I have made a point to tell them about it. I find that people love to hear that they have helped you. 

Frank Bettger

Dream While You are Awake

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One morning, before the sun comes up, he passes along some words his mother always tell him.

Qué lindo es sonar despierto, he says. How lovely it is to dream while you are awake. Dream while you’re awake, Andre. Anybody can dream while they’re asleep, but you need to dream all the time, and say your dreams out loud, and believe in them. 

In other words, when in the final of a slam, I must dream. I must play to win.

Andre Agassi

Producing for Consumption

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Business on a money-making basis is most insecure. It is a touch-and-go affair, moving irregular and rarely over a term of years amounting to much. It is the function of business to produce for consumption and not for money or speculation. Producing for consumption implies that the quality of the article produced will be high and that the price will be low – that the article be one which serves the people and not merely the producer.

The producer depends for his prosperity upon serving the people. He may get by for a while serving himself, it will be purely accidental, and when the people wake up to the fact that they are not being served, the end of that producer is in sight.

Being greedy for money is the surest way not to get it, but when one serves for the sake of service – for the satisfaction of doing that which one believes to be right – then money abundantly takes care of itself.

Henry Ford

Praise Your Competitors

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With me, a quarter of a century of praising competitors has proved to be a very happy and profitable way of doing business.

I’ve found that one of the quickest ways to win and hold the confidence of others is to apply the rule spoken by one of the world’s greatest diplomats, Benjamin Franklin: “I will speak ill of no man and speak all the good I know of everybody.”

So Rule Three is: Praise Your Competitors.

Frank Bettger

Keep the window open

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The key is knowing that in conducting small talk, we should be aware of the different styles at play and adapt to the person we’re talking with.

If we address someone with the wrong style, the window may close shut without nothing revealed. No connection is made.

One helpful technique I use is to try and envision myself as a mirror to the person with whom I’m speaking. What’s the cadence of their speech? How loudly do they talk? What’s their body language? By adjusting your behavior to mirror the person you are talking to, he’ll automatically feel more comfortable. This doesn’t mean, of course, that you should be disingenuous. Rather, it shows that you’re particularly sensitive to other people’s emotional temperaments. You’re just tweaking your style to ensure that the windows remain wide open.

Keith Ferrazzi

Be True to Yourself

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The more you discipline yourself to live consistent with the very best you know, the greater is your level of personal integrity. And the higher your level on integrity, the happier and more powerful you will feel in everything you do.

Decide today to be a man or woman of honor. Resolve to tell the truth and to live in the truth with yourself and others. Crystallize your values in each area of your life. Write them down. Think of how you would behave if you were living consistent with those values, and then refuse to compromise them for any reason.

Brian Tracy