Lightning Rods

Hurricane Edna

One way of looking at it is that it was just an unfortunate by-product of Hurricane Edna.

If you’re in sales you know that life has its ups and its downs. He was living in Eureka, Mo., a district he’d been given only because nobody else wanted it, and with reason. He was supposed to be selling the Encyclopaedia Britannica to people who simply couldn’t see how their lives would be transformed by instant access to the Micropaedia and the Macropaedia. He had been there six months and hadn’t made a single sale.

One day it occurred to him that the problem was he was selling something people could do without. How much better to sell something people knew they needed anyway! Something that didn’t make people give you weird looks! Something like vacuum cleaners. Because he just knew the problem wasn’t with him. The problem wasn’t even with the product. The problem was with the people.

He wasn’t the kind to let grass grow under his feet, so he walked straight into the nearest Electrolux office.


Geographically speaking, it might not have been an office most people would have identified as even in the vicinity. Asked to name a state that’s close to Missouri, very few people come up with Florida; those few tend to change their minds when they look at a map. Which just goes to show how easy it is to be misled by our assumptions, overlook the obvious, and jump to conclusions.

What most people assume is that you can answer a question like that just by looking at a map. And what they overlook is the fact that when you start a new job it’s important to give it everything you’ve got.

It’s important to give that new job 101 percent, 25 hours a day, 366 days a year. You simply can’t afford to have any distractions. If the reason you gave up your old job was that it was not sufficiently remunerative to enable you to meet your commitments, you may well find yourself with some debts which it would be distracting to deal with at this time. It’s absolutely vital to start the new job in an area where any difficulties you may have experienced in the past are unlikely to lead to unwelcome distractions. He needed to be based in a locality presenting no foreseeable distractions, and he selected the nearest Electrolux office which would enable him to meet that need, and he walked straight in.

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