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T + M + O = Success

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There is very little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference." W. Clement Stone

Optimism is the constant companion of high-performing salespeople. It's their trademark, their way of life. Optimism is the difference that makes a big difference.

The traditional formula for success has looked something like this: Talent + Motivation = Success.

Psychologist Martin Seligman suggested some new formulas:

Talent + Motivation + Optimism = Success
Talent + Motivation + Pessimism = Failure

The idea is that you can have both talent and motivation and still fail if you don't have optimism. The critical ingredient in the success formula is optimism.

Talent has been shown to be largely inherent. It's not something you learn. You can sharpen it. You can focus it, but it is depressingly hard to increase.

Motivation can be boosted rather easily. In a 30-second bite, clever advertising can motivate you to buy. Motivational speakers and seminars pump up participants to exuberance. The trouble is more pumping is needed in a week or a month.

Research has revealed a measure of optimism is a more effective predictor of a salesperson's survival and success than career assessment profiles. Salespeople with the highest optimism scores tend to produce the highest dollar volume. These are the salespeople who make the second and third call, and the fourth and fifth call. And they make each, optimistically.

Optimists believe good events are going to continue; bad events are transitory.

In school, Thomas A. Edison was classified as "confused & not teachable" by his teachers. He was totally deaf in his left ear and impaired in his other ear. Edison experimented many thousands of times before he invented an acceptable incandescent lamp in 1879, and perfected it in 1880. Edison once said, "I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work." And, "discontent is the first necessity of progress."

The good news is you can learn to think optimistically. The result is energy. The result is eagerness to make the next call. The result is enthusiasm on that interview. The result is success! 

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