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The shoe salesmen in Africa
It’s all about perspective and attitude
At the beginning of the 20th century, an English shoe manufacturer, concerned about the decline in its sales in England, decided to try to open new markets abroad. Its director called two of its best salesmen and proposed that they travel to Africa to try to open new markets to increase their sales.
Both salesmen left by boat for Africa with instructions to make a first survey of the market. Each of them would go to a different country to have two opinions about the potential of the African market.
Within days of arriving, the first salesman called the factory owner, informing him that after several days visiting cities, he had concluded that the African potential for shoe sales was null. "Boss," he said, "here they all go barefoot. No one wears shoes. We are not going to be able to sell a single pair of shoes. There is no market for us here!”."
The next day the second of the salesmen called. He was absolutely excited and eager to speak to his boss. "Boss," he said. "It's fantastic. No one here wears shoes. No one sells shoes. There is a huge market for us. We are going to sell thousands of pairs…send inventory fast!"
This little story highlights how important perspective and attitude are. Why do some get what they want, and others don't?
80% of success is due to attitude. An optimistic attitude makes us see opportunities in all the difficulties that life holds for us. A pessimistic attitude makes us see difficulties in all the new opportunities that we hold in life.
Henry Ford once said: "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right."