It was the summer of 1992.
I was struggling in the early days of what would become a 9-year door-to-door sales career.
My days were filled with disappointments, challenges and frustrations — but not many sales.
It was just then, at one of the lowest points in my life, that I looked for help from one of my more experienced and successful colleagues, and he promised to share his secret to success.
Did he give me a lesson in the features and benefits of the products we were selling?
Did he share his most-effective sales techniques?
Did he disclose some kind of “tricks of the trade?”
He handed me a tattered, well-worn little paperback book, and told me to read it.
“It has big print and lots of pictures, and it’ll only take you about an hour to read,” he said, in an attempt to overcome the disappointed look on my face. “It’s a really fun book.”
“And what’s the point of it?” I asked.
“All the top performers, leaders and owners of the company have read it, and live by it.”
I was now more puzzled than ever, but that was good enough for me.
That night, from the moment I opened it and read Page 1, I tore through it until I reached the end.
Sure enough, it changed my life.
I’ve read it (and the two other books in the series by the author) over and over in the decades since then, and have given out over 100 copies to entrepreneurs, business owners, sales professionals and friends I cared about.
Many of them have had the same experience as me.
By now, you’re probably wondering, “So what’s this amazing, life-changing book, Steve?”
Its title and message inspired this blog:
I HIGHLY recommend you pick yourself up a copy and read it for yourself.
For now, here’s its basic message…
There are two kinds of people in the world: Rhinos and Cows.
Cows live on a farm, depending on a farmer to house them, feed them and basically tell them when and where to get up, go out, come back to the barn and sleep. They move very slowly, with no real direction, around the same field day after day, with their heads down, grazing on the same grass their whole lives. They have very thin skin and can even be “tipped” over by mischievous kids. All that keeps them on the farm is one thin strand of wire and the expectation that they will be cared for and told what to do for their entire lives. Nothing much good or bad can happen to a cow in its basic, mundane existence.
Then there’s the rhino.
Rhinos live in the jungle, where every day is different and danger can lurk around every corner. That means the rhino must remain alert at all times and on the lookout for both opportunities and danger. The rhino doesn’t need anyone to feed or take care of him. He has two-inch-thick skin, so it takes a lot to bother him. And if he falls or gets knocked down, he gets right back up again and keeps charging at his goals. He isn’t guaranteed success or happiness – he prefers to hunt for both of them.
Bottom-line: If you put a rhino onto a farm, he would simply burst through the flimsy wooden walls of the barn, charge through the inadequate fence around the pasture and gain his freedom. If you dropped a group of cows into the middle of the jungle, they would simply stand there and become lunch.
As Scott Alexander writes…
The secret of success is, naturally, becoming a rhinoceros…The first order of your day as a rhino is to charge. Hopefully, you have something to charge at. You must have some goals that will add purpose to your life as a rhinoceros. If you have been getting up every morning, to work all day, just to buy yucca-yucca bushes for dinner and pay the rent, then it is time to get mad. It is time to get disgusted! It is time to say, “I have had ENOUGH of being a lazy cow grazing in the pasture day after day! I am fed up with doing nothing, seeing nothing and accomplishing nothing! I woke up this morning as a rhinoceros! I am going to sacrifice the security and complacency of the pasture and live a rhinoceros life of excitement and adventure in the jungle. I am going to be a rich rhino!”
If you want the full dose of Scott’s fun and motivating point of view, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you get yourself a copy of his book immediately, and also follow him on his blog at www.ScottRobertAlexander.com.
And roam around the jungle that is this website, where you’ll find motivating stories and priceless advice from me and some of the other leading entrepreneurs of the world – rhinos, one and all – updated for you daily…