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The Lessons of Frank Bettger #1: 
Enthusiasm



Frank Bettger wrote the book How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling in 1947. Bettger had been a major league baseball player but an arm injury forced him to look elsewhere for employment. Though he was initially a failure in the profession of insurance sales, he gave himself a major boost in the field by drastically increasing his enthusiasm.

Before I go on, why am I talking about "sales book" on a writing website? Half of writing (perhaps more if you are self-published) is about selling yourself. If you have yet to find success as an author, there's a good chance that Bettger's sales lessons can help you to improve your visibility and increase your readership.

When Bettger was a ballplayer, he was fired from a team for being too laid-back. To prove a point to his former coach, he decided he would double his enthusiasm for his new team. This tiny trick worked so well, that he became the top player on the team and eventually received a raise of 700 percent. He applied the same level of enthusiasm to his insurance sales later in life and again saw a major difference in the terms of results.

What if you simply aren't an enthusiastic person? Then you must fake it until you make it. According to philosopher William James, even acting like you're excited about something can create the feeling of enthusiasm. Start talking about your books, writing and sales with gusto to your friends and family. Think about tasks related to selling yourself with positive emotions and reward yourself with a burst of joy after each accomplishment.

It's plain and simple, if you think that your writing is worth it, if you think that it's amazing and that everybody should read it because it's so awesome, you are much more likely to be able to create a base of readers. If you attach to it as much enthusiasm as you would sport during a root canal, potential readers are likely to feel the same way. Frank Bettger was so enthusiastic when playing for his new baseball team that he was nicknamed "Pep" Bettger. What would you have to do to receive a similar (but perhaps more modern) nickname in your writing life? Write a blog post or two about how proud you are of your own work? Send off a few dozen e-mails to bloggers telling them how excited you are about your new book?

Whatever you decide, increasing your enthusiasm can make a major impact on your life, your impact and your writing.

Special thanks to Tom Butler-Bowdon's book 50 Success Classics for turning me onto the work of Bettger and many others. 

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Written by Bryan Cohen

Bryan Cohen is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on creative writing and blasting through that pesky writer's block. His books have sold more than 20,000 copies. You can find him on and Facebook.

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