February 27, 2014

baseball“During my 18 years I came to bat almost 10,000 times.  I struck out about 1700 times and walked maybe 1800 times.  You figure a ballplayer will average about 500 at-bats a season.  That means I played 7 years without ever hitting the ball.” – Mickey Mantle

The following is a little something I wrote when the bottom started to fall out of the real estate market a few years ago.

“For weeks now, CNBC has disturbed my morning coffee with a constant barrage of reports concerning the health of our credit markets and value of our homes.  As a 34 year veteran as a real estate broker, I have seen these disruptions before; and hope that a little more caffeine will adjust the world outside. With all of the negative news out there, it is sometimes difficult as a small business owner to wake up and say “Good morning God” instead of “Good God. Morning.”

Today, I reflected back to a story that was told to me by my Dale Carnegie instructor about the hotdog vendor.  It goes like this:

“A man lived by the side of the road and sold hotdogs. He was hard of hearing, so he had no radio. He had trouble with his eyes, so he had no newspapers. But he sold good hotdogs. He put up a sign on the highway telling how good they were. He stood by the side of the road and cried, ‘Buy a hotdog, mister.’ And people bought. He increased his meat and bun orders and he bought a bigger stove to take care of his trade. 

He got his son home from college to help him. But then something happened. His son said, ‘Father, haven’t you been listening to the radio? There’s a big depression on. The international situation is terrible, and the domestic situation is even worse.’ Whereupon the father thought, ‘Well, my son has been to college. He listens to the radio and reads the papers, so he ought to know.’ So, the father cut down his bun order, took down his advertising signs and no longer bothered to stand on the highway to sell hot dogs. His hot dog sales fell almost overnight. ‘You were right son,’ the father said to the boy.  ‘We are certainly in the middle of a great depression!’” (Author Unknown)

As business professionals or homemakers the way we view the world does affect our own reality.  We all know of the placebo effect (Latin for I will please) where a patient becomes better after taking sugar pills. What most of us have never heard about is the nocebo effect (Latin for I will harm).  Simply put, this is where the body can be persuaded to be sick when there is no biologic reason. This is illness without disease.  As an extreme example of the nocebo effect, belief in a non-existing life-threatening danger can induce excessive amounts of stress hormones that can trigger a chain of chemical events in the body which can lead to death.  According to Dr. Deepak Chopra with the nocebo effect even the way that the physician believes about the condition of the patient affects their outcome.

What do you believe?

As with Henry Ford’s famous quote, “Whether You Believe You Can, Or You Can’t, You Are Right,” the hotdog vendor gives us a valuable lesson in how we should view our own life’s situation.



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