The Highest Paid Quality

Frank Bettger once said, “Enthusiasm is by far the highest paid quality on earth, probably because it is one of the rarest; yet it is one of the most contagious (Bettger, p.14).”  Frank ought to know because he speaks from experience.  Frank Bettger started out as a major league baseball player and in 1907 was fired by the manager for being lazy.  He told the manager he was not lazy but nervous.  The manager then gave Frank one of the best pieces of advice that he ever received.  He said, “Frank, it will never work.  That’s the thing that is holding you down.  Whatever you do after you leave here, for heaven’s sake, wake yourself up, and put some life and enthusiasm into your work (Bettger, p.9)!”  From that point on Frank did exactly that and eventually become a major success as a life insurance salesman.


The recent major league all-star game reminded me of one of the greatest players of all time.  The trait that stands out when I think of this player, and what I always noticed when I watched him play, was his enthusiasm.  His name is Pete Rose.  Pete Rose is the all-time major league hitter with 4,256 hits.   Bill James described him this way.  “Pete Rose played the game differently than anyone else.  When he drew a walk, he dashed to first base as if he were being chased by a leopard, as fast as he would run on a ground ball to short.  He ran to his defensive position at the start of the inning; he ran full tilt back after the inning was over.  He actually ran from the on-deck circle to the batter’s box; if he struck out he raced back to the dugout.  He hustled, from April first to the end of the season, like nobody else we ever saw; he was called Charlie Hustle.  He loved the game of baseball, he loved playing baseball for a living, and he made sure that showed every day (James, p.363).”

Every business owner desires a team of people that are enthusiastic because:

  • Enthusiasm spreads among every employee and promotes unity.
  • Enthusiasm shows in interactions with customers and causes the customer to have confidence in the product or service.
  • Enthusiastic employees are dependable and show up every day to give their best.
  • Enthusiasm means more sales and profits for the business ensuring strong stable growth.
  • Enthusiastic people are dedicated to the success of the enterprise.

Business owners will pay for enthusiasm because they know it is a great investment and will receive the amount paid many times over.

* Bettger, Frank, (1947), How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling

* James, Bill, (2001), The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract

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