How a Down and Out Baseball Player Boosted His Income 700 Per Cent in Ten Short Days

$185 may not seem like much (at least not here in North America), but when it’s your whole month’s pay – and when last month you were getting only $25 – it takes on some serious significance.

Now imagine yourself back in the year 1907, and that $185 starts to look a whole lot better, doesn’t it? That’s when a young baseball player named Frank Bettger discovered a simple secret that changed his whole life.

And while he probably didn’t realize it, he also discovered a surefire way to “more than fill [his] present place” and to give everyone he encountered “the impression of increase.” Bettger made his discovery the way many of us learn our best lessons: He was under the gun and HAD to come up with a solution. He’d been fired by the manager of the Johnstown, Pennsylvania, team, and things looked pretty grim. But as we learn in the amazing 1910 forgotten classic, The Science of Getting Rich, TRUTH is usually difficult to see when “appearances” loom large.

Was getting sent down to a bush league team that paid peanuts a good thing or a bad thing? Well, let’s see … As the manager sent Frank on his way, he gave him these words of advice: “Whatever you do after you leave here, for heaven’s sake, wake yourself up, and put some life and enthusiasm into your work!”

See, Frank had been so nervous, so scared that he’d been holding back on the field, taking it easy and playing it “safe.” He thought he was successfully hiding his fear from everyone, but he was only holding himself back, holding himself down.

(Ever been THERE? I sure have!)

Fortunately, Frank took his manager’s words to heart. On his first day with his new team in Connecticut he determined that from then on, no one would ever be able to accuse him of being lazy. He said, “I made up my mind to establish the reputation of being the most enthusiastic ball player they’d ever seen in the New England League.

“I thought if I could establish such a reputation, then I’d have to live up to it.”

My friend, that last line right there is brilliant strategy! And Frank implemented his strategy right away. That first day, with the temperature nearing 100 degrees, he became a wild man on the field, running, throwing and hitting with force and feeling – and leaving players, coaches, and spectators all shaking their heads and wondering what on earth was going on.

For example, he slid into third so energetically that the third baseman fumbled the ball and Frank was able to go on and score just when the team really needed a run. And here’s the zinger: It was all a show, just an act, just pretend. Frank was practicing what people today call “Fake it ’til you make it.” He didn’t feel enthusiastic at all. He just CHOSE to act “as if” he did.

Did it work? Well, listen up to Frank’s own words …
It worked like magic. Three things happened:

  1. My enthusiasm almost entirely overcame my fear. In fact my nervousness began to work FOR me, and I played far better than I ever thought I was capable of playing. (If you are nervous be thankful. Don’t hold it back. Turn it on. Let your nerves work FOR you.)
  2. My enthusiasm affected the other players on the team, and they too became enthusiastic.
  3. Instead of dropping with the heat, I felt better during the game and after it was over than I had ever felt before.

The next morning the newspapers were all over Frank, calling him an inspiration. Better yet, within ten days his $25 a month shot up to $185, and Frank notes, “Let me repeat – nothing but the determination to ACT ENTHUSIASTIC increased my income 700% in ten days! I got this stupendous increase in salary not because I could throw a ball better – or catch or hit better, not because I had any more ability as a ball player. I didn’t know any more about baseball than I did before.”

And two years later Frank’s income had multiplied an incredible 30 times over – all because of enthusiasm.

Now some of us scoff and approach this subject in a way my great-grandma would have called (excuse me, please) “bass ackward.” We think things have to be really good and THEN we’ll be enthusiastic. But that’s sort of like telling your car that if it’ll only get you across town right now, you’ll fill up the gas tank later!

One of the questions I get asked most has to do with the concept of being bigger than your present place – so that you are ready to evolve upward into a larger place (with larger rewards). The other most frequent question is, how do I give the impression of increase to others?

Well, my friend, Frank has shown us one EXCELLENT way to do both! In fact, enthusiasm is probably the most important and most effective way. And you CAN do it, and you can begin doing it right this very moment. (In fact, Mr. Wattles would surely say that THIS is an appropriate use of the will, don’t you agree?)

Don’t feel enthusiastic? So what? Be like Frank! Anthony Robbins has people stand up, lift their chins and look upward, hold their arms out wide, put big smiles on their faces, then vigorously swing their arms together in a big handclap while shouting “Yes!” And then again, and again, and so on.

See, one part of the enthusiasm formula – as Frank discovered on that sweltering baseball field – is that if you make a change in your physical state, you get a corresponding change in your emotional one. Try it.

Don’t like your present job? What if you temporarily pretend you do and attack it with fresh enthusiasm – yeah, even fake enthusiasm – today? All day. Just play the part. You might get an immediate change in the situation – or you might have to keep on pumping enthusiasm in for a while.
What have you got to lose?

And if you DO like what you’re doing, you can still load in a fresh supply of enthusiasm and see what happens. It worked for Frank! And it’s worked for countless others through the years. It works as well or better today as it ever did. I know this from my own experience and you probably know it, too – even if you’ve forgotten.

(Not to worry. Frank forgot it himself and had to rediscover it years later when he became a salesman – a sorry, sorry salesman ’til he rediscovered the power of enthusiasm.)

The founder of the Methodist church, John Wesley, once advised, “Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn.”

My friend, if you’re in that place where nothing seems to be going right, or perhaps it’s more that nothing’s really WRONG, but you’re just feeling restless or dissatisfied, it’s time to light your own fire – and to be the great, blazing torch of a person you were born to be!

You can – and you ARE! If you need to do this, please start right now, this very moment. You’ll see (and feel!) great results in every area of your life.

And our world needs the light. YOUR light.

Note: Read more of Frank’s entertaining and useful experiences and insights in his 1947 book, How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling. (You do NOT need to be a “salesperson” to mine the gold in this delightful book!) It’s available in most major bookstores and many public libraries, or get more information and order online at: . [Just $10 US – and worth a lot more!]

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