Upon examination, we found that this young man was selling goods with a splendidly trained intellect. He analyzed all the factors in his problem carefully, even down to the peculiarities of every one of his customers. He presented his goods with faultlessly worked out arguments and appeals to the common sense and good judgment of his customers. He was, therefore, more than usually successful. In answer to our inquiry, however, he said: “No, I hate selling goods. The only reason I keep it up is because there is good money in it—more money than I could make with the same amount of effort in any other department of business. I do not like to approach strangers. I have to lash myself into it every morning of my working life, and it is very hard for me to be friendly with customers about whom I care nothing personally.”
“What about Peter Schultz?” we asked. “Is he a good mixer?”
“It is his whole stock in trade. Now that you have called my attention to it, I can see clearly enough that he takes delight in meeting strangers. Why, even when he is off duty, he finds his recreation running around into crowds, meeting new people, getting acquainted with them, making friends with them. I see it all now. He sells goods on the basis of friendship. He appeals to people’s feelings rather than their intellects, and most people are ruled by their feelings. I know that.”
At our suggestion, this intellectual young man gave up his business career altogether and turned his attention to journalism, where he has been even more successful than he was as a salesman. Needless to say, Hugo Schultz is still breaking records on the road.
It is difficult for anyone who is not by nature friendly and social to succeed in a vocation in which the principal work is meeting, dealing with, handling, and persuading his fellow men. There is an old saying “that kissing goes by favor,” and doubtless it is true that other valuable things go the same way. People naturally like to do business with their friends, with those who are personally agreeable to them. It takes a long time for the unsocial or the unfriendly man to make himself personally agreeable to strangers, or, in fact, to very many people, whether strangers or not.
If it is hard for the unsocial and unfriendly man to work among people, it is distressing, dull and stupid for the man who is a good mixer and loves his friends to work in solitude or where his entire attention is engrossed in things and ideas instead of people.
Notwithstanding these very clear distinctions and the seeming ease with which one ought to classify himself in this respect, we are constantly besieged by those who have very deficient social natures and who are ambitious to succeed as salesmen, preachers, lawyers, politicians, and physicians.
There is plenty of work in the world which does not require one to be particularly friendly, although, it must be admitted, friendliness is a splendid asset in any calling. Scholarship, literary work, art, music, engineering, mechanical work, agriculture in all its branches, contracting, building, architecture, and many other vocations offer opportunities for success to those who are only moderately equipped socially.