Frank Bettger
How one Idea Multiplied my Income and Happiness



Shortly after I started out as a professional baseball player, I got one of the biggest shocks of my life. I was playing for Johnstown, Pennsylvania in the Tri-State League. I was young and ambitious- wanted to get to the top - and what happened? I was fired! My whole life might have been different if I hadn't gone to the manager and asked him why he fired me. In fact, I wouldn't have the rare privilege of writing this book if I hadn't asked him that question.

The manager said he fired me because I was lazy. Well, that was the last thing I expected him to say.

"You drag yourself around the field like a veteran who has been playing ball for twenty years," he told me. "Why do you act that way if you're not lazy?"

"Well, Bert," I said, "I'm so nervous, so scared, that I want to hide my fear from the crowd, and especially from the other players on the team. Besides, I hope that by taking it easy, I'll get rid of my nervousness."

"Frank," he said, "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!"

I had been making $175 a month at Johnstown. After being fired there, I went down to Chester, Pennsylvania in the Atlantic League, where they paid me only $25 a month. Well, I couldn't feel very enthusiastic on that kind of money, but I began to act enthusiastic. After I was there three days an old ball player, Danny Meehan, came to me and said: "Frank, what in the world are you doing down here in a rank bush-league like this?"

"Well, Danny," I replied, "if I knew how to get a better job, I'd go anywhere."

A week later, Danny induced New Haven, Connecticut to give me a trial. My first day in New Haven will always stand out in my memory as a great event in my life. No one knew me in that league, so I made a resolution that no one would ever accuse me of being lazy. I made up my mind to 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.

From the minute I appeared on the field, I acted like a man electrified. I acted as though I were alive with a million batteries. I threw the ball around the diamond so fast and so hard that it almost knocked our infielders' hands apart. Once, apparently trapped, I slid into third base with so much energy and force that the third basemen fumbled the ball and I was able to score an important run. Yes, it was all a show, an act I was putting on. The thermometer that day was nearly 100 degrees. I wouldn't have been surprised if I had dropped over with a sunstroke the way I ran around the field.

Did it work"? 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 in the heat, I felt better during the game and after it was over than I had ever felt before.

My biggest thrill came the following morning when I read in the New Haven newspaper: "This new player, Bettger, has a barrel of enthusiasm. He inspired our boys. They not only won the game, but looked better than at any time this season."

The newspapers began calling me "Pep" Bettger - the life of the team. I mailed the newspaper clippings to Bert Conn, manager of Johnstown. Can you imagine the expression on his face as he read about "Pep" Bettger, the dub he'd tied a can to three weeks before - for being lazy?

Within ten day, enthusiasm took me from $25 a month to $185 a month - it increased my income by 700 per cent. Let me repeat - nothing but determination to act enthusiastic increased my income 700 per cent 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.

Two years later - two years from the time I had been hoping to get $25 a month in that little Chester outfit, I was playing third base for the St. Louis Cardinals and had multiplied my income by thirty times. What did it? Enthusiasm alone did it; nothing but enthusiasm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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