“Will to win and keep on willing, and you will possess a power that is as real as a cannonball. You can’t see it. You can’t lay your hands on it. You can barely describe it. But it will make you irresistible.”
Our boy Dale knew a lot about the power of will power. For years, he bounced around like a loose cannonball: At different stages in his life, he was an actor, a salesman, an event manager, a huckster, a novelist. Sometimes he succeeded, sometimes he failed. But whatever the immediate outcome, he always learned something and applied it.
Eventually, he found his calling as a motivational public speaking instructor — and, after 20-odd years of honing his skills, he poured out everything he’d learned from his checkered career. The result: How to Win Friends and Influence People, an instant bestseller which ranks among the world’s top self-help guides and still sells briskly.
We can learn a lot from Dale about grit and staying power — qualities we all need to survive and succeed as writers:
He was never afraid to fail: Dale always started out with grand plans and schemes: His hope for success was high. When things fell apart, it was shocking, but never a fatal blow, because Dale always managed to extract useful knowledge and apply it the next time around. He had more than one losing streak, but his will to win never flagged.
He relied on mentors: At every stage of his life, Dale encountered people whose experience he valued; if their advice seemed sound, he took it. A student in one of his public speaking classes worked for Simon & Schuster and persuaded Dale to turn his series of talks into a book: That’s how the idea for the classic Winning Friends was born.
He was always writing: Early in his checkered career, one constant emerged: Dale loved to write. He was constantly learning and taking notes from books he valued. At one point, he wrote six hours a day. Everything he learned from honing his craft helped him when he sat down to shape the book that would make him famous. Dale’s first royalty check was a staggering $90,000!
Fail forward, find mentors, keep writing: We can do this! Let’s be creative cannonballs and write on.