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John Foust: The power of ‘Tomorrow I’ll’

LXXXII (2011)

April 2011

Published 05-26-11

Recently I was browsing through a used bookstore and ran across a gem of a children’s book entitled “Me and My Flying Machine” by Marianna and Mercer Mayer.

It’s the story of a little boy who discovered some boxes, pieces of wood, nails and a hammer in an old barn and decided to build an airplane. He worked all day on the airplane, then dreamed that night about all the adventures he could have. He could deliver mail, take hikers to mountain tops, perform dangerous aerobatic stunts, and win airplane races. Sadly, when he – along with his dog – pulled the flying machine out of the barn the next day, it fell apart.

The last two pages feature an illustration of the little boy walking away from the broken pile of wood and mismatched wheels, along with the caption, “Tomorrow I’ll build a rowboat.”

Those are powerful words: “Tomorrow I’ll build a rowboat.” What the little boy is saying — and what young readers of the book are sure to grasp — is that there is no need to dwell on the mistakes of the past. Tomorrow is right around the corner. And tomorrow will bring new opportunities.

“Tomorrow I’ll” holds an important lesson of optimism. Especially in these challenging economic times, sales people need to forget yesterday’s disappointments and move on to something with more promise.

Here are three simple points to keep in mind:

  1. Take heart from others. If your last sales presentation got a chilly reception, you’re in good company. Thomas Edison made over a thousand unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. In fact, he later said that he had failed his way to success.

You may have heard that J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected by a dozen publishers, 27 different publishers rejected Dr. Seuss’s first book, and Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone with the Wind” was rejected 38 times before being published.

When the Beatles were starting out, a record executive said, “We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.” Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first television job, because she was “unfit for TV.”

Don’t let rejection get you down. It happens to the best of them.

  1. Keep learning. Today’s failure can take you one step closer to tomorrow’s success – as long as you learn from it. Benjamin Franklin set aside some time each day to analyze his activities and interactions – all for the purpose of doing better the next time. His self-improvement strategy worked pretty well, don’t you think?

  2. Take action. Don’t let “tomorrow I’ll” become a delay tactic. Make it a specific commitment. The hero of our story started planning his rowboat as soon as the ill-fated flying machine fell apart. It is significant that he said “tomorrow I’ll” instead of “someday I’ll.”

Bronco busters sometimes call it “getting back on the horse.” They don’t give failure a chance to get a foothold.

Yes, there’s real power in “tomorrow I’ll.” Because tomorrow is where the future is.

© 2011 by John Foust. All rights reserved. E-mail John Foust for information about his training videos for ad