My entire life was sculpted from early childhood by a cast of vibrant characters from the backwoods of Missouri more animated than any Broadway ensemble. Today’s celebrities, people like Dog The Bounty Hunter, Brittany Spears or Hilary Clinton would have never warranted a second glance in my world. I had elementary school teachers much stronger and articulate than Hilary. Dog was a carbon copy of two brothers who owned the Half-a-Hill bar, as well as most of their patrons. And many girls with whom I shared childhood out-drank, out-sang and certainly outclassed Ms. Spears. My 4th grade teacher was an old spinster named Mrs. Williams who had a very effective form of punishment. If we got caught passing notes or chewing gum, she slapped us so hard in the center of our back that it left a bruise for days. Yet, when my best friend Randy died of Leukemia, she cried the hardest. And to my knowledge her painful lessons drove none of us into a life of serial killing or child abuse. So far none of my childhood friends have been on Death Row or Larry King. We all had attention deficit disorder and many of us were dreamers, but creative visualization and dreaming were encouraged, not a diagnosis for Ritalin.
Everyday after school, my friends and I would walk next door to the tiny neighborhood store where an elderly, overweight proprietor called Old Monroe would sell us a 3-V Cola, a one inch slice of baloney which he placed on a piece of wax paper next to a spoonful of miracle whip and a large Swisher Sweet Cigar. He was always careful to ask us if we were old enough to smoke cigars. We assured him we were.
My friends and I then walked a couple of miles to a wooded area where an old foundation was all that remained of a century-old barn. It was overgrown with weeds and covered in old cans and bird crap, but it was our clubhouse. Every day for several years we ate our baloney, drank our sugar water and puffed away on our nickel cigars. The future was full of promise and we just knew we’d never have a bad day. And we never did.
After about an hour at the old barn we would then walk back to the Oak Grove Community Center where each day from 4:00 until 6:00 we learned how to square-dance or make key chains from thin plastic strips. Once a week they’d set up an old projector and play black and white westerns so we could all fantasize about the wild, wild west. Some days the older guys would let us play a little touch football with them and that was really cool because they wore the kind of white socks and loafers that the ultra cool kids wore on TV’s Mickey Mouse Club. The older guys made us feel like we were valued and no one ever bullied anyone else. There were no pedophiles in our community, no children ever went missing and I don’t remember any family locking their doors. Everyone had hunting rifles but I never saw one handgun in my entire childhood or adolescence. I grew up in Springfield, Missouri but we frequently visited relatives in Kansas City, Wichita and St. Louis and they all lived the same way.
I wanted my readers to learn a little about my past so you might better understand the older guy I’ve become. My early years prepared me for an adulthood of freedom and excitement. Network Marketing was the only destiny for me. I understand that now. I could have never faced the boredom or bureaucracy in any normal profession not could I have endured the nightmare of answering to a boss or supervisor. I would have felt like a caged lion in an office setting and to this day traffic makes me certifiably insane. I’ve never known a time in life when I couldn’t drop whatever I was doing and read a good book for a couple of hours. To this day I never know for sure what I’ll be doing in any given hour but I know it will be something I enjoy.
To tell you the truth, I’ve felt frustrated over the years by those who turned up their noses at our industry. It never computed in my brain why any decent person would chose the life of a drone…a worker bee. But as I’ve aged, perhaps I’ve grown a little more understanding. It’s not easy for those who’ve never gone hang gliding to relate to those of us who soar weekly. It’s not easy for people who grew up without freedom, to suddenly decide to abandon the structure of traditional business and become a master of their own destiny. Some people need structure like others of us need absolute freedom. That’s just they way it is. One lifestyle is no more dignified than the other.
So don’t be too hard on new distributors who can’t seem to turn loose and go for the gold. They may be lured into our industry by some romantic notion, some “call of the wild” that seduces them into the jungle of Networking. But that doesn’t mean that they are free-spirited enough to appreciate and strive for the freedom which is so vital to us. Real Networkers are just a different breed.
Recently a guy heard me talking about my childhood and said that he was appalled that my parents were so pathetic that I was even able to smoke cigars at age 10. Unfortunately, he missed my point. By age 10 I had taken control of my own destiny. My parents learned what I wanted them to learn. Period. On the one occasion when my dad caught me with a Swisher Sweet, he took off his belt and whipped my butt. The next day I smoked two while my friends and I laughed about how I had squeezed out a few bogus tears in order to cut short the spanking. I grew up in a loving environment with decent, intelligent parents. But by age five they had taught me the value of thinking for myself which didn’t always please them.
This industry is a dream-come-true for free spirited people who refuse to play be the rules of conformity. But it’s a nightmare to those who were trained to be followers. Don’t waste your time trying to convert anal drones into productive dreams. If I could erect a huge arch over the entrance to every company in Network Marketing, I would inscribe it with the following words:
Abandon All Attachments To Mediocrity Ye Who Enter Here; For Indeed You Are The Final Hope Of Ethical Capitalism.