堅持不懈的力量與影響──THE POWER – AND IMPACT – OF PERSISTENCE

MONDAY MANNA

(編者註:以下摘自《逆流:第二次世界大戰倖存者度過人生風浪抵達神平安之港的歷險記》(暫譯),是雷·科伍德(Ray Kerwood)的自傳。他是CBMC的長期會員,在第二次世界大戰期間曾擔任商船兵的軍官,功績卓著。在創立自己的公司Alpine Petroleum之前,他曾在Gulf Oil擔任過28年的各種管理職務。CBMC International的網站上免費提供他的整本著作。)

做生意有風險,如果你不願承擔可控制的風險,就不應該自己做生意。我當然犯過很多錯誤,但是,好的選擇多過了不好的決策。我記得有一次冒險得到了回報,原因就是我很積極、拒絕太早放棄。換句話說,我不接受”不”的答案。

我曾透過弟弟吉姆(住在西維吉尼亞州查爾斯頓)得知,他所在的地區有許多公司正在出售煤炭公司在污泥池中需要使用的一種特定產品,我的公司Alpine Petroleum正好也有此項商品。看到這樣的銷售機會後,我興起了打電話給西維吉尼亞州最傑出的千萬富翁之一:約翰.希特(John Heater),詢問他的想法。他在全州擁有38家Go-Marts——複合式的加油站、餐廳和雜貨店。

為了供應這些商店,希特先生在西維吉尼亞州的聖奧爾本斯建立了一個大型駁船碼頭。他同時也是加薩韋銀行(Bank of Gassaway)的大股東兼總裁。所以,我撥電話給他,詢問他是否願意和我的公司簽訂汽油、柴油的儲存與運輸合約。

希特先生突然回答:「柯伍德,雖然我曾經見過你,也知道你有好名聲,但我已經拒絕了埃克森美孚(Exxon)、純石油(Pure Oil)、亞什蘭石油(Ashland Oil) 和麋鹿精煉公司(Elk Refining Company)的相同要求,有什麼理由你覺得我會對你的提議感興趣?」

我沒有接受他的拒絕,而是像對好朋友說話一樣:「約翰,你的辦公室在我去查爾斯頓的路上。我只需要五分鐘時間。」「不用。」他回答說。我拒絕放棄:「約翰,我有辦法保證你會從中受益。」「我告訴過你不用了。」他說。我還是有禮貌地堅持:「約翰,我只需要五分鐘。」「好吧。」他最後勉強同意。「不過記得一件事,雷,五分鐘後你就得走了。」

也就在那五分鐘內,我們順利簽定為期四年利潤豐厚的合作協議。如果當時我沒有堅持不懈,甚至有些壓迫性地說服​​約翰考慮我的提議,那後來的一切都不會發生。

我在自己的書中提到這件事以及其他經驗,來強調我的一生中,有些決策有令人滿意的結果,不是因為我自己特定的商業敏銳度、偶然性或純粹只是運氣好,而是透過神的介入和祝福。

當有人問著名的電視金融專家戴夫.湯馬斯說:「你最近好嗎?」他總是回答:「比我應得的好!」我也會這麼說。我的生活和商場生涯都比我應得的要好,我感謝天父,一切尊榮都歸與祂。

反省與問題討論

  1. 你覺得自己的銷售能力如何?你覺得銷售最困難的部分是產品、服務還是你自己?
  2. 你是否遇過堅持不懈的銷售人員?你的反應如何?覺得麻煩?還是欣賞這個人的決心?
  3. 你覺得堅持不懈是你個人優點之一嗎?還是你覺得自己很容易灰心甚至放棄?請解釋你的答案。
  4. 作者沒有把自己商場上的成功歸功於自己的能力或好運,認為這是「神的介入和祝福」。你對這樣的結論有共鳴嗎?你是否能舉一個例子,說明自己的感受及其原因?

備註:如果你手上有聖經,想要閱讀更多,請參考下面的經文:

羅馬書5章1-5節
5:1 我們既因信稱義,就藉著我們的主耶穌基督得與 神相和。
5:2 我們又藉著他,因信得進入現在所站的這恩典中,並且歡歡喜喜盼望 神的榮耀。
5:3 不但如此,就是在患難中也是歡歡喜喜的;因為知道患難生忍耐,
5:4 忍耐生老練,老練生盼望;
5:5 盼望不至於羞恥,因為所賜給我們的聖靈將 神的愛澆灌在我們心裏。

哥林多前書15章58節
15:58 所以,我親愛的弟兄們,你們務要堅固,不可搖動,常常竭力多做主工;因為知道,你們的勞苦在主裏面不是徒然的。

加拉太書6章9-10節
6:9 我們行善,不可喪志;若不灰心,到了時候就要收成。
6:10 所以,有了機會就當向眾人行善,向信徒一家的人更當這樣。

以弗所書2章10節
2:10 我們原是他的工作,在基督耶穌裏造成的,為要叫我們行善,就是 神所預備叫我們行的。

雅各書1章2-7節
1:2 我的弟兄們,你們落在百般試煉中,都要以為大喜樂;
1:3 因為知道你們的信心經過試驗,就生忍耐。
1:4 但忍耐也當成功,使你們成全、完備,毫無缺欠。
1:5 你們中間若有缺少智慧的,應當求那厚賜與眾人、也不斥責人的 神,主就必賜給他。
1:6 只要憑著信心求,一點不疑惑;因為那疑惑的人,就像海中的波浪,被風吹動翻騰。
1:7 這樣的人不要想從主那裏得甚麼。

THE POWER – AND IMPACT – OF PERSISTENCE

By Ray Kerwood

 [Editor’s Note: The following is an adapted excerpt from Cross Currents: A World War II Survivor’s Voyage through Life’s Storms to God’s Safe Port, an autobiography by Ray Kerwood]. A longtime member of CBMC, Ray served with distinction as an officer with the Merchant Marines during World War II. He served 28 years in various management roles with Gulf Oil, before launching his own company, Alpine Petroleum. His book in its entirety is available FREE on CBMC International’s website]

Business is risky, and if you are unwilling to take controlled risks, you should not go into business for yourself. I have certainly made plenty of mistakes. But the good choices have outnumbered the bad. I think of one time a risk paid off, but only because I was aggressive, refusing to give up too soon. In other words, I would not take “no” for an answer.

I had learned through my younger brother, Jim, who lived in Charleston, West Virginia, that a number of companies in his area were selling a particular product used by coal companies in their sludge ponds that my company, Alpine Petroleum, could make available for sale there. Seeing these sale opportunities in my own home state gave me the idea to call up one of West Virginia’s most prominent multi-millionaires, John Heater. He owned 38 Go-Marts – combination service station, restaurant and grocery store – across the state.

To supply these locations, Mr. Heater had established a large barge terminal in St. Albans, West Virginia. He also was a majority owner and president of the Bank of Gassaway. So, I called him with a request. Would he be willing to enter into a contract with my company for storage and transport of gasoline and diesel fuel?

Mr. Heater abruptly replied, “Mr. Kerwood, while I have met you once and know of your good reputation, why on earth would you think I would have any interest in your offer when I have already turned down that same request from Exxon, Pure Oil, Ashland Oil and Elk Refining Company?”

Instead of taking the hint, I chose to act like he was my good friend. “John, your office is on my way to Charleston. I only need five minutes of your time.” “No,” he said. I refused to give up. “John, I have an approach that I promise you will find beneficial.” “I told you no.” In a courteous tone, I persisted. “John, five minutes is all I ask.” “Okay,” he finally agreed with reluctance. “Bur remember one thing, Ray. Five minutes, and you better be gone.”

Five minutes was all it took to sign a deal that led to a four-year, lucrative partnership. Without being persistent, maybe even a little pushy, in asking John Heater to consider my offer, none of that would have happened.

(In my book) I mention this and various other events to emphasize that during my life there have been a number of decisions that have worked out favorably, not through any particular business acumen of my own, nor happenstance, nor pure luck, but by divine intervention and God’s blessing.

There is a well-known TV financial expert, Dave Thomas, who whenever he is asked, “How are you doing?” always responds, “Better than I deserve!” I would say the same. My life and my business career have both been better than I deserve, and I give praise to my Father, to whom belongs all the credit and glory.

  1. How good of a salesperson are you? What do you find the most difficult part of selling something, whether it is a product, a service, or yourself?
  2. Have you ever been confronted by a persistent, refuse-to-give-up salesperson? What was your response? Did you find it bothersome, or did you admire the person’s determination?
  3. Do you find persistence to be one of your personal strengths, or do you find yourself easily discouraged to the point of giving up? Explain your answer.
  4. Rather than crediting his own abilities, or good fortune, Ray attributes his business success to “divine intervention and God’s blessing.” How do you relate to such a conclusion? Can you give an example of how and why you feel that way?

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:  Romans 5:1-5; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Galatians 6:9-10; Ephesians 2:10; James 1:2-7

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