A few years ago I was up in Seattle visiting. I was walking down on the waterfront when a guy in some rather ragged clothes came up to me and asked for a dollar. He said he missed his ferry and needed to catch the next one. Before I even decided whether or not I would give him money, he held out his hand in expectation of the dollar being placed there.

On some level, I was impressed by his resourcefulness. I reached in my pocket and gave him one dollar. He thanked me and then moved on to the next person not twenty feet from me who had just witnessed what he did with me.

I was intrigued. We were both moving in the same direction down the waterfront so I watched him for a little bit. I watched him for probably about another 10 minutes before he left.

Within that 10 minutes he had asked everyone he saw (which I estimated to be well over 50 people). About half of those people reached in the pocket or purse and gave him at least a dollar.

Wow! I was really impressed. I did some quick math and figured that if he “worked” for even just an hour, at this rate, he was making more than the national average income. In fact, he could probably push hard and work a full eight hours and then take the rest of the week off.

The entrepreneur in me recognized some lessons this “bum” taught me. Let’s take a closer look at what I saw.

1. Need. First he had a need. Whatever he was using the money for is irrelevant. He needed money and was doing something about it.

2. Action. His need drove his desire which in turn moved into action. He moved quickly down the boardwalk taking steps to get what he was after.

3. Ask. The main focus of his action was his asking. He asked everybody that came near him. He was specific in his asking. His words were, “Can I borrow a dollar because I missed my ferry and I need to catch the next one?” Clear, targeted, realistic. He wasn’t asking me for all the money I could spare. He asked for a specific amount. Also, he gave me a reason. Whether it was truthful or not, I don’t know. And he had a “because” which is a big deal when it comes to persuading other humans to do something.

4. Expecting. He held out his hand as if I were already going to give him a dollar. It was tenacious. It appealed to me. I liked his spirit. He wasn’t afraid to ask for and then expect the sale.

5. Persistent. After talking to me, he moved right on to the next person. He didn’t care if they had overheard our conversation. He went right into his question. And it worked.

He didn’t care what people thought. He felt no shame. He plugged on regardless. And, he reaped the rewards.

So how can we apply these principles to our own lives, causes, businesses?
Just by recognizing what we need to do is the first step. Then we have to move into action and apply them. Ask, expect, persist, and don’t care what people think!

When you’re waking up in your dream house after getting home from a dream vacation, or bringing a cure to a devastating disease, or are helping others live their dreams lives, you’ll be grateful for lessons learned from even the most humble of all people!

Author's Bio: 

Sean Marshall interviews people actively making a difference in the world.

If you think you're changing the world in a good way and would like to be highlighted, send him an email at Sean@LifeIdentified.com.