Last Saturday morning, Benjamin and I went to Scheel’s to sell Cub Scout Popcorn. The popcorn is excellent. It is also pretty expensive as far as popcorn goes. Which is the whole point of the fundraising: to raise funds.
We got there at eleven o’clock in the morning. We set up shop. We had the official Pack 396 sign on our table. Benjamin wore his little uniform. When he was a tiny first grade Tiger Cub, he had the extra cute thing going for him. All women and most men would smile at him, many would stop and talk, and a decent percent would even purchase some popcorn.
He is still pretty cute, but a growing third grader’s cuteness is much different than a tiny first grader’s cuteness and the popcorn is now a tougher sell.
As people walked into the store, many tried to avoid eye contact. I was so proud of Benjamin. He looked people in the eye and asked them if they wanted to buy popcorn. Person after person had one of the following replies: “No”, “No thanks”, “Not today”, or “No, I’ve already bought some”. But Benjamin kept asking. He even changed his sales pitch from: “Would you like to buy some popcorn?” to “Would you like to support the Cub Scouts?” People still said “no”.
Finally after about ten minutes, he got his first “yes”. He was so excited. Then came another string of people saying “no”. He showed people the different kinds of popcorn. Some more people bought from him. Others said they would get buy some on the way out of the store. Most still said “no”. A friend of mine and his wife bought some. A former scout was Benjamin’s biggest sale. A young couple talked to Benjamin for a few minutes and decided on some Carmel Corn. A woman decided she didn’t want the popcorn, so she chose the military option and bought some popcorn for a soldier serving overseas. One woman gave us a donation. But most people said “no”.
After an hour of selling, it was another scout’s turn. Benjamin and I added up his sales for the morning. He sold almost two hundred dollars worth of popcorn.
On the way home I asked Benjamin how it felt to be rejected. He said it was tough. I followed up by asking him why he kept working so hard. He could have just sat behind the table and waited for some business to hopefully come to him. He said, “I wanted to raise as much money as I could for the Cub Scouts.”
I’m guessing a few hundred people said “no” to Benjamin. I know ten people said “yes”. Rejection happened over ninety percent of the time! The alternative is having zero people say “no”. It sounds pretty good until you realize in this scenario that zero people will also say “yes”. You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take in life. The wise learn that failure and rejection isn’t the opposite of success…it is part of success.