Survival and Addiction

In this business, you're never on safe ground. The flood is always right below you, waiting to drag you in its deadly undertow. The rushing water eats away at your footing, forcing you to climb higher and higher to escape. You never do. You climb as fast as you can to stay exactly where you are.

I've had my share of addictions. In college, I was a borderline alcoholic. I drank two 40oz beers a night. It runs in the family. I defeated that demon years ago. I still enjoy a brew now and then, but I remember what kind of shape I was in back then and have made a conscious decision to never go back. I'm currently addicted to smartphones and technology. I've had countless smartphones and laptops over the past couple years. I'm still battling that one.

What do these two things have in common? How can two things that are as dissimilar as survival and addiction possibly be related?

In this business, you get addicted to selling things. It consumes 60 hours of your life each week. If you're hard-core, it can eat up more of your life than that. Selling cars becomes the only thing that you think about, because your survival is dependent on your ability to be consumed by selling cars. If you aren't constantly trying to figure out how to stay ahead of the next guy, you slip once, you miss out.

Selling cars became my addiction after I sold my first Chevy. It was more addictive than crack cocaine (I'm just guessing; I've never smoked crack or done any drug stronger than marijuana). The rush of receiving a customer's trust, getting them to sign on the dotted line, it's better than any drug. And it's constructive. It makes money and enables you to lead a lifestyle. 

When you sell cars, you get addicted to your own survival. No one in this business is going to help you but you, so you become completely immersed in trying to move as much iron as possible. And the moment you stop climbing, the moment you give up and lose your foothold, you're finished.

You also get addicted to the money. When I started selling cars, I was fresh out of college. In a few short weeks, I made more money than I ever had before. I made $30,000 my first year selling cars, equaling what most other grads were making. Every friggin' dime of that money was earned. I made that money running around a parking lot for 60 hours a week or more. I didn't get to sit in a cubicle, typing up inane P&L reports for some schmuck who didn't know my name. I didn't get a salary. I was paid for performance, so I performed. I had a month last year in which I made $10,000. Like I said, addictive.

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