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How to Turn Your Ability Into Cash

how to turn your ability into cashIn 1949, Earl Prevette–a master salesman and successful author–wrote a book called “How to Turn Your Ability Into Cash”. The book contains step-by-step instructions for turning your ideas into money.

This post is based on the steps which Prevette lays out in his book.

Prevette explains that intelligence is the ability to size yourself up, size up your environment, and organize your findings into a workable plan so that you may share in life’s abundance.   The process that you should follow is made up of five steps. The five steps are the following:

  1. Take Stock of Yourself
  2. Take Stock of Your Environment – Look for An Opportunity
  3. Create a Plan to Take Advantage of the Opportunity You Identified
  4. Develop a Process To Put the Plan Into Action
  5. Produce An Act to Make the Plan a Reality

As Prevette would say: wealth is ideas on the job. Here are each of the steps explained in detail:

Step One: Take Stock of Yourself

The first step is to take stock of yourself. That is, conduct an inventory of your qualities, skills, and abilities. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do you find meaningful?
  • What do you love to do?
  • When was the last time that you were so engrossed in an activity that you felt like time had stopped?
  • What are your skills and talents?
  • What do you know how to do?
  • What experience do you have?
  • What have you invested your time and energy into learning how to do?
  • What problems do you know how to solve?

As Prevette explains in his book, the most interesting thing in the world is you. The problem is that you have not taken the time to take stock of yourself, to analyze your capacities, to realize fully your strength and power, and really to discover what a wonderful creature you are. You have not made the effort to uncover the latent forces and abilities you possess.

Here’s a quote from “How to Turn Your Ability Into Cash”:

    “Turn within, and there you will find your Godhead. The moment you find it you will come to a conscious realization of this great creative force with-in you. That great force, that untapped power, that dynamic something, that unconquerable soul within you is yearning for expression. It is asking for recognition. It is begging for an opportunity to lift you up and aid you to greater achievements. This great creative force within you is an imprisoned giant which when unleashed can carry you on to a success undreamed of.”

Step Two: Take Stock of Your Environment – Look For An Opportunity

The second step is to use your power of observation to take stock of your environment. What opportunities do you notice? What need is going unmet? What problems need to be solved?

The inspiration and enthusiasm to invent, the inclination to make new discoveries, and the desire to improve any existing plan or thing are the result of observation. Here are three examples Prevette uses of the power of observation:

  • Robert Fulton sat in his mother’s kitchen and observed the steam rising from the tea pot. “It has power. I will harness it,” he said. The steam engine was the result.
  • Charles Goodyear observed the mixture boiling on the cook stove. It overflowed and congealed into an elastic mass. From this observation he discovered rubber.
  • Charles F. Kettering, president of the General Motors Research Corporation, was down on the farm visiting his mother. She was still using the old-fashioned oil lamps. By observing the lamp, an idea to invent the Deko system came to him.

Step Three: Create a Plan to Take Advantage of the Opportunity You Identified

The third step in the process for turning your ability into cash is to create a plan that will allow you to take advantage of the opportunity that you identified. That is, write down how you can apply your experience, knowledge, and skills to solve the problem that you identified in step two of this process. A plan gives your idea–an image formed in the mind–a body.

A plan may ask: What do you desire? Do you desire to sell something? Do you desire a job? Do you desire an increase in salary? Do you desire clients? Do you desire customers? Do you desire to invent something? The only way to make your desire known is through a plan. It conveys to people in plain language a definite concept of what you are offering for their consideration.

A mass of material thrown together will not build a house. Every brick, every plank and every nail must have its place. The same is true in creating a plan. Every word, every thought and every sentence must have its place. A plan is organized knowledge for portraying the reasons why the thing or position desired should become a reality.

Create your plan by gathering all of your material, getting all the facts, and finding out everything you can about the thing you desire. Gather the data, organize it, and classify it. Then transform the data into a plan. Include in this plan anything that will do any of the following:

  • Improve the business.
  • Contribute to the welfare of others.
  • Add peace of mind to others.
  • Enrich the happiness of others.
  • Anything that will help you to turn your idea into money.

Present this plan in sequence, enumerate each point step by step, and try to use meaty words with a picture meaning. Use concrete terms in your plan, not abstract phrases. Make it brief, concise, direct, definite, forceful and by all means, understandable.

Step Four: Develop a Process To Put the Plan Into Action

The fourth step is to develop a process to put the plan that you created into action. In other words, you want to set up a process which you’re going to follow in order to put the plan into operation. This is brought about by the application of Four Definite Laws, and each one is essential to the fulfillment of the Plan. These laws are the following:

  • The Law of Faith
  • The Law of Repetition
  • The Law of Imagination
  • The Law of Persistence

The Law of Faith: Faith is a belief in the favorable outcome of anything undertaken. Faith gives life, power and action to your plan. Faith inspires you with absolute confidence to demonstrate your plan, and qualifies you to turn your ideas into money. Prevette indicates the following: By all means practice faith.

As Huxley once said, “Faith is reason grown courageous.”

The Law of Repetition: You learned to walk through the application of the  Law of Repetition:

“When you were little, it took you quite a long time to learn how to walk. Then you finally learned by the Law of Repetition. You kept repeating the same movements every day in every way. Finally, through your own experience you acquired sufficient knowledge, poise, and confidence to qualify and perfect you in the Art of Walking. In the beginning it was a very difficult task, but once you acquired the knowledge and experience of how to walk, it became very easy.”

You perfect your plan through the Law of Repetition. Every time you go over your plan, you learn something new. You develop new inspiration, new interest, new zest and new enthusiasm. Keep rehearsing and perfecting your plan through the Law of Repetition.

The Law of Imagination: Imagination is the workshop of the mind. You begin to develop your idea with your imagination. Prevette explains that in 1886 an old country doctor, John Pemberton, created a formula. He did not know what to do with it, yet he realized that it had value. He took this formula to a young drug clerk and explained its contents. The drug clerk bought the formula from him.

What did the young drug clerk do? He turned the idea expressed in that formula over to his imagination. He visualized its value. He discovered that the contents of that formula contained all the essential elements to supply people with a cool and refreshing drink. The idea thrilled and urged the drug clerk to formulate a plan, and to put the idea of that formula into action.

That drug clerk was Asa Candler. The drink was Coca-Cola. By the late 1890s, Coca Cola was one of America’s most popular fountain drinks. That little piece of paper with an idea written on it, mixed with the imagination of Asa Candler, turned into hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Law of Persistence. You can have faith in an idea, you can perfect an idea through the Law of Repetition, you can use the power of your imagination to visualize the idea; but with all these you must carry through. You must demonstrate persistence. To persist is to go on resolutely with your plan, in spite of all opposition or adversity.

Success of any plan is like pressing out cider with a cider press. You squeeze and squeeze and it seems as though the cider will never come; and then one big squeeze and out it comes. Persistence is the last big squeeze that makes the plan successful.

Produce An Act to Make the Plan a Reality

The last step is to produce an act to make the plan a reality. The application of what you know reveals many things you do not know. Therefore, the first way to develop ability it through application. Act in accordance with your plan and observe what happens. What worked? What didn’t work? Take corrective action and keep moving forward.

The second way to develop ability is to lay down a challenge. Challenge yourself to turn your ability into cash. While others falter, you move forward. The most difficult part is getting started: “It is estimated that it takes less than seven per cent of a locomotive’s power to pull a train of box cars, but that it needs one hundred per cent of a locomotive’s power to start the train. The task, the difficulty and the job seem to be in starting. Start something.”

Gold is found by those who look for it.


To conclude, here’s a quote from Prevette:

“Electricity turns the inert electric bulb into a shining light. Gasoline vapors turn a motor into action, and steam turns a locomotive into a vehicle of energy and power. At this very moment, your ability can revitalize and remake you.”

Live your best life by constantly asking yourself questions in order to examine your habits of thought and how you’re relating to yourself and to the rest of the world.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Mitch Mitchell July 5, 2012, 10:05 pm

    Wonderful stuff. I’ve been working on this thought for some months now and keep trying to come up with the “one” thing, since I have many things. Still, I need to turn it into something, right?

  • G Angela October 16, 2012, 11:51 pm

    Very motivating, thanks for sharing your thoughts, I do appreciate your generosity. I am still in process of turning my ability into cash. I enjoyed reading your post, and have noted the five steps to read it again, for reinforcement. Hopefully, I shall find what I am meant to be giving away, what others value.

    Thanks for sharing !