The Passionate Rug Salesman

After receiving a promise that I could spend the rest of the afternoon watching football on television, I agreed to go to a furniture store with Terri. Wandering the store, we found the rug we had been looking for on sale and made the decision to purchase it. As we were talking with the salesman, I thought back about a previous purchase of carpeting for our home.

We were shopping at a large store in which there were numerous carpet samples of different types and prices. We narrowed our selection down to two samples from the same manufacturer; one priced higher than the other. Wanting good quality but also being budget conscious, I asked the apathetic sales person about the difference between the two carpets. Observing the puzzled look on his face, I realized that he didn’t understand; so again I asked “What’s the difference between the two carpets?”  After taking a minute to think about it he responded with, “$10 per yard.”

The prior experience was brought to mind by the attitude and professionalism of the sales person from whom we purchased the rug. He could explain in detail the difference between varying rugs: how one’s fibers were tied and the number of knots per square inch; how another was “tufted” and the dye process on another. He explained how the rugs from one country differed from those from another; how they were designed and how to know good quality products.

When I asked how he had obtained his expertise, he explained that he had by chance stumbled into the business and had developed a passion for rugs.

After college I went to work for my father. Over the years, I became adept at running a medium size commercial subcontracting business, however, my passion lay elsewhere. Without a zeal for what I was doing, I lacked the desire to focus on growing and improving the business. Without a fire for what I was doing, success was illusive and I eventually sold the business.  My brother made the same decision about his profession.

After 30 years as a lawyer my brother gave up his law practice to be an entrepreneur. The projects he invested in never returned the money he earned as an attorney but he was happy. Unlike many people who spend a life of frustration and dissatisfaction, he was willing to make a change and his passion for business brought happiness.  Passion also makes a difference in other activities.

My brother-in-law Don was a union insulator spending 35 years on construction projects. Don didn’t have a background that would lead him to playing golf—his parents and siblings didn’t play and neither did most of his friends and acquaintances. I would lug my clubs and get in a couple of rounds when Terri and I would visit her sister. Curious, Don decided to try the game and fell in love with it. He developed a passion, which led him to practice and now he is an accomplished golfer: his passion led to his success.

As our children began to think about their future, drawing upon my experience, I would advise them to try and find a job where their vocation was the same as their avocation. I explained that the happiest, most successful people I knew were those who did on their jobs what they also loved to do on the weekend. Those people had discovered if your job and your hobby are the same, you are never working.

It is important to be passionate about something: if not your job, your family, a hobby or a sport. If you are in an occupation that you are not excited about, consider changing jobs; if you can’t change, find a part of your job that you can be enthusiastic about. Passion can be rediscovered: it’s never to late to rekindle your ardor for something or someone you love: it takes work—but it is worth it.

Life is too short to not have passion in it.


One of the things that may get in the way of people being lifelong learners is that they’re not in touch with their passion. If you’re passionate about what it is you do, then you’re going to be looking for everything you can to get better at it.” – Jack Canfield

The kind of commitment I find among the best performers across virtually every field is a single-minded passion for what they do, an unwavering desire for excellence in the way they think and the way they work. Genuine confidence is what launches you out of bed in the morning, and through your day with a spring in your step.” – Jim Collins


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