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Success in Sales (Willy Loman and Chris Gardner) “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody” ~ Bill Cosby. Few needs of the person are greater than the need to be understood. To have a voice that is heard, respected and valued – to have an influence. Most of us believe that the key to influence is communication – getting your point across clearly and speaking persuasively.

Initially the both characters -Willy Loman in “Death of the Salesman” and Chris Gardner in “Pursuit of Happiness” wanted to be understood and change their lives, so they can have influence on the world around them and became successful. But Willy Loman is hopelessly lost in his past. Chris Gardner lives today. He is not sure what tomorrow will bring but he knows that it`s up to him to change his future. His love for his little boy helps him survive and makes him stronger. Unlike Willy Loman Chris doesn`t predict his son`s future…but does what he can to make his son`s life brighter and happy.

We can find some similarities between Willy Loman and Chris Gardner. They both work very hard to pursuit their dreams of a better life. Willy Loman drove many miles to try and sell things to maintain his family while Chris Gardner also would do anything to meet ends meet to help his family to survive. Willy Loman carried two heavy suit cases with him all the time, even though the business didn’t go to well, his dedication to his family kept him going. Chris Gardner tried to do everything possible to sell his x-ray scanners so he could get the money to pay for apartment and family needs.

Obviously Willy Loman loves his son Biff and wants him to have a successful life. It’s quite sad that Willy favors one son over the other, but he still shows great fatherly love and care. He wants his son to succeed and become a big man, no matter what. Eventually after everything fails, Willy commits a suicide to get Biff money Oliver didn’t give him. Chris also loves his little boy and endures many hardships to provide for him. He is trying to teach his son everything he knows, because he knows that the life might be rough for his son in future.

Eventually Chris finds a new job opportunity so he can provide for his son. These both man have the same great desire to succeed in sales business. Willy Loman wasn’t wrong, he had mental issues but appearance does play a big part in Salesman’s life. Appearance is one of the major principles. His whole life Willy tried to please everyone, so he would be successful. But I think that eventually he became obsessed with his appearance… Chris Gardner experienced minor success at the start of his carrier. But he never gave up, even in hard times; Chris took matters in his own hands and tried to sell remaining x-rays for money.

Willy Loman and Chris Gardner may share some things in common, yet they are so magnificently different. They think differently, they have different values and motivations. Willy Loman`s story is a tragic story of the hopeful dream of one salesman that led to the damnation of an entire family. Willy is a man who is lost in the past and his mind is constantly tormented with the hopes and dreams he had years ago that have since fallen through. Chris Gardner lives his life today. His mind works hard to find ways to change his life for good. Chris doesn`t waste his time on talking about yesterday’s achievements.

Willy believes that all it takes to become successful is to be well liked. Chris Gardner does care about his appearance but prefers to practice good communication skills with everyone and knowledge of the business. Willy Loman had a dream that was not realistic; he also lied to his family. His pursuit of this dream led his entire family to live an illusion created by him – that they are better than everyone. In the end, he thought he had no choice but to kill him and try to make things better with insurance money. Chris was always honest with himself and his family.

For Gardner there were a lot of tense and hard moments to give up like losing an apartment and sleeping in a washroom with his son, but he kept his hard work and hopes to the very end…until he could say “this part of my life I call Happiness”… Trying to please everyone, to achieve success is not the key to sucess. You have to be yourself and judge situations in your life by your principles. People who try to be loved everyone eventually lose their principles and have no fundament to build upon. Appearance is a major factor of success in sales, you always have try to make a nice first impression.

But appearance won’t bring you success if you don’t use intellect and be yourself. Willy Loman learned that the hard way which brought him into the grave; he tried to present himself as a successful, important and loyal man. Willy didn’t know how to listen to others, and wanted the world to understand him. Chris Gardner worked very hard while staying true to himself and dedicated his son. Chris didn’t present himself as someone he wasn’t during interviews and tests, but he proved others that a man who can listen, and is trying to understand the world can be taught just about everything.



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