Scientifically Develop the Habit of Lead Generation: Part 3

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Alex Cavelli

Alex Cavelli

By Alex Cavelli

“There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.”
—Napoleon Hill

In part 1 and part 2, I used what I’ve learned from Willpower Scientist Colin Robertson to show how you can scientifically develop the keystone habit of lead generation. Before continuing, I suggest reading (or re-reading) both sections.

Now that you have a specific vehicle for keeping yourself on track with prospecting, I want to give you the fuel. But first, an inspiring story…

Think and Grow Rich

Meet Edwin C. Barnes. As a rather poor young man in the early 1900s, Barnes’ obsession was to become the right-hand man to the great Thomas A. Edison.

Library of Congress
Barnes & Edison, with an Ediphone. Library of Congress

When the idea first flashed across Barnes’ mind, it was nothing more than a wish. He had no money, no presentable clothing, little education, and zero connection to the inventor. Still, months passed in which Barnes’ imaginary partnership with Edison started to become real in his own mind.

Through his persistent visualization, Barnes developed the self-confidence to take positive action. He snuck onto a freight train to Orange, N.J. in order to meet Edison. As Edison described him, “He stood there before me, looking like an ordinary tramp, but there was something in the expression of his face which conveyed the impression that he was determined to get what he had come after.”

He was hired. Even after months of menial work with no promise of promotion, Barnes kept his burning desire in the forefront of his mind while awaiting his opportunity. When Edison perfected the Ediphone, none of his salesmen were excited about this odd device. Except for Barnes. Because of Barnes’ particular enthusiasm, Edison gave Barnes the opportunity to sell the Ediphone. Barnes sold it so successfully that Edison gave him the contract to distribute all over the nation. Turns out this business alliance lasted for thirty more years, and Barnes finally achieved his burning desire.

How did Barnes rise to the top? Let’s ask our willpower scientist.

The Science

Colin Robertson says there are three different types of willpower, each using distinct parts of the brain.

1.    “I WILL” POWER

We use this to do the tough things that accomplish our goals.  We use it to exercise, organize our desks, and pick up the phone to dial another prospect.

2.    “I WON’T” POWER 

This is the power we use to resist the various temptations in our lives. We call upon this to resist the burger and fries on the lunch menu, our true feelings about rude clients, and daily distractions that keep us from prospecting.

3.    “I WANT” POWER

This is the most important type of willpower. It’s the part of the brain that remembers our long-term goals, dreams and desires—what we really want. You may have experienced this type of willpower when you were inspired by a great speech or leader, or when you found extra motivation to meet a seemingly impossible sales goal.

This is the type of willpower that Barnes drew upon to go from an “ordinary tramp” to partner with Thomas Edison. Because willpower is like a muscle, the more Barnes reinforced his vision and desire, the stronger his willpower became. This gave him the inspiration to take action and persevere through years of working at the bottom.


To increase your “I want” power, you must visualize your ultimate business. Ask yourself these specific questions about what your business will look like when you retire from real estate:

  • How will it run?
  • Will you have a large and dominating brokerage, or a relatively small but mighty team?
  • What excites you about this vision?
  • Most importantly, what does this ultimate business mean for you, your family, and community? And what will you be able to do and give as a result?

The clearer your vision of your long-term goal, the easier it will be to use your “I want” power to achieve it. Once you have visualized your ultimate business, you need to be able to see the steps to get there. Barnes may have had a large vision, but he also had the discipline to complete the day-to-day tasks that would get him there. Ask yourself these questions to help you visualize your prospecting process:

  • What time do you start?
  • Who are you calling?
  • How do your conversations go?
  • What does setting an appointment each day look like? How about setting five appointments per day?
  • Are you consistent?
  • Are you having fun?

To get started, you can try this visualization exercise.

One caution: When we visualize our burning desire, we can get a false sense of reward as if it’s already happened for us. And when we get that sense of reward we can lose the motivation to take action toward it. So be sure to use visualization as a starting point for action. Positive thoughts mean nothing if they’re not followed by positive action.


Let us learn from Edwin C. Barnes. He succeeded because he backed his burning desire with definite plan of action. If you want to be the best and enjoy the benefits and responsibilities of what that affords, you have to first envision what life is like at your best.

Visualization has a snowball effect. I find that the more consistently I visualize, the clearer my vision becomes and the easier it is to see the path. When the path becomes easy to see, taking definite action is both simpler and more fun. As Napoleon Hill concluded, “Oh, what a different story men would have to tell if they would adopt a definite purpose and stand by that purpose until it had time to become an all-consuming desire.”

Get started today. Write out your raw, unedited visualization and e-mail it to me. I’ll even share mine with you.

For future posts and prospecting tools, visit and “like” this Facebook page. To learn more willpower secrets, connect with Colin Robertson here.

Alex Cavelli is a REALTOR® with Keller Williams Greater Cleveland Northeast. Connect with Alex via or

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