A blind man’s new words get new results

Thanks to Robert Finklea for sending on this tip from the folks at Goals2Go

One day, there was a blind man sitting on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet and a sign that read:

“I am blind, please help.”

A creative publicist was walking by and stopped to observe.

He saw that the blind man had only a few coins in his hat. He dropped in more coins and, without asking for permission, took the sign and rewrote it.

He returned the sign to the blind man and left.

That afternoon the publicist returned to the blind man
and noticed that his hat was full of bills and coins.

The blind man recognized his footsteps and asked
if it was he who had rewritten his sign
and wanted to know what he had written on it.

The publicist responded: “Nothing that was not true. I just wrote the message a little differently.” He smiled and went on his way.

The new sign read: “Today is Spring and I cannot see it.”

Learning what to say changes everything.

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About the author

Kim Klaver


  • Kim,

    Thank YOU for posting this very profound piece – what a great example of what you teach!

    The first sign just stated fact – the man is blind and needs help, but it was not “personal” to passers-by.

    The second sign, when read, immediately creates an emotional response in the passer-by, and it becomes “personal” to consider what it must be like to not be able to see Spring.

    Exactly why “facts tell, stories sell,” and why calling your own name will attract those for whom your “thing” is the right “thing.”

    Thanks, again. 🙂

  • Recycling a log entry from 3 years back, I hope this adds something to Suzanne’s point:

    Emotional Branding

    From those good folk at…

    Regardless of how delivered (visually, with humor or seriousness) the most unforgettable ads are rooted in honest heartfelt emotions.

    Reason has a hard time comprehending these – science and logic have limits. The heart will hear of no such foolishness and reaches deep inside places we otherwise can’t. Wallets, for instance.

    Heartstrings pull purse strings.

    Get it?

    ‘Hell, why stop when on a roll?’… here’s another of similar vintage:

    Emotional stuff

    Bangin’ that drum again…

    When asked why I consider ’emotional marketing’ to be vital, I’ll fall back on this:
    “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”

    I heard this attributed to Ali, but can’t be sure.


    ‘Every song I’ve ever written in my life, I’ve tried to write emotionally. And all the songs are geared to try to cause an emotion.’

    That’s a line from Lou Reed which has stuck with me since I heard him speak it during an interview about the sessions for the Transformer album.

    And of course, Godin… ‘tell an interesting story’.

    So then, what place is there for ‘this nonsense’ in NM?


  • It is a great insight. To add a little history, the story was originally attributed to the French poet Jacques Prevert. What he is reported to have written for the beggar was, “Spring is coming, but I won’t see it.” To my mind, the use of the future tense makes the line even more powerful and poignant.

  • A great story has drama, emotional depth and an unfulfilled desire. This also has a simple poetry that makes us “see” from another perspective. Thanks.

  • Stories about blind people always sounds good >:(

    lol joking, Great story. Not sure about it’s “profoundness” but it’s a good lesson.

  • Thanks Suzanne…. ditto for me on all of that.
    Gulliver…I liked your emotional branding stuff especially ….that people will never forget how you made them “feel”.
    Yep…. this story does reach the heart.. and pocketbook.

  • I love this story. We are all blind in a sense going into this business, if someone doesn’t stop to help us we never change. I also like your comment to the John on the list. We run into to those folks daily and I like how you answered. Posting yourself on the web is how you get out there.

  • All of your comments today were so wonderful to read. Gives me some insight into all of you on Network Marketing Central.

    Loved yours Gulliver, and yours as well Mishak.

    Thanks for the history, Nick.

    And Kim, your story skillfully made your point. Thanks again.

  • the story has been told with ad man David Ogilvy being the one who made the change in the sign:
    He had seen a man in New York begging beside a sign on which was written, “I am blind”, and not doing very well. Ogilvy changed the sign to read, “It is spring and I am blind”. The money poured in.

    The point is the same, but this version is much more elegant because it leaves the person reading the sign to make the connection.

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