Tag Archives: brain

The Shoe Salesman

Are you old enough to remember what a door-to-door shoe salesman was?  Yes, I say “was” because obviously door-to-door anything is taboo in today’s day and age, let alone a shoe salesman.  But why am I even talking about this?  Because there is a true story involving a shoe salesman that I want to share with you.


Are you aware of how powerful our minds are?  God certainly created something extraordinary when He designed the mind and the human brain.  I make a distinction between them because, believe it or not, they are very different!  There is a great book on this subject entitled, “Switch On Your Brain” by Dr. Caroline Leaf.  I won’t go into detail, but it’s packed with a lot of good information about the power and the differences of both our minds and our brains.

So what’s this got to do with a shoe salesman?  Well, this subject was being addressed at a business seminar many years ago.  I heard this story from a guest speaker who was at that seminar and I never forgot it.  He said it was true and I have no reason to doubt his credibility.  It is a real-life example of the power of the human mind!

Back in the 1950’s and 60’s, being a door-to-door salesman of any kind was considered a decent profession.  It was during this time that a shoe salesman was driving across the Midwest somewhere late at night.  He had made a wrong turn (no GPS back then) and was out in the middle of nowhere.  He was exhausted and just wanted to sleep somewhere.  Finally, he saw the distant lights of a farmhouse ahead!

He pulled up to the house and knocked on the door.  The farmer and his wife opened the door and the shoe salesman proceeded to tell them his predicament.  “I took a wrong turn somewhere back there and have gotten myself hopelessly lost.  I’m exhausted and desperately need to get some sleep.  Would you happen to have an extra bed somewhere that I could sleep in?  I’ll gladly pay you to do so!”

The farmer said, “The only spare bed we have is up in the attic.  You can sleep there if you like.”  (Another thing that you wouldn’t see happen today, right?)  The shoe salesman gladly excepted , grabbed his overnight bag and followed the farmer up to the attic.  The only light in the attic was a single light bulb in the middle of the room with a pull-string attached to it.  As the farmer left the shoe salesman alone, the shoe salesman quickly took in his surroundings.  There wasn’t much to see–just some old antiques and things scattered about on one side of the attic and a bed on the other with a window close by.

He was so tired that all he did was take his shoes off and set them on the floor by the side of the bed.  He got up and turned the light off and groped his way back over to where the bed was.  But as he sat down on the bed, something significant occurred to him.  He realized that there was no air movement.  He had to have some fresh air to be able to get to sleep!  The darkness in the attic completely enveloped him though.  It would be almost impossible for him to find the pull-cord to the light bulb again.

Suddenly it dawned on him:  The window!  He remembered seeing a window on his side of the attic!  But now he was so tired that all he could think about was getting some sleep.  So he made a drastic decision:  He was going to break the window and just pay the farmer in the morning for the damages!  So he bent over, picked up one of his shoes and threw it in the direction he remembered the window being in.  The sound of glass shattering told him he had hit his mark.  He laid back on the bed to enjoy the fresh air he knew would be flowing through the broken window and promptly fell asleep.

When the shoe salesman awakened the next morning, it took him a moment to get his bearings and realize where he was.  Then he faintly remembered what he had done the night before and looked over where the window was.  What he saw took his breath away.  His shoe had found the window alright.  But the window was completely boarded up on the other side!  He hadn’t had any fresh air come in at all from breaking that window the night before.  It was all in his mind!  It was what he had expected he would experience.

The power of thought.  It really is amazing.  I’ve got an even more impressive true story about this that I will share with you when we catch up again!