Or...banking on the fact that: "People can never get enough of what they don't really need."
For years I owned a marketing firm. Still dabble in it. In fact...I teach it at the university level.
During my firm's early years I had a partner who had worked for a well-known national magazine. He was the publisher of special guides that would come out during the year focusing on different categories of products. Cars, electronics, clothes, etc. would be the highlighted in all their beauty. I remember him saying that they would be lighted and displayed in such a way as to make them "sensual."
Yes...sex (and anything else that gratifies the senses) sells, even when that sensuality is transmitted through things. Mind you, I'm not talking about some beautiful being standing next to an automobile or holding a bottle of wine...I'm speaking about the things themselves.The textures, colors, designs, and other facets that go into the manufacturing of an item are often more important than it's function or reliability. And - the lighting and positioning of that product when it's photographed do as much to make them desirable as their design.
People are easily seduced...very easily seduced. Most consumers buy first with their eyes, then...secondly, with their minds. How does one avoid the trap of the "sensual seduction of things?" Initially, one has to realize that it exists. Next, I would suggest asking the question, "Do I really need this?" The answer is probably "No!" Then...comes the "want factor." Ah...the naughtiness of it all. Marketers depend on that. Now, I'm not saying that's a bad thing. But - I'm certainly not saying it's a good things either. The job of the marketers is to get you to buy what, quite often, you really don't need. I regularly add to that statement: "With money you don't really have."
Motorcycles, cars, clothes, shoes, electronic devices, food, as well as just about every other area of "Thingdom," is made to make you want to salivate, desire, caress, "love," and possess them. They are our substitutes for the real thing...other people.
As I teach, write, train, discuss, and guide people in their pursuit of building their businesses and selling their products, I am not ignorant to the fact that, if people truly love other people and have a wonderful relationship with their friends and loved one...the need for things often diminishes. But - I also know that we are beings who also love to create as well. So - balance, it seems, is the key. Work towards achieving entrepreneurial Nirvana, while making sure to remember that people are always more important than things. That - should help make for a totally "sense-ual" existence!
For as long as humans have existed on this Earth our species has been studying the stars, planets, galaxies, and other astrological bodies, as well as their (and our) home - the universe. It is so immense that no one actually knows where it begins or ends. In fact...there isn't a person alive who can be certain that it has a beginning or an end, or...if there aren't other universes. Perhaps we live in a cosmos of multiverses.
Yet, there is one thing that I am sure of - you, my blog reading friend, are most certainly the center of your universe. Okay, you may not be the center of MY universe, but...I can tell you this - without you, your universe wouldn't exist.
You see, everything is relative. No one knows what another person's view of reality is. Nor can we be able to fully understand what goes on in another human's (or for that matter, any other living thing's) mind. So, without you, your universe wouldn't exist. It would cease to be. Or, as Monty Python might (also) say..."It is no more."
Just as the age old question asks, "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" the same holds true for everything else, including our "universal concepts." In other words...the universe exists for you only because you are in it, can observe or detect it, use your senses to identify it, and call on your (and others') knowledge to "verify" that it is an actual entity.
However, what happens when you're gone? Once YOU'VE ceased to be...does the universe, as you now know it, continue to be "real." A philosophical conundrum? Indeed! But - one that will never be fully answered because of who must answer it.
As we go through life, we are constantly swimming through a sea of concepts and constructs. Many of which are believed by most, some of them believed by many, and a few of them believed by a small number - perhaps just one. So...before you make absolute statements, think about the dilemma each of us faces on a continuous basis, and even then - you may only be right for yourself.
Have fun dissecting things my friends...it certainly is an invigorating exercise - at least it is for one person I know...me!
The world has been going through a perceived crises for some time now. Unemployment rates are high around the globe and here in the United States the economy and jobs have been a pressing issue for the last decade.
During last November's elections there was a cry, by some folks, to elect people who will help the "job creators" - whatever that means. Never overly specific as to how those jobs would be created, the proponents of the "job creators" always tend to believe that giving economic breaks to, and loosening government regulations on, businesses will ultimately create those elusive jobs. But, I have a better idea! I've mentioned this in class many times to my university business students.
Here it is: do away with ALL government regulations on businesses. They can pollute as much as they want, ruin our water, air, and ground, to whatever extent they choose. They can also pay whatever wages they want as well...minimum wage laws would be done away with, totally. Soon, people would be hired in droves.
Plus, because there would be so much pollution, new companies would be formed to clean up all the mess our now non-regulated businesses would create. Ah...entrepreneurial ingenuity! Employment would boom! There would probably be more jobs than people to fill them.
Of course, there are MAJOR drawbacks. No one would be able to breathe clean air and respiratory sicknesses would skyrocket even further than they are now (the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries would then...need more employees too), our water would be a mess and unhealthy to drink unless heavily filtered, the plants grown in our ground would be contaminated (as would be the ground itself), the animals that ate the plants would, most likely, become less healthy (including us), and our overall health rates would deteriorate quicker than they are today (the U.S. is ranked 51st among nations of the world in life expectancy).
It is very, very, unlikely that the cleaner-uppers would be able to make our environment clean enough to negate the constant pollution emitted by the messer-uppers. And - most of us, and our children, and their children, and their children, would have an extremely tough time existing in such an environment, let alone have the money to buy much more than basic necessities.
But...people would have their precious "jobs."
It is interesting to me that people put jobs on a higher pedestal than quality of life. To paraphrase a Native-American Chief who was addressing the "White Man" about work and jobs - his words are so very prophetic: "What is this thing you call work? Everything you need is right here."
So, be careful what you wish for, strive for, and desire. Unless you fully think it through and attempt to make sure that it enhances the quality of life for everyone (including, of course, yourself), and everything, on this Earth...it can wind up being the cause of your own demise.
Years ago, as I staggered into the Emergency Room at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, I was gasping for breath with a life-threatening asthma attack. The doctors and nurses rushed me into a room and started to give me intravenous epinephrine to enable me to breathe easier. It was, to some degree, a frantic scene...one straight out of a medical series on television. As the lead physician (Dr. Joe) walked in, and all the others who were subordinate to him looked to the good doctor for approval, he gently checked all the doses, connections, charts, and the patient, to make sure everything was going as he directed.
As it turned out, after an overnight stay in the hospital, I was free to go home. Since I lived around the corner it wasn't a long trip. But...the memory has been imprinted in my brain ever since.
Life is strange and, as luck would have it, Dr. Joe was - within a few months - in my office with his prescription. I was to take care of his vision and was very pleased to do so. He and I became good friends. On occasion we would meet for lunch and talk about our philosophies of life. The first time we walked down the street together he confided in me by saying, "You know...if I hadn't have been there that night, you would have died. Your attack was that bad." In my mind...I knew it. However, hearing it from him brought chills to my being. How lucky I was that Dr. Joe was "on" that night.
We continued walking and I mentioned to him how incredible I thought life was, how fantastic it was that nature created so many amazing things and how beautiful our world truly was. He responded by telling me that he was awed at the inventiveness and innovation of humans and how much he admired the creations our species had crafted. Walking past the skyscrapers of downtown Philadelphia he said, "Look up, look around, look down. See what I mean." I couldn't deny what he was saying. Yet...I also felt that nature created the most incredible things this planet has ever been graced with. Species, mountains, oceans, energy, continents, vegetables, fruits, love, and so much more.
Both views are valid. In fact, both are very compatible. Humans, of course, have also invented war and weapons that may someday wipe out life as we know it, as well as the ability to save peoples' lives from disease and other ailments. Yet...the one thing that could save us all may be very simple. If we, each and every one of us, would step back and look at the beauty (both natural and man-made) that surrounds us, things may begin to change. If we just did that simple act, spent a few moments each day marveling at the awesomeness of nature and the innovation of humankind, we may see life from a broader perspective. Perhaps a perspective that will enable us to ALL say, "What the heck are we doing to ourselves?" Maybe we'll realize that our self-sabotaging behavior could ruin everything that is good about life and it's even possible that we might start to eliminate the bad.
All it would take is a few minutes of stopping our daily madness each day. Call it meditation, realization, or whatever you'd like. But...no matter what label you use, I believe that if each of us took a few minutes a day, at least a few times a day, and looked at the beauty of life and our exceptional existence - we may be able to save ourselves from ourselves. Look around - it's worth it.
"You can't tell a book by its cover," has been a mantra against preconceived ideas and prejudice since I can remember. In the materialist societies of today it's as true as it has ever been...if not more. The "book" may be beautiful on the outside, but once a person begins to read it - a very different truth is revealed.
I remember an acquaintance of mine telling me why he dressed like (in his words) "a bum." He was, in fact, a very wealthy businessman whose company's clientele were in (as he put it) "the worst and most dangerous" parts of the city. He himself would often visit his customers and supervise the work. This millionaire, who looked like a sloppy version of the television character "Columbo," drove to his work in an old car and gave the impression that the next words out of his mouth would be, "Do you have any spare change?"
My encounter with him is as clear today as it was when I met him years and years ago. He was a living example of "The Book, The Cover, The Judgment."
How often do people judge others without any knowledge or insight about them? Far too often. Wars, and the killing they bring, are based upon creating an image of the "enemy" as to judge them as less than human. To cause a person to demonize them, and to make it easier to kill them.
About 10 years ago I was speaking with a real estate agent who relayed a story about a couple who bought a house at the top of their budget. So much so, that they couldn't afford furniture to grace their new abode. The wife insisted upon purchasing the home and the husband acquiesced. The agent confided that the pair of new homeowners were not uncommon. She also said that the people who go out of their way to look prosperous were often the folks who aren't. As another friend of mine likes to say, "Big hat...no cattle." The furnitureless couple were the opposite of my "Columbo" friend.
Where does that leave us? Well...it sets us in a place where we must realize that the person you think is "beneath you" is actually your equal (if not..."above you" - if you care to make a judgmental statement like that). The homeless man or woman may have been the boss of a hundred people before they ran into a stretch of "very bad luck." The beggar (as I mentioned on my facebook page) may, in fact, be a prophet. And the wealthy looking individual may actually be wealthy. But how would we ever know unless we get to speak with them, listen to them, and know them as individuals.
Judging people on their looks, their religion, their nationality, their ethnic group, the color of their skin, or any other criteria one may choose, is about as valid as believing that you can exist without breathing. Remember...you are also the subject of someone's preconception. And - until we realize the fallacies of that thought process, we - as individuals and societies - will be caught in a stunted growth cycle.
So remember...while the cover of "the book" may not be immediately attractive to you - you may find, after investigating further, that you are "blown away" by its contents.
We live in a world filled with sensory delights, and yet...we keep insisting on desensitizing ourselves. We have become plugged into things that unplug us from the reality around us. In this video I discuss our situation and what we can do about it. Hopefully - you'll watch it and not just look at it, listen to it and not just hear it, and perhaps...you'll pick up a few intriguing thoughts as well.
I teach, I write, I coach, train, lecture, and...I'm a businessman who finds himself in the negotiation arena on a periodic basis. Of course...I also have a personal life that incorporates many of the same aspects that this post addresses.
In both my personal and business life (just like in yours), communication is what helps us control things, it stimulates our thoughts, makes and sustains relationships, and can create hardships or a "smooth ride." The phrase, "my word is my bond," is one of those lines that has taught us about trust. The concept was in use long before contracts were enacted. In fact...even before there was paper to write them on. "If you don't mean it...don't say it," is another way of expressing the same idea. Now, don't get me wrong - there are things that are said in the heat of the moment that people really DON'T mean, they are words out of anger, hurt, or confusion. That's not what I'm addressing here.
When a person has time to think, the rational mind makes conclusions. It is then that you should be prepared to voice your thoughts - literally, or on paper. knowing that you've thought things through, researched and dissected, understood your strengths, weaknesses, and capabilities, taken mitigating situations into account, and recognized that what you've told (or will tell) people...is what they will often take as "your word" and repeat (if it's necessary - as in negotiations) to others. If you don't really mean what you say, are just saying it to placate someone, our worse...to deceive them - ultimately the "sticky situations" that will result may, in fact, derail your credibility and make you someone that others will refuse to deal with.
Trust is build on "saying what you mean" and "standing behind your word." There are certain behavioral types who will say things just to be liked. They'll volunteer, take on tasks, and say they'll help out...so that you'll like them. However, these same individuals (although they mean well) will often leave another person "hanging" because, in their desire to be liked, they've taken on so much that nothing can possible get done - at least on time and with the results necessary for success.
So my friends...be careful as to how, what, and when, you communicate. Make sure that you word is indeed "your bond." It is always better to say that you can't do something, don't know how to accomplish a task, that you don't have the proper information, or just don't know - than it is to attempt to bluff your way through. Ultimately...it will catch up to you! And...ruin your relationships, your credibility, and your reputation. Stay honest - it's always (as the saying goes) "the best policy." It will lead you down a much clearer, and cleaner, path.
We all recognize the fact that life can be very hectic. Many of us are faced with a myriad of problems, questions, chores, duties, obligations, deadlines, mechanical and technical breakdowns, and all the other "regular" (and not so regular) stuff that our everyday existence throws our way.
However...there are some things that we can do to make our lives calmer. Here are 5 things that, hopefully, will help you be more relaxed and calm throughout your day (and night).
1. Understand and implement the "Power of No."
"No" is an amazing word. It can prevent you from doing things that you don't want to do, don't have the time to do, or shouldn't be doing. The problem is that too many people have a hard time saying that little two letter word. Especially when you feel obligated to say "yes." It take a lot of strength to understand that there are certain times when you have to say "no," both for your benefit and for those asking you. Often a "no" will empower you to teach someone that it's their responsibility to do something. Or...perhaps if you say "yes" something else may not get done. Or...maybe, you have to assert yourself and stop being made to always be the "go to person." Say "no" enough and people will stop asking! Of course - you have to understand the "Power of No" and when to us it...just like you have to with any power! But...rest assured; learn how and when to say "No" and you will feel less pressured and much calmer.
2. Understand and implement the "Power of Know."
Yep...that's right - know know! As the saying goes, "Knowledge is King." So...the more you know, the more you'll be in a position to realize how to be calm, how not to be frantic, how to revel in life. Knowledge teaches us what we need to do to fulfill our objectives. If your goal is to be calmer, spend some time reading, learning (not where there are tests involved or tasks you MUST do to get a passing grade), stimulating your brain, and using it to understand what calmness really means. Look at the stars, the trees, the flowers and learn about them so that your trips through your garden and nights glaring at the heavens will give you a feeling of the contentment, happiness, and calmness that knowledge (and wonder) can bring. And...afford you the luxury of feeling closer to the things you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel. You will soon understand that there really is a sense of calm in "knowing."
3. Understand and implement the "Knowledge of Power."
We are all powerful beings, yet many of us use power to drive ourselves and others into a frenzy. Power does not have to mean what we've come to think it means...controlling others, achieving a position of influence and being self-consumed. Ultimate power is knowing that you don't have to do any of those things to be truly powerful. Power lies within you. You have the power to understand yourself and others, the power to turn away the "noise" that surrounds you, the power to separate yourself from the daily mania of life and remove yourself to a powerful place where your "self" resides. Others will know you're there (if you want them to know). If they don't recognize where you've gone...you may want to tell them, "I'll be back. Right now I have to take care of something very important - me."
4. Understand and implement the "Power of Silence."
"Silence is Golden" as my 8th grade art teacher used to say. And...guess what? He was right. Silence is very powerful. You all know that it is often more powerful than speech. A silent expression can convey as much as a thousand word monologue. Silence can also be the vehicle that brings a person to a place of peace and calmness. The stillness of the mind and body can do wonders for your being. Shut the door, turn off your TV, smart phone, computer, and all your other "devices," and lose yourself in your silence. Look around without a word being uttered and you'll notice things you've probably never seen. Even though you've been with them for years. Quiet your mind and bring your world and yourself closer. It's a wonderful place to be. The world is filled with a cacophony of sounds...take some time away from them and you will be better off, and calmer, for it.
5. Understand and implement the "Power of Art."
Soothing music, paintings, photography, museums, sculpture, pottery, poetry, books, illustrations, and all our other forms of art are the workings of our creative minds. Yes...there are varieties of all of these mediums that are far from calming, so...it's up to you to choose to be in the company of those that make you feel a sense of calm. Our environment is teeming with so many variations of art. Sitting by a stream and taking its picture is art. Writing or reading a poem or prose is art. Sketching is art. Listening to the rhythm of soothing music is art. It doesn't take much to be involved in art, whether as the creator of it or the viewer or listener of it. Whichever way you decide to avail yourself of its power, you will understand its ability to create calm in your life. You may even become so into it that it becomes that relaxing retreat that you can't wait to visit.