According to my calculations at age 18, the odds of making a living as an ad writer were 117,682% higher than the likelihood that I could make a living as a poet.
But really, poems and ads are the same thing.
Good poems promote a new perspective in a brief, tight economy of words.
Good ads promote a new perspective in a brief, tight economy of words.
The objective of both is to get you to see something differently.
Poets and ad writers want to alter your perception. To do this, they use words that cause you to hallucinate; to see something that isn’t really there. They want you to look into their magic mirror and see yourself less worried, happier, and beaming with light.
Every generation worries about what the next generation seems to have forgotten.
Perhaps I am an outlier even among my own generation, but I have long been concerned about how few people today understand the purpose of the arts.
I am frustrated that so few understand the differences between the heart and mind.
I am broken-hearted that so few know the basic stories of the Bible.
“Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it, and pluck blackberries.”
– Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh, 1857
Using the megaphone of poetry to whisper to us from 165 years ago, Dizzy Lizzy Browning is referring to the reaction of Moses in the desert of Midian when he saw a bush on fire in the distance that was never consumed.
Moses turned aside to see it more closely. Looking into the glow, Moses heard a voice and took off his shoes because he knew he was in a special place.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning is telling us that wonders are all around us, if only we would open our eyes. She is saying, “Stop. Notice. Go to the place. Realize that it is special.”
How is that not an ad?
When you know the basic stories of the Bible and the ancient Greeks, you see them echoed in the biggest movies, the best-selling novels, and the top-rated television shows.
When you know those stories, you can use them as templates in communications of your own.
These are stories that have proven to be magnetic, memorable, and persuasive. Note that phrase: “proven to be.”
Repurpose the proven.
In a movie directed by Oliver Stone in the second half of the 1980’s, Charlie Sheen plays a young man who follows a bad father figure, then turns to follow a good father figure. Can you name the movie?
If you said Platoon, you are right. If you said Wall Street, you are right. Both movies told the same story, and both were a huge success. The primary difference was that Platoon took us into the green jungles of Viet Nam circa 1967, and Wall Street took us into the concrete jungles of Manhattan circa 1985.
Here’s my point: Wall Street premiered less than 12 months after Platoon, but no one who saw it complained, “Hey, we were told this story last year!”
Learn when and how to repurpose the proven.
Solomon – another interesting Biblical character – said,
“The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. And though it cost all you have, get understanding.”
Unconscious competence is called talent. A talented person instinctively knows what to do.
Knowing what to do is wisdom.
Conscious competence is called skill. A skilled person has studied talented people long enough to figure out what they are unconsciously doing and why it works.
Talented people know what to do.
Skilled people know why to do it.
Skilled people have understanding.
Aim for understanding.
Roy H. Williams
Charlie Brown’s best friend, Linus Van Pelt, clings to his security blanket as he gives his friends wise advice. Dr. Victoria Grady sees this same type of “attachment behavior” stalling the progress of Fortune 500 executives as they try to enter the digital age. Do you have a mental security blanket that is holding you back? Listen as Dr. Grady explains to roving reporter Rotbart how each of us can identify our security blankets and discover the costs of hanging on to outdated workplace behaviors. It’s always onward and upward at MondayMorningRadio.com!