I can only imagine what extraterrestrials think of us:
Hey, you’re going to break it – give it back.
Share – for the love of god.
Clean your plate – or you won’t get dessert.
No, that toy is not yours – I paid for it.
I know the wrapping paper is cool, but it’s what’s inside that counts.
“I don’t know” does not explain why you are whining at me.
That pound of sugar is not good for you.
It was funny the first time. But not the tenth or the eleventh.
Stop trying to run. You keep falling on your face.
Put things away when you’re not using them.
For the record, that’s what a humanitarian allegory looks like on white wine and vacation.
We have explicit memory for a reason. Where most animals only have implicit memory for motor skills, human beings have a declarative memory that helps us record autobiographical, semantic and episodic information. We can remember how to do more than just walk and eat. We developed these skills to gain a competitive advantage against other species and humans who could not share our memories and experiences past. Simply put: “I learned things through experience that you do not know and that makes me better than you.” In a gnarly world of job applications and qualifications, “experience” means everything.
Experience does not end in employment land. Street smarts come from street experiences. Book smarts come from book experiences. We consume life and literature everyday, and much of what we consume gets logged in our brains.
Individuals often resist dwelling or revisiting bad experiences or periods of shame. They block episodes from memory, drink them away or refuse to share them with others. That’s a waste. While I understand that mistakes are not necessarily glamorous things to share with the public, you have an opportunity to help close friends and family learn from your mistakes. You can contribute to a collective memory and help the species last. We have memories for a reason – do not waste them. And do not let them die with you. Do not run from the past; embrace it as a gift. Any memory, good or bad, makes you the character that you are and gives you a competitive advantage in some way. Learn to stop hiding and love the past.
Happy New Year, everyone! I started blogging daily on February 26th. 274 days ago, I committed to blogging every day for the remainder of 2011. I didn’t miss a single post. This year, writing reconnected me with so many great people, introduced me to new ones, opened doors, landed me interviews, helped secured a job, and changed my life.
I’m not going to stop. I hope you can join me on the journey ahead. If you want to keep up, you can subscribe via email (on the right column), follow me on twitter, or tune in as often as you can. I encourage you to participate, challenge me in every way possible, and share with anyone you feel might connect to the material.
Thank you so much for your readership thus far. I look forward to 2012 and our collective adventures ahead!
If you want to connect with your audience, you must share a room with your audience. You must get up on stage and entertain. Campaigning politicians and rock stars learned this a long time ago. Beyond entertainment alone, a successful live performance can communitize the audience around your personal brand. Everyone sharing a room together will feel apart of a big family, a family with your surname. Audience applause and energy are contagious; spread adoration for you and your product by collecting or streaming as many fans as possible into one room.
Unlike Netflix’s Reed Hastings, Steve Jobs never hid behind the veil of a press release or blog post. He stood on stage, fielded questions without fear, and put on a live show. I am convinced Apple succeeded on the foundations of its audience’s oohs and aahs at these keynote events. I am convinced Apple advanced forward because Steve Jobs knew how to put on a show. The collective power of audience intrigue spreads like a virus, and that intrigue can only be fostered in person and en masse.
If you want to build a brand, learn to overcome stage fright and put on a great show. This goes for anyone trying to make an impression on the market or on the world. You must show your face to the crowd.
Side note: one of the best live performances I’ve ever seen in person happens every Sunday night in Santa Monica. If you haven’t already, all Angelinos you must check out The Toledo Show – a “Cabaret Funk” band that performs every Sunday night 9pm at the classic Harvelle’s. $10 cover, two-part set until around 1am, totally worth every minute. The new definition of “cool.” Thank you, Adam Speas, for introducing it to me.
Can you imagine traveling six days by horse in a blizzard to hang out with peers and talk politics? Can you imagine waking up to a trumpet, grabbing your gun and running outside to join other armed neighbors to defend your cul-de-sac? Can you imagine hiding in your basement with friends for fear of your life and plotting a bloody revolution? These activities were commonplace 250 years ago at the birth of our nation. Early Americans went to great lengths to come together, stand as one, and protect our freedoms. The value of togetherness networked local communities, rallied the majority against common enemies, and united the colonies.
Somewhere between the Cold War and postdevelopment, Americans lost site of that camaraderie. We lost site of togetherness. Back then, the freedom to assemble was a huge deal – so important that it topped the list of our constitutional amendments. Today, I see a lot of ambition and very little group collaboration. Few people stand collectively behind anything except brands and religion (and even those groups are fading).
We need to come together again. We need to debate again. We need to start a cultural revolution again. And like all great movements in history, the era of neo-togetherness starts small: spend more time with friends. Spend time discussing how you think the world should look. Spend time making suggestions and outlining solutions. And if you are brave enough, spend time tackling those solutions together.
Our great country evolved through community. Only a strong community can keep it alive.