Let me share with you an important re-discovery I was just bludgeoned with about the nature of what is “true”, and what is manufactured bullshit.
It’s a version of “truth” I believe is critical for all marketers and seekers of success (both in life and in biz)… and yet remains shockingly elusive and hard to nail down.
Why? Because some very dedicated people do not want you to get hip about it.
Here’s the story: Technically, I just got to share a stage with Richard Branson of Virgin Airlines/Virgin Records this past weekend.
Maybe “virtually” is the better word, though. I was in Phoenix, at Joe Polish’s stunning Super Conference, and I pulled a shift onstage chatting with Joe and then putting the audience of 700+ though their paces writing some headlines.
Branson was “on” the following day, via satellite. Very cool technology — totally live (well, almost, with a 3-second delay bouncing the images and sound off the orbiting junkpile up there) — and amazingly intriguing for a live audience. I had no idea a real audience could be held captive so effectively by someone’s huge head on a screen, broadcasting from half a world away.
But it works.
And I gotta tell you: I was prepared to NOT like Branson, and was ready to bolt the room the second he bored me.
Why? I’ll get to that in a moment. But by the third or fourth minute of his talk, I found myself really liking this guy… and thoroughly enjoying both what he had to say, and how he said it.
By the time he finished his “speech” and generously began to answer questions from the audience, I felt bad that he and I would never have the opportunity to hang out together. I felt that simpatico with him.
Later on, I thought about my prior feelings about him… and how they had been formed.
Bottom line: I was duped.
By the media, and probably also by corporate monsters who hate his message of independence and responsibility for taking care of the world.
The Man (the icon of the beasts who control this world) loathes rich people who attain success by alternative means, and then insult the Power Structure by challenging the “pillage and rape” methods they use to acquire and hold dominion over markets, populations and the “reality” most of us experience through media. (The beasts really, really, really want us sedated and mollified by the value-less aspects of such things as Youtube and Facebook, which act as opiates to keep the bulk of society from questioning anything The Man is doing.) (There IS some value to Youtube and Facebook, of course… but they’re not exactly sterling examples of enlightenment.)
Branson’s main ventures have all been centered on his experiences in modern life… and how he found them lacking and in dire need of updating or complete revolutions. Air travel has sucked for several generations, and so he created Virgin Airlines, which apparently rocks. (I’ve never had the pleasure, but my partner Stan gives it 10 out of 10 stars.) He created his record label to fill the huge gap of taste and relevance that the Big Ugly Record Companies left open… and they have despised him for it ever since.
Now, of course, he’s doing amazing things to try and make the world better… and The Man is apoplectic with rage for the effort. (Branson had Nelson Mandella and Kofi Anan of the UN ready to go to Iraq and convince Saddam to step down and go live in exile in Liberia — which would have been a bloodless, peaceful coup that accomplished everything the Bush administration said it wanted — but the day they were ready to leave for Iraq, the war started and it was too late. I remember this getting scant media attention — at least here in the US — and being completely squelched soon after. The Man hates being second-guessed.)
All this has reminded me, yet again, of the unpleasant responsibility of enjoying the privileges of a free society: We can NEVER take the word of those in power as gospel… and we are saddled forever with the need to stay vigilant and challenge authority on every major point.
The media has not been totally unkind to Branson… but the general attitude about him (if you never actually listened to his side of the story) was skeptical and sneering. Rich do-gooder guy, who was a self-admitted “party animal”, trying to ignore the rules the rest of us have to live by. Deserves to be taken down a notch or two, the little bastard.
Which, of course, is an ABSURD notion for a guy like me to have in his head at all. Heck… I never play by the rules, and I distrust authority with the best of them.
In fact, my entire teaching style is centered on “waking up”… ditching the zombie lifestyle The Man prefers you to stumble though life with… and claiming your place at the Feast.
So what I’ve come away with — from this little exercise in awareness — is the POWER of the media in this regard. I hadn’t bothered to go deep, and get the story myself. To be fair, I’m a tad busy to be doing my own research on everybody in the news… but in this case, we have a guy who is knocking himself out trying to do the right thing in many, many ways that require courage, vision and piles of his own money… and I allowed the snarling media to gobble up his basic message and keep the BEST part of it away from me.
Entirely my fault. I dozed, and got snookered.
The truth will always be slippery, hard to nail down, and subject to misinformation and propaganda.
Still, it’s worth remembering who’s in charge of most of the “news” you are spoon-fed. Rich people who have a stake in you NOT becoming rich, too. They got theirs, and aren’t too happy about you getting yours.
It’s a good thing to spend just a little more energy to get a better view of any story by uncovering alternative news outlets.
And it’s also a good thing to remember how nasty The Man can get when riled. I have zero interest in any kind of “real” fame specifically because of this. I’m fine with the very minor celebrity status I enjoy on the seminar circuit, and among my subscribers and clients and customers. It’s like having a big, raucous, fun and interesting extended family to hang out with.
But the kind of fame that would regularly get you on the front page? Forget it. You instantly become canon fodder for a heartless media that doesn’t care a whit about truth or serving the Greater Good.
Me? I’m gonna get Branson’s book and read it right away.
The dude has me intrigued… and I feel I owe it to him.
"11 Really Stupid Blunders You're Making With Your Biz & Career Right Now."
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The Demographics of American Newspapers
1. The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country
2. The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.
3. The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country and who are very good at crossword puzzles.
4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don’t really understand The New York Times. They do, however, like their statistics shown in pie charts.
5. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn’t mind running the country — if they could find the time — and if they didn’t have to leave Southern California to do it.
6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and did a poor job of it , thank you very much.
7. The New York Daily News is read by people who aren’t too sure who’s running the country and don’t really care as long as they can get a seat on the train.
8. The New York Post is read by people who don’t care who are running the country as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.
9. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country but need the baseball scores.
10. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren’t sure if there is a country or that anyone is running it; but if so, they oppose all that they stand for. There are occasional exceptions if the leaders are handicapped minority feminist atheist dwarfs who also happen to be illegal aliens from any other country or galaxy, provided of course, that they are not Republicans.
11. The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the grocery store.
12. The Oregonian is read by people who have recently caught a fish and need something in which to wrap it.
13. The Reno Gazette Journal is read by people who don’t really care who is running the country
[…] Read the rest of this great post here […]
John, I know you’re busy as hell. Been busy as hell. But there are lots of books talking exactly about what you just wrote about. I know you’re aware of how things are.
I’m surprised Mr. Branson is still alive.
My own personal delve into the slippery underworld exposing The Man’s shit shenanigans began over 10 years ago. I stopped being so pissed about… maybe 5 years ago.
Once in a great while I’ll forget myself and actually talk about it with people I know. Then I’m quickly reminded of how pervasive The Man’s influence over otherwise intelligent people.
It’s pointless. So I try to keep my shit sharp and take care of myself. And I never forget who The Man is or is about.
You stay frosty, your self…
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I have never met or even heard Richard Branson nor even heard him speak but in my search to find “heroes” I have tried to read about the lives of successful people. The ones who made it on their own.
From reading, “Screw It, Let’s Do It” and “Losing My Virginity” I have to say I respect his attitude and life philosophy. Also his devotion to family.
Not a bad guy to have as a friend or a role model.
If you want to know what I like most about this blog – my one-and-favorite philosophy resource! – is this sensation of “no comments, the guy said everything”. Gof bless you for just being there!