“Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean?” (Monty Python)
Special treat today on the blog.
Another guest post by our good friend, colleague and former stand-up comic (before his new career as killer copywriter), Kevin Rogers.
(Kevin is also the head writer for my Stable O’ Copywriters project, where you can find a recommended freelancer who meets my strict standards of professionalism — and who has my ear for consultations: www.carlton-copywriting.com.)
This cat is funny. And every time Kevin and I hang out, I’m reminded of two things:
1. Nearly every top marketer and writer I know personally… has a shockingly-acute high-end sense of humor. (This explains the comraderie you see among the best in the biz. We make each other laugh.)
2. And… there are awesomely valuable insights to life and success available in studying lessons in tales from the “vice squad”. (Meaning, that part of living well which includes hanging out, challenging the boundaries of sobriety, and squandering time laughing as hard as you can for as long as you can.)
Being funny won’t make you smarter. And it doesn’t bestow an automatic deeper understanding of human behavior.
However… if you pay attention… Read more…
“It’s alive!” (Baron Von Frankenstein, kickstarting the Monster)
We’ve just fired up the Simple Writing System blog (www.simplewritingsystem.com/blog)…
… which means a stunning (and unprecedented) pile of free tools, tactics, advice and insight can be yours…
… just for the grabbing.
This is an all-out assault on reason and logic. We’re just GIVING AWAY stuff that — not too long ago — would have cost you a pretty penny just to get a quick glimpse of.
We’ve created a beast here, and it’s name is FREE.
Here’s just a small taste of what’s piling up over there (that you’re missing out on if you haven’t signed in):
What? You didn’t see that presentation?
It’s marketing theater at its finest… Read more…
“Make no mistake… this is an exercise in radical self-reliance…” (Burning Man survival guide)
No, I’m not at Burning Man this year.
Just couldn’t pull it off, because of random acts of viciousness and distraction ladled upon my poor vulnerable head by the universe.
Visited last year. Might go next year, too.
I’ll see this Burn, though, through the sky-cam there in the smoldering Black Rock desert, if I see it at all.
However, just thinking about that amazingly unique event generated a familiar thought about survival.
I call it “The Hard Knocks Lesson Of Three’s“.
It applies to stuff like attending an event like Burning Man… which is a week-long freak show in the middle of the playa, way the hell in the middle of the northern Nevada desert.
Nothing you’ve ever done in your life, to this point, can totally prepare you for the experience.
One day before the event, the desert is a wasteland, free of humans. One day into the event, it’s suddenly a Mad Max-styled city of 40,000 partiers who stay up all night torching stuff and dancing themselves into madness to blaring trance music (which goes 24 hours a day out there).
Lots of art, and street theater, and comraderie, and general naughtiness ensue, at levels you simply are not prepared for.
Experienced Burners report it’s a very raw, pure form of fun. But daunting fun, at first.
You gotta bring every drop of your own water and food (or barter for it from others — no money is allowed inside Black Rock City)…
… and you’re on your own dealing with the sand storms, the brain-melting heat, the absolute lack of basic resources, and all the other details of maintaining good-animal health in the middle of Hell.
Trust me, it’s something that has to be seen to be believed. People arrive from every corner of the globe, eager to get the party started again.
Burners take the self-reliance code to heart. They truck in everything they need, and truck it back out again when the show’s over. No trace is left of the massive city, or the party.
This once-a-year bacchanalia has been going on since the 1980s, with little or no mayhem or tragedy.
Self-reliant partiers. It’s a concept.
The lesson, however, applies to all sorts of new experiences. Like starting a new job. Or putting together a market launch of a new product. Or engaging in a new course or mentoring program.
Here’s what I’ve found:Read more…
“… and in the early mornin’ fog, I looked into those Mystic Eyes…” (Van Morrison, with Them, “Mystic Eyes”)
Had a little extended email exchange with our old pal Shawn Casey today.
See, he’s about to turn the Big Five-Oh… and I offered him the same gift that Gary Halbert offered me when I turned 50: An open invitation to hear about all the horrific shit he has to look forward to as his body slams full-force into official middle age.
Halbert used to absolutely delight in detailing for me some of the more evil indignities of waving bye-bye to youth.
Let’s just say your days of indulging in a bar brawl, and sleeping it off so you can do it again the next night, too…
… are over.
(Bonus insight: However, you can still have fun minus the dangerous stunts and life-threatening bravado that used to cap a good night out. Who’d a thought?)
I’m still laughing from that exchange with Shawn.
In truth, if you’re healthy, it ain’t all that big a deal sliding into your fifties. If you’ve spent the last four decades thrashing yourself, then yeah, you may be looking at getting your ticket punched early.
But if you listen to your body, keep the stress under control, get some freakin’ exercise once in a while, and avoid chunking out like Jaba The Hut…
… well, it’s actually kinda nice being a grizzled, older ape.
The real pleasures of life are just as intense… and you’ve pretty much identified which ones you want to focus on. (I spent my youth sampling almost every forbidden fruit in the feast… which I felt was my duty as a buddng writer. Many of those experiences were just downright awful, and yet they’d looked so good from a distance…)
And — even if you dinked around a lot for the bulk of your youth (as I did) (and, boy, was I good at dinking around) — you can’t help but have gathered a ton of experience.
And whatever mangled philosophy of life that got you this far must have something going for it… or you wouldn’t have made it.
Now, the reason I’m writing this post…Read more…
“I yam what I yam.” (Popeye, avoiding introspection.)
Are your routines helping you… or slowly murdering you?
As with most of life, it’s complicated.
And you’re gonna have to spend more than your normal 38 seconds cogitating on this issue if you’re ever gonna make peace with your natural inclination to habitualize your ass into oblivion.
(Side note: During my excellent interview with StomperNet founder Andy Jenkins yesterday, he revealed the startling statistic that most of us now live in 38-second segments. This, apparently, has been discovered by guys in white coats with clipboards. The Web has installed a permanent ADD virtual chip in our brains, limiting attention spans to that of a gnat.)
(This is good info for marketers to have, especially when deciding how to position copy, testimonials, video, graphics and other elements on a website for maximum attention-grabbing. But it’s damned depressing when any conversation requires deeper thought… and you must construct your position with constant virtual shiny objects to hold the interest of otherwise bright people.)
(I just lost half my audience with that aside, didn’t I. Sorry.)
Ah… where was I?
Oh, yeah. Habits and routines.
The omega and alpha of trying to live well.
Routine has both saved my life… and backed me into corners that threaten to ruin me.
So it’s good to stop and examine your routines (and your habits) every so often. Not just glance at ’em, and pat ’em on the head. But really dig into them…Read more…