Is marketing based on our fears?

“Does he really have his father’s eyes?”

When I walked by this billboard I knew I had to write about it. I felt both appalled and a bit impressed when I first saw this piece of marketing. They manage to strike at a man’s worst fears with a simple question and a pair of innocent eyes. I’m not sure what is worst; that they are allowed to have these types of commercials or that there is a company that can make their living from only doing paternity tests?

Marketing must be one of the most common types of fiction available to us. And thinking about it, the “fiction writers” in marketing are probably the most well-payed as well. Marketing is about creating stories around a product. Stories that will make me want to buy one brand over another. I am quite ambivalent when it comes to marketing, and there are a lot of marketing that I like and even more I dislike. The ones I like are usually funny or connect to something bigger, but not always.

What is the difference between the commercials I like and the ones I don’t like?

What is coaching all about?

“…there was something in her tone that made him think. From the moment they’d met, she’d wiped away his assumptions with an easy grace that matched her name. She left him exposed.”

– Myke Cole, Shadow Ops: Breach Zone

This is what coaching is about. To help you think and to reflect about your assumptions. To expose you to all the thoughts and ideas in your head. To help you set goals and then help you find ways to reach it and plan for the future. Coaching is always about action, but first you need to know where you are, you need to know what you want, and you need to see all the options that are available in your life.

Coaching is about getting new perspectives and then to do something new in your life.

What is the difference between a good leader and a good leader?

“I don’t claim to know much about governing, except it’s not often done well. The men who govern aren’t idiots, no matter what anyone says. That tells me that it’s not near as easy as it looks. There aren’t many who want good governors. Most want a governor who will help them.”

L. E. Modesitt Jr., Princeps

Read the above quote again but replace the word governor with leader, manager or with another position in your company, organization or society.

How would you describe a good leader/manager/……? How would you describe a bad leader/manager/……?

The difference between someone who is a good leader and someone who we only think is a good leader might be in what they give us;

A good leader will give you what you need, a bad leader will give you what you want!

How do we win?

“That may be, sir, but you can win battles. There’s no way you can win in putting a city back together. There’s always more to do, and always someone unhappy.”

L. E. Modesitt Jr., Princeps

If you only focus on your own needs, interests and goals then it is possible to win. By looking at a negotiation or discussion as a battle or a game to win, then you will either win or lose. You have to prepare yourself to be surrounded by a lot of people that feels like they have lost, and you will have to prepare yourself to lose. By accepting that we need to balance other people’s needs and our own then we will realize that we are in a never-ending balancing-act. More often than we think we will be able to satisfy other people’s needs and our own at the same time. We just need to spend some time thinking about what the problem is really about.

No matter what you do though; sometimes you will be happy with what is happening and sometimes you will be unhappy. You can either see this as a struggle that is difficult and unfair, or you can see this as life and a fun challenge! 

What are the rules for being human?

“1: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm;

2: A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law;

3: A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law;”

Isaac Asimov

For some reason I started thinking of the three laws of robotics last night. I must have been around fifteen years old when I read my first Isaac Asimov book and I remember reading these laws and I found them extremely fascinating, and I remember spending a lot of time thinking about them.

How you define harm? Is it only physical or is it emotional harm as well? Are the robots allowed to go around being rude jerks or do they have to be polite all the time? And if it includes emotional harm as well, then the robots must be extremely good at being able to read and understand humans. Because one thing I have noticed is that things that seem extremely harmless or fun to me, might really piss someone else off. It is impossible to be perfect all the time, and it is much more important to learn how to say ‘I’m sorry’ than to try tiptoeing around in life.

What I like about the laws is that they take into acount both action and inaction. To say that it is equally wrong to not do anything is so important and I think it ties in perfectly with the forth law that he added later. I think it is self-explanatory and something to think about every day:

“The Zeroth Law: A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.”

Safety first?

“The plans were drawn up by the best, then checked and re-checked by the very best, and then the checkers themselves were scrutinised, analysed and vetted for any sign of fifth columnism or martyr tendencies, or even a serious and hitherto undetected case of just-plain-stupid, and then the contractors went to work under a scheme which emphasised thoroughness and adherence to spec over swift completion, and which imposed penalties so dire upon speculators and profiteers that it would actually be safer just to throw yourself from a high place, and finally the quantity surveyors and catastrophe experts went to town on it with hammers and saws, lightning generators and torsion engines, and declared it sound.”

Nick Harkaway, The Gone-Away World

How much time should we spend on making sure no mistakes are made?

How much time should we spend on rereading, revising and editing a text before publishing it? 

How much time should we spend on practicing before trying our skills in real life? 

How much time should we spend on filling in evaluations and reports instead of getting things done?

How much trust should we have?

Step off the path

“Step off the path, and maybe you’d get back and maybe you wouldn’t, but you would be changed. Which sounds like strange and awful until you realise that that’s actually pretty much how it’s always been, and if you think any different, it’s because you’ve never left that little stretch of comfort and gone someplace where what you know gets a bit thin on the ground.”

Nick Harkaway, The Gone-Away World

When you try something new, something you don’t do every day, then you will be changed. Your body will change form the physical experience and your mind from the new thoughts and feelings. Your mind will need to carve new pathways to handle these new experiences. What we often forget is that we change by doing the same things as well. Every time you repeat something our mind strengthens those pathways and makes it easier for us to do them the next time. It will be easier and require less energy every time you do something which is both a good thing and a bad thing. The bad thing is that it might be harder and harder to try new things if we get used to the low amount of energy required to just do what we always do.

What do I love doing in life?

“What do I love doing in life? After several moments of silence, Quaeryt replied, “That’s because I question that myself. I don’t know that I have an answer for you, not one that would be completely honest. I like making things … better. But ‘better’ is something that is different for each man, each woman.” He offered a crooked smile. Darlinka looked to Vaelora, questioningly.”

L.E Modesitt Jr., Princeps

There are many great questions to ask yourself, but I think this one is among the best: What do I love doing in life?. Instead of focusing on our strengths or our weaknesses. Think first about what you really love doing or what brings a smile to your lips. If you really like it you can always become better at it.

As long as you choose to spend time on what you really love doing in life…

We can be too trusting, but can we be too trustworthy?

“Recently, I talked to a man. Some of you know him. Some don’t. I asked for his help in a matter some would call small and some would not. He said that he would do what he could. From this man, those words meant what they said.”

           – L.E Modesitt Jr., Scholar

Most people are focused on if they could trust other people. We look at how others behave, what they say, and what they do. From this we then try to figure out if we feel we could trust this person or not. Some have a very long memory and old wrongdoings will color their trust of other people for a very long time and other people have a shorter memory. What people often forget is to think about how trustworthy they are. Do I behave in a way that make people trust me? Do I do what I say I will? How open am I with my thoughts and feelings? This is much more important because this is something we can work on and something we have full control over.

We can be too trusting, but can we be too trustworthy?

What exactly do patrols do?

What exactly do patrols do? For better or worse, he was about to find out.

          – L.E. Modesitt Jr, Scholar

I guess patrols are patrolling, but what does that in practice mean? What does an engineer do? An economist? A manager? A nurse? A president? A vice president? A teacher? A barista? A beggar? A scientist? A programmer? A clown? An artist? A dancer? An actor? A singer? A taxi driver? A doctor? A psychiatrist? A soldier? A police officer? A train conductor?

I have an idea in my head of what each of these people are doing at work. It is probably just an idea though, and the thing I think they are doing is probably only a very small part of what their jobs actually entail. And I’m probably completely wrong on a few of them as well…