No I don’t mean faked Moon Landings or the shape of the Earth that we live on. Or even if there are Aliens living in the center of the planet (gotta be hard with a flat planet) coming out at night in grey suits to probe our brains.
What I am asking here is what if the wrong idea that we were all taught was:
If you shout loud enough,
Make yourself visible enough,
Follow all the fashions,
You will be someone.
Is that right?
Land Of Make Believe
What if Kevin Costner was right in “Field Of Dreams”, in “The Postman”, and to some extent in “Waterworld”?
Sorry ladies, I am not suggesting Costner is the Second Coming. But what if he was warning us what was about to happen (what already was actually) in terms of the emotional environment we live in now. They call that culture but I may call it frustrating.
In “Field Of Dreams” it was “If you build it, they will come”. In the “The Postman” it was the getting of the uniform that symbolized community that quietly spread hope as he went. “Waterworld” was more a soggy “Mad Max” but still there is the sense that by quietly being ourselves we would eventually find our feet on solid ground.
Sure, all movies tend towards rugged individualism, but what if..?
Piece Of The Action
Over the last 20 years we have had a personalized extension of the business marketer’s approach to self-aggrandizement with eternal pressure to create our own brands that we shout loudly all over the place. We have to insert ourselves like jack-in-the boxes in all the right places. We have to make ourselves not just visible but dominant everywhere so we get those Likes & Followers.
What if Kevin was right and that is the wrong way – the way of warlords & dictators? The way of the past?
The Right Situation
Perhaps instead of diluting ourselves by trying to fit the tribe and be seen, we should be taking a completely different approach. Perhaps the winning path these days should be to really find the message that we are here to deliver and let people find us.
The world has moved into a new phase (or at least is trying to – and perhaps would if people let go of the ego posting) so maybe our model should be more like a Buddhist Monk living in a cave, Gandhi, the Pet Shop Boys*.
I know that the usual argument raised is, “how will people know I am here (and how amazing I am) if I don’t shout it from the hilltops every second of the day?” You know, only a generation ago this was called “being full of yourself”. If you focused only on yourself good things never happened for anyone. Remember a certain Peter who got wolfed? When did the opposite become truer?
I’m not so sure it ever did. We got the shackles of tradition, church, nation etc lifted from ourselves so we could choose who we loved, how and when. That is all good. But did we give up the way to find our purpose & place in that? I think maybe we did. That leaves only shouting & punching. Which oddly enough is exactly what we see.
What if instead of spending all your time chasing fame, you let yourself find the real reason you are here? The thing that you can do that no one else can, and there are people out there in need of? Get good at it and then let those people arrive at your front gate?
Getting Kinda Lonely
It may, at first, seem a quieter world when you don’t have your phone going ding at you every 13 seconds but get through that stage. I am still going through that myself and sometimes it is a bit unnerving.
But after gradually pulling back from social media and various groups that never delivered much of value I have noticed that other things are appearing in those spaces.
More jobs have rolled in. Even better, those jobs have been better quality ones (better paid too). Clients who have chosen me more for something about me than simply because I was there and loud.
I am also better at noticing and saying no to jobs where there is nothing for me. I call them “ego jobs”, the ones where the client wants me to be their robot arm and deliver someone else’s work for $5. Being apart from the clutter helps me to see these (non) jobs for what they are.
I am really looking forward to having these better jobs in my Portfolio so people can see the new Benedict. The right people can see them and ask me for what I can do for them.
*alright I get that may seem a bit odd but remember that PSB started out not playing concerts, their record covers tended to the minimal and overall gave a sense of “here we are, come see if you like it”. And it was good. Really good. The world learned to accept PSB for who they were instead of their having to bend to fashion, it ended up bending around them like a stream. They never actually went our of fashion and their later records are generally still really good.
Thanks to Bucks Fizz for all the section headings. I meant to go with Nick Cave songs but Bucks Fizz seemed better in the end.