The Beauty that is I Am

…sounds like broken English, doesn’t it, but stay with me awhile!  This is another suggestion for a blog to support the Moodscope community (www.moodscope.com).  I’ve mentioned this kind of content before, but was struck today by the beauty of Ten Commandments compared with Ten Dynamic Statements…

 

The Beauty that is I Am

 

I love old movies.  Charlton Heston in “The Ten Commandments” was brilliant.  I like it when he stands before the burning bush and hears the bush make the statement: “I Am…”  And that leads me to one of the most important phrases in my life and anybody else’s life.  What comes after the words “I Am…” really defines us.

 

The Moodscope cards (see http://www.moodscope.com)  give us an opportunity to recognise when “I am distressed…” or “I am jittery…” as a vital means to take our daily pulse.  However, it also gives us a chance to recognise ten magnificent states of mind:

  •  I Am Strong
  • I Am Excited
  • I Am Alert
  • I Am Determined
  • I Am Enthusiastic
  • I Am Active
  • I Am Attentive
  • I Am Proud
  • I Am Inspired
  • I Am Interested

 

I believe there is a huge amount of positivity to be released when we say these out loud to ourselves, and sometimes in front of others.  Of course most of them need some content or context.  For example, “I am determined to take three positive action steps today…” or, “I am inspired by the poem I am writing…” or, “I am really interested in the history programme that’s on tonight.”

 

Moving forward is often about catching ourselves getting things right… and having positive “I Am” statements is a great way to feel great.

 

Are you going to give it a go?  I Am!

Don’t Be Evil – Google it

“Don’t be evil” is an amazing phrase to be associated with a brand as important as Google.  Even if it is not ‘official’, some claim that this is a central pillar of Google’s identity.

Well, I have some thoughts!

One of the first lessons in linguistics a hypnotist learns is the power of “don’t” as a suggestion.  I can demonstrate this immediately: “Don’t think about magic mushrooms!”  OK, it’s time for you to be honest, what was the first thing you thought of?  Parents regularly learn this lesson by the time their children have grown up and left home.  After years of saying, “Careful!  Don’t drop that!”  or “Careful!  You’ll hurt yourself!” they finally get the message that saying, “Don’t!” is a great way to create the very result they don’t want.

The Google employee who coined the catch-phrase was unlikely to be a hypnotist.  It was an innocent and well-intentioned choice.  But Google is not stupid – it has a collective brain – probably the best resourced on the Planet.  Someone at Google understands this and their voice is not being heard.

Google and Mother Teresa

I am for peace

I am for peace

Mother Teresa was once asked to march in protest against one of the World’s conflicts.  She refused.  Confused, the protesters in this noble cause asked her, “Why?”  She explained that she would never march against anything – but she would march for peace.  Mother Teresa understood the power of moving towards more of what you want, and how much more powerful this is than moving away from what you don’t want.  “What you resist, persists!”  (Ed).

Don’t Walk on the Grass

Do Not Walk On The Grass

Do Not Walk On The Grass

“Don’t Walk on the Grass” is one of my favourite signs.  Every time I see it, I only want to do one thing… and I know you know what I mean.  Anyway, there might be magic mushrooms growing there…

And talking of Magic Mushrooms…

……..

…..

Google and God

Of course, controversially, Google and God go back a long way on this.

Exodus 20 has interesting suggestions for the hypnotically-minded:

3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them…

7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain…

13 Thou shalt not kill.

14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

15 Thou shalt not steal.

16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

Verse 8 on the Sabbath starts promisingly: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy…” but then it goes on to talk about not doing any work…hmmm.  The imperative: “Remember!” is a great imperative!  Its results contrast highly with the doomed imperative: “Don’t forget!” since this is almost guaranteed to cause you to forget.  Derren Brown uses this to great effect.

So, given the linguistic structure of the ten commandments, it is no wonder that the World is in trouble.  Moses has just hypnotically suggested we go and kill, steal, covet, lie, and work ourselves to the bone… or has he?

Moses and Google Revisited

I guess, by now, I’ve upset half the world’s population, but Google may have forgiven me.  The rest of you whom I’ve upset, hold your peace for a minute – I might just yet redeem myself.

Let’s just suppose Moses has a writer-in-the-know on his script-writing team…  The key question to pose is: “What would you rather have?”  So here are some of the 10 Commandments rewritten in the light of modern linguistics:

3 Put Me first out of all the gods (and put even better, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart…’)

4 Make images just for art’s sake!  It’s a block of wood, of clay, of stone, for god’s sake!

7 Keep the name of the LORD thy God special, sacred…  there are plenty of other words you can use to punctuate your sentences if you really aren’t very articulate.

13 Let everyone live.  Possibly, even, let everything live (nice one for the Vegans).

14 Be faithful to your partner.  (You hear that, NLPers?  Rapport is important!)

15 If you want something, save up for it, buy it, or ask for it!  If you really have to, get it on credit.

16 Only tell the truth about your neighbour.  Actually, just tell the truth… it’s easier in the long-run.

17 Be happy with your own house (if you’ve got one), be happy with your own wife (if you want one – I guess that means ‘husband’ too, but it’s not mentioned in Exodus), be happy with your own manservant (OK, I’ve got problems with that one in any format), be happy with your own maidservant (ditto though the uniform is fetching), be content with your own ox (well, I live in Dorset, so I get that), be satisfied with your own ass (tempting, but ‘no comment’), just be content with your own stuff, OK?”

“And as for the Sabbath, just chill out, OK, and keep it special – you’ve got six days to work in – enough already!”

So did God get it wrong (if Moses really was God’s Scribe?)  No, of course, not!  We need to explain “Don’t” in many situations because otherwise people will be stupid and do stupid things.  Both sides of the Do/Don’t coin need to be spelled out.  What I’m suggesting is that there is a powerful role for the answers to the question, “What would you rather have?” after you have spelled out what is not acceptable.

For Google, I’d challenge the “Don’t do Evil” by asking that self-same question: “What would you rather have us do then?”  And then the answer is crystal clear: Do Good!  Make a positive difference in the World.  Make the World a better place.  Amen?  Amen!

The alternative is grim.  If you say, “Don’t do Evil” – multitudes of people will have no neurological choice other than to begin running Google-like searches through their mental database for what ‘Evil’ looks like, sounds like, smells like, tastes like, and does… like!  And these seeds of meditation often then lead to the fruit of action.  Good stuff in your heart… good fruit from your lips and actions.  Bad stuff in your heart and mind?  Watch out, ‘cos you can tell what a tree is feeding on by its fruit.

The Conclusion of the Matter

Do Good… (and as for the medical creed of, “Do no harm…” just read the blog, OK?)

And as for me, my last words are: “Don’t send me £100 thank you for writing this blog!  Not even £500, or £1000, OK?”

Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na, Batman!

Two Comic-Book Hero theme tunes have stayed with me since childhood: “Spiderman” and “Batman”.  Basically, you can improvise all manner of new lyrics over these catchy tunes.  I know my colleague, Peter Cook, is big on Rock, Punk and Modern Music, but I feel there’s a place for learning a lesson or two from our Comic-Book Hero’s and their theme tunes.

(Btw, what’s your Theme Tune?… and that’s the subject of another blog!)

Today, it’s Batman’s turn… and I’m talking about the wonderful days of Adam West’s Batman… Pow!  I’m going to re-write this for us to sound like this: “Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah, BATNA!”  (Did anyone actually count to see if I had enough “Nah”s?)

I am in the enviable position of looking for a new job now I’m in my 50s.  The market has changed.  I need a hero.  BATNA is my crime-fighting Hero, and he’ll be your protector too.  He fights against the crimes of “wasted potential” and “ageism” so often perpetrated against the over-50s.  I have to say though, if you’re switching off because you’re not over 50, I can promise you that you are suffering under the crime-lords of prejudice too… just a different kind of prejudice.  Let BATNA come to your aid.

BATNA – a kind of Self-Help Hero

BATNA is an acronym, and he stands for “Best Alternative To Negotiated Agreement”.  He’s all about seagulls and sparrows, pigeons and crows.  Why?  Well seagulls and sparrows, pigeons and crows will eat just about anything.  They’ll live just about anywhere. They are flexible – they’ve generated more choices for themselves, multiple options.  They have alternatives to any ‘negotiable’ environment.  So many of my mature friends are heading into desperate waters, and they are giving off distress signals.  This doesn’t make them attractive!

I believe it is vital to have a few confidants to whom you can open up and bare your soul – but outside of these few relationships, shut and lock the casement of your heart – you’ve got work to do.  And what is this work?  It is to find your BATNAs… even to generate them!  First, to the Bat Cave, and then to the Bat Mobile to stop the bad guys Robbing.

Business Revisited, or a New Career?

Yes, the market has changed.  Yes, times are tough.  No, no-one owes you a living!

This really is a chance for you to redefine your destiny – to take control, and to steer the course of your life.  How?  Generate options.  If you’re going for an interview and you have no other interviews in the pipeline, you’re a bit needy, aren’t you?  If you have one choice, you’re stuck.  Just consider all the terrible things that have happened in history because, and I quote, “I had no other choice!”

If you have two choices you are pierced through by the horns of the dilemma – “Should I stay, or should I go?”

If you have three choices, you are beginning to develop some positional power – and BATNA has come alive in you.  And this is where the “Nah Nahs” come in.  You’re going to get a lot of them… negative inputs, no-no responses.  But just remember, these are only the build up to the triumphant declaration: “B-A-T-N-A!!!”

Conclusion of the Matter

So, as you face the uncertain future, lay down your fear – it’s a mind-killer, generate your choices, and take up your options.  You are creative enough to find more options.  And wise enough to embrace change – I approach my close with my favourite quote for a hopeful future.  It comes from the epic novel and movie, Dune:

“…a person needs new experiences. They jar something deep inside, allowing him to grow. Without change something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The Sleeper must awaken.”

Wake up!  Destiny favours the well-prepared and their Super Hero: BATNA, Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah.

Taking Control via The-Finger-of-Blame!

The-Finger-of-Blame-webIt’s tempting, when things go wrong, to point the finger.  Like the putting a finger to the lips, and saying, “Shhhhh!” – the pointing finger-of-blame seems to be an Internationally accepted gesture.  This is good news – because it means we understand it wherever we are reading this around the Globe.  It means that the event is the fault of whomever or whatever the finger-of-blame is pointing at.  The benefit of this is that we get a sense of temporary relief when we have convinced ourselves that it is someone or something else’s fault.  If we ruled the Universe, things would be different, wouldn’t they?

Well there is hidden power beneath the finger-of-blame. When you take a good long look at the finger-of-blame, you’ll notice three fingers below pointing back at you from your own hand.  These are not fingers-of-blame, but rather they represent a reminder that three opportunities are at hand.  These opportunities are a reminder that at least 3 times as many aspects of our lives are under our own control.  Yes, things do happen to us that are outside our control – events that truly are not our fault – but certainly no more than 25% of the time – considerably less in fact.  At least 75% of what happens in my life is directly under the influence of my own decisions, my own actions, and my own beliefs.

This means that even on the most annoying, irritating day, I can still look at my own hand and realise I’ve got the odds 3:1 in my favour.  Then I decide on 3 actions I will take to improve my day, and I feel the power of control through taking action coursing through my veins.

Let your own hand be a reminder of just how powerful you are.  You choose your beliefs.  You make your decisions.  You are the one taking the action…  You got da power!

Pragmatic Principles for Changing the World…

DVD Cover of this most excellent movie

DVD Cover of this most excellent movie

If you have an open mind to being touched by an idea “whose time has come” – this is multilevel entertainment. It’s what I call, “Entertrainment®” – which is “Entertainment with an engaging purpose.” On a basic level, it’s a feel-good movie, crafted to hit all the major emotional buttons… you’ll be touched, enraged, heart-broken, and healed – largely thanks to the excellent acting. You’ll feel associations with the innocence and sincerity of “The Sixth Sense”, the raw emotive neediness of “As Good As It Gets” and the thrill of resolution of “What Women Want”… (I even think one of the same buildings is used from “What Women Want”). At this level the film almost gets 5 stars because, like “The Time Traveler’s Wife” – I felt the film had an unnecessarily sad/happy ending. The same effect could have been achieved as a happy/happy ending.

[Spoiler Alert]
Now, at a higher level, you are introduced to an idea that is perhaps even more eloquent than the Starfish Principle*. With “Pay It Forward” – the concept is blissfully simple: RAOK = “Random Acts of Kindness” to three complete strangers. In practice, the film, as in life, allows some of these acts to be invested in people you know, but the principle is beautiful: be kind to three other people, and in so doing, change the world from the shitty place it has become.

The deeper truth of the movie is to be found in the young lad’s frustration with the “Pay-It-Forward-Principle” apparently ‘not-working’ – and that’s where we really need to take hold of the principle for its value, in and of itself. Does it really matter if it doesn’t work? I don’t think so. Stephen Covey’s articulation of the “Win-Win” concept is similar. The idea is always to pursue a win-win for all parties, BUT if it doesn’t work, you’ve still opened and left open a doorway through kindness.

As Burt Bacharach said, “What the World needs now is ‘Love, Sweet Love’…That’s the only thing that there’s just too little of…” and Lennon + McCartney said, “All You Need Is Love”… all very Biblical but I think what the World really needs is Mother-Theresa-type, get-your-hands-dirty-style love. (Perhaps a welcome reframe of the term, “Dirty Love”?!) A better word for this is “Kindness”.

Too gooey? Too goofy? Too tree-huggy? One of the joys of this movie is that the vast majority of those who buy-into the “Pay It Forward Three Times” concept are NOT boy-scouts or girl-guides – rather, they are gritty, ‘failed’, flawed characters who perceive a glimmer of a chance of making things better. We’re ALL sorry; we ALL wish we’d made better choices at times; we’ve ALL made mistakes – well here’s a way to shift the attention to, “OK, what shall we do about it?” – a far more pragmatic, future-focus.

I suggest we do what it says on the cover, and “Pay It Forward!”

[*The Starfish Principle relates to a business consultant walking along a beach one day after thousands of starfish have been stranded by a freak Spring Tide. A young lad is picking up individual starfish and flinging each one back deep into the Ocean. The consultant, not unkindly, points out to the lad that he cannot hope to make a difference to a problem of such magnitude. The child grins cheekily and says, “I made a difference to THAT one!” One Starfish at a time… For me, the Starfish is a lovely icon for the “Pay-It-Forward” Principle – and, since the Starfish has five limbs, I’d like to go out on a limb and suggest we all begin to pay-if-forward not three times, but five times, or seven… or more…]

Love Brands and the Secret to their Success

Psyche opening the gate to Cupid’s Garden

[This is a sample of my forthcoming eBook on this subject.  Consider this the practical overview – a foretaste of a publication that will go into far more depth.]

What if we could find a secret – a secret that would show us the way to never fail?  Guests at weddings have been exposed to this secret for hundreds of years, but can this secret be unlocked for companies, organisations, and brands?  Saatchi and Saatchi were the first to coin the phrase “Lovemarks” as a new and refreshing alternative to brands, but we are going to keep to the language of a “Love Brand” for this exploration of our potential future successes.

Here’s the passage (from the NIV) that has given us the clue at so many weddings.

1 Corinthians 13

New International Version (NIV)

13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails… 13… And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. [End]

Love Brand Chrome

1 Corinthians 13 rewritten for Loving Brands

Saatchi and Saatchi talk of “Lovemarks” – but there is something far greater: a Loving Brand.  A “Lovemark” or “Love Brand” is defined by its fans, its staff, its customers, its suppliers… A “Loving Brand” takes responsibility for its own actions, its own love; it is proactively loving… and lovely!

I have taken the considerable liberty of rewriting 1 Corinthians 13 through the lens of modern marketing and business practice.  My rewrite is not Divine Revelation – though my hope is that such Divine Wisdom may be seen in this new light to be phenomenally relevant to modern business practice.  I certainly felt inspired to write this message!

And so for Loving Brands:

If I speak using the language of today’s customers, of the media, and of celebrities, but have not love I am only an empty vessel that makes the most noise.  If I have the gift of knowing how the market is trending, and can fathom such mysteries and know what to do with this knowledge, and if I believe in my organisation to the point where this belief will move whatever blocks my way, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I invest heavily in Corporate Social Responsibility, publically and visibly sacrificing much for the community in which I do business, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

A “Loving Brand” is patient with its staff, its suppliers, its customers, its community.

A “Loving Brand” is kind to its customers, its suppliers, its staff, its community.

A “Loving Brand” does not envy – even its competition.  It does not boast or exaggerate its achievements.  It is not arrogant.  It does not dishonour others (especially its competitors’ offerings), it is not self-seeking, it is slow to anger (and quick to hold-its-tongue), it keeps no record of wrongs – by staff, by competitors, by governments, by banks, by suppliers, by customers…

A “Loving Brand” does not take pleasure in bad matters but rather rejoices when truth and integrity are manifest.

A “Loving Brand” always protects the Brand, the Team, the Customers, the Market, the Earth.

A “Loving Brand” always trusts its people, its customers, its suppliers…

A “Loving Brand” always has a sure and certain confidence to do with its unseen future – it is hopeful, upbeat, and positive. It thinks in possibilities, not impossibilities.

A “Loving Brand” manifests perseverance – always.

Loving Brands never fail.

…and these three will remain, belief in the Lovely, Loving Brand, confidence in the Lovely, Loving Brand’s future, and love by the Brand and love of the Brand.

But the greatest of these is love.

I say to you again, “Loving Brands never fail.”

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