Weekly 3: Will you be missed?

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Idea Journal Weekly 3
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Idea Journal Weekly 3

October 24 · Issue #214 · View online

We combine 3 ideas to help you think differently and be more creative.


Summary: If you disappeared tomorrow, who would miss you? And what about you would they miss? The best time to answer these questions is while you’re still here.
(~4 min read)

#1. Give people something to remember you by
Another way to ensure that you’ll be missed is to ask: How can you make yourself more memorable?
Consider this scenario: You just gave a well-prepared presentation, or made a compelling case for why you should be chosen instead of the other candidates interviewing for your dream job.
But a few hours or days or weeks later, how will your audience remember you among all the other presentations and interviews they see?
Advertising executive Michael Parker writes in his book It’s Not What You Say that if you are “totally brilliant” and you delivered the best presentation they’ve ever seen, or you were the most charming and persuasive candidate they’ve ever interviewed, then perhaps they will remember you.
But most of us have to settle for less.
Parker recommends taking the “memorable test” to help you stay in your audience’s minds.
To use the memorable test, make sure your next presentation or interview has at least one of the following qualities, or you will be forgotten:
  • A compelling story
  • A repeatable phrase
  • A piece of pure theater
  • An unlikely setting
  • An astounding visual
  • Audience participation
  • Best of all? An idea
#2. How to ensure that you'll be missed
If Pizza Hut disappeared tomorrow, who would miss them? Could you find a replacement? 
Marketing guru Seth Godin writes on his blog that you should turn the same question on yourself: 
If you disappeared tomorrow, would the people you call your customers miss you? What about the places you’re applying for a job?
As Godin points out: “The problem with fitting in and being a cog in the machine is that cogs are intentionally designed to be easily replaceable. When one breaks, you just get another.”
No one misses the old one. 
That works for people and brands.
“When I say ‘missed when you’re gone,’ I’m not talking about having a lot of people come to your funeral. I’m talking about creating a reputation where you get asked back, where people seek out your product, where a store or a conference or an agenda isn’t complete without you.”
#3. Embrace your uniqueness and add to the culture
Author Robert Greene writes in his book The Laws of Human Nature that each of us has “a higher and a lower self.”
We can feel the higher self when we finish what we start, when we think of others before ourselves, or when instead of merely reacting to events we step back and strategize about the best step forward. 
The lower self is the more primitive part of our nature. We can sense it when, for example, we take everything personally, when we want to escape reality through some addictive pleasure, and when we waste time.
Although we’re most often floating between the two selves, if we look closely, we have to admit that the lower self is the stronger one.
As Greene notes, it takes awareness and effort to bring out the higher self: “If nothing impels us to do otherwise, we naturally become indolent, crave quick pleasures, turn inward, and brood over petty matters.”
Greene suggests that the key to making the struggle between the two selves more even is to cultivate what he calls the “inner authority.” The inner authority serves as the voice of our higher self. We can hear it at times, but it’s often faint.
Our job is to increase its volume. 
When we listen, this is what it tells us: 
“You have a responsibility to contribute to the culture and times you live in. Right now, you are living off the fruits of millions of people in the past who have made your life incomparably easier through their struggles and inventions. You have benefitted from an education that embodies the wisdom of thousands of years of experience.”=
Greene points out that it’s easy to take this all for granted, but that’s the view of spoiled children. 
Instead, we should recognize that the world needs constant improvement and renewal: 
“You are not here merely to gratify your impulses and consume what others have made but to make and contribute as well, to serve a higher purpose.”
For Greene, you can serve that higher purpose by embracing what makes you different. 
The key is to know yourself thoroughly: your tastes and inclinations, the fields that naturally attract you, and then work every day to improve those skills that reflect who you are.
When we move through life with this sense of a higher purpose, we’re on a mission. We are realizing our life’s work. 
“Even death can lose its sting. What we have accomplished will outlive us, and we do not have that debilitating feeling of having wasted our potential.”
Quote of the week
“If I’m going to be anything more than average, if anyone is going to remember me, then I need to go further, in art, in life, in everything.”
- Attributed to artist Salvador Dali
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