are you a cup of tea…or a shot of tequila?
I know I’m not everybody’s cup of tea…I’d rather be someone’s shot of tequila anyway. – Unknown
Dan Blank describes a conversation with an author friend. There are so many people trying to develop their own brand/audience/platform, the author says, that the market is supercrowded with people screaming, “Look at me!”.
To get noticed now, the author continues, you have to get crazy.
You have to engage in an increasingly “reckless chase for attention”.
But I think that chasing attention, recklessly or otherwise, is stupid.
It’s pretty much a cosmic law that anything you chase will run away from you. And an object in motion tends to stay in motion.
Also, attention is fleeting. Here and gone. It’s not enough just to get it, you have to maintain it, and to do that you need to resonate with your readers in a way that moves and compels them.
Resonance, not craziness, is what cuts through the noise — because we are hardwired to pay attention to the stuff that is relevant to us.
(It’s why you jolt to the sound of your name, no matter how absorbed you were beforehand or how chaotic your environment.)
For something to be relevant, it has to have the ring of truth. If it pretends to be one thing but turns out to be something else, then it’s of no use to us (and we’re annoyed). It might even be a con (and then we’re pissed).
So we have to trust that it’s authentic.
Being relevant is hard.
It means you have to create something that other people actually want or need, and can’t get down the street for a cheaper price. It has to be totally unique, either in what it does, what it is, how it’s delivered – or the larger meaning that it comes to represent.
Being authentic is hard.
It means you have to get real, and be real, and show other people that reality (not all of it, just the parts that relate to your message). This is also known as putting yourself out there – your beliefs and opinions, your work, your ideas, your pride, your ego, your feelings, your voice. Maybe you open windows into your personal life. Maybe you don’t. Either way, there’s a sense of exposure, of laying part of your soul on the line.
Some people will throw tomatoes at you.
Other people will trust you. They recognize that you’ve got skin in the game — which means that you’re playing for real.
This is the part where people tend to think I’m saying: Just be yourself. But most people don’t know who they are, and ‘being yourself’ becomes deeply problematic when you’re looking for the self that you’re supposed to be being.
You want to be a focused, highly skilled, freak version of yourself.
You want to dig down deep to find that unique part, that weird and maybe slightly psychotic part, that beautiful raw fucked-up part, that you spent a lifetime learning to hide in the first place. We try, instead, to be everybody’s cup of tea. But then we’re not unique, and so we lose. We’re also not particularly authentic, so we lose again.
We’re a social mask dealing with other social masks, and we’ve been cut and buffed and measured in ways that seem pretty much the same.
Which is why I love the word Namaste. It’s that moment at the end of yoga when you and the teacher bow to each other. Namaste translates to mean, The divine in me recognizes and honors the divine in you, Or, I greet that place where you and I are one.
I like to think of it as:
The freak in me recognizes and honors the freak in you.
Which is what I think the best creative work truly does. It’s your inner freak speaking to my inner freak. Saying: you are my brand of crazy.
And that will always get my attention.