>Changing the Purpose of Commercials

>It’s been quite a while since my last post, but never fear! During my hiatus, I have been exploring ways to travel from where we are to where we need to be—as a culture, as a country, etc. The biggest problem that is weighing on everyone’s mind is the problem of the economy. Some of us propose drastic measures, and some of us have simply given up. Unfortunately, most of us don’t see any path the individual can take that will make a difference. We hope the experts and government officials will come up with something.

This country had long been supported by the work of individuals in small businesses. Then the industrial age brought us the factory, and many people bought into the idea of a weekly paycheck—trading time for dollars. Of course, things changed again. Now there isn’t much growth in time-for-dollar jobs, and there is stiff competition from other countries whose economic situations have them in a desperate enough situation that they can underbid almost all American labor.

With soaring unemployment, more and more people are sitting at home, vegging out on TV. Technology makes it easy for us to entertain our brains so we don’t have to think about the mess we’re in. However, these financially-strapped, debt-laden couch potatoes aren’t the ideal demographic for TV commercials. Those that don’t ignore the ads altogether can’t afford to buy anything anyway, and they can’t afford any more debt either. The consequence of this is that the value of the TV market block is falling. As it falls the revenue for creating shows also falls, and the quality of said shows suffers.

What I have discovered (and I apologize for what sounds like a shameless sales-pitch) is a website called Varolo (learn more and join our “village” here). This site is founded on the very same principles that I have been discussing over the past year on this blog. In essence, it is the embodiment of the first phase of FITmedia’s vision of a media shift. It has the potential to sever the connection between TV commercials and TV shows.

Varolo is a completely free service that allows anyone aged 13 and above to earn a portion of the money its advertisers pay, simply by watching an average of 10 minutes of commercials a day and inviting others to do the same. This is similar to network marketing, except you watch ads instead of buying products. When you watch the introduction video, you will begin to see how this service could attract a lot of advertising money away from traditional ad-driven television.

Initially, this will hurt the old-school networks, and they will be forced to adopt pay-per-view and subscription-based services to stay afloat. The upside is that with ad dollars being returned to individuals—according to Varolo’s moderately lucrative plan—there will be more money for people to spend on entertainment. AND people will likely only spend money on shows or channels that they actually care about, which will increase the quality of the shows the networks choose to air.

It is therefore possible for a well-organized tribe of media geeks to use money earned from Varolo (and other companies that will likely follow suit) to generate capital that they can use to develop high-quality media to fill this need. In other words, überfans of a given TV show (or TV show idea) have a chance to become the mediators between advertising interests and the artistic expression of content creators.

The TV Revolution is beginning…

>Your Job is (not) Important

>There are two ways to look at the world of work. One says that your job is important, and the other says that it’s not. By “job” I mean whatever activities you engage in on a regular basis which require you to perform tasks for which you are paid based upon the time you spent—one way or the other. For all but a fortunate few, this is something you would not do for free, because you do not necessarily enjoy it—being “work” and all.

We spend most of our waking hours engaged in these activities which earn us money to pay for the rest of our lives (the happiness parts). The question is whether our jobs are important or not. Either might be true, depending on your specific case. Without any real thought, it is easy for a person to assume his job is important simply because it is an important source of income for him. Or conversely, it is easy to assume that one’s job is unimportant, simply because it does not come with a title or other recognition.

But whether your job is important or not depends greatly on its actual impact. You’re either changing the world or you’re not. You’re either growing a future for yourself and your family, or your digging yourself into a rut. Strangely, these two views pretty much come from the same source. The actual importance of your job will be the long-term decider both for the impact you have on the world for good, and the future you will grow for yourself and your family.

Because we tend to see only what is most readily visible, the “gold bars,” corner offices, and other symbols of rank can be used in large organizations to create the illusion of importance. A position might appear important, and everyone might believe it is important…however, consider whether the quality of work done in the position changes anything. If either a virtuoso or a buffoon fills to position, does it change the fate of the organization?

It should be noted that in many corporations (and other organizations of similar structure) that the answer to this question is designed to be a resounding “no!” The old school way of doing business is to assume you’re a buffoon until proven otherwise. Therefore, most of the power is placed in central positions like the CEO, et al. In these positions, it matters, but only to the fate of the company. If the company isn’t making a great deal of change in the world, than neither is the CEO.

Ultimately, it is important to remember that our jobs are only as important as we make them. Whether or not your company is keeping you down or lifting you up, it is up to you to do important work. If the powers that be don’t like what you’re doing, then perhaps its not the place for you. Don’t marry the job, marry the work.

>Ob Petere

>”Competition” is an interesting word. It’s also a charged word. While it doesn’t have a lot of definitions, it does have a lot of surface applications that can be confused with different meanings. It can also be used to justify actions or lack of actions, in certain contexts. It can be fun or it can be serious. It can build up an organization or tear it down.

Probably the most common usage of the word is in reference to the “friendly” competition of athletics and the like. The second, then, comes in describing a commercial concept. In both cases, competition implies that some person (or group) is winning and another is losing. To win a competition, one must simply rank better than the opposition during officially measured trials. Therefore, the goal of competition has become the defeat of the opposition.

I am only a novice when it comes to linguistics, but a quick search of the word “competition” reveals that it comes from the Latin, “competere,” which means “to strive for”—from “com-” meaning “together” and “petere” meaning “aim at, seek.” While the word came to mean “rivalry” in late Latin before entering the English vocabulary, its early meaning did not include the concept of opposition. As you can see, it included a prefix which means “together.”

The idea of striving for something together seems rather alien in our contemporary culture. More commonly we think in terms of striving against someone or something. This mentality about competition has shown itself historically to motivate improvement on all sides. There hardly seems like any point to playing sports if it isn’t to defeat the other teams. To do so, the players must improve themselves—both as individuals and as a team.

The same advantage applies to the commercial sense of the word. Historically, nations that allow businesses to complete generate more innovation and subsequent prosperity than those that either do not allow free enterprise, or highly regulate it. The reason is the same as it is in athletic competition: for anyone who wishes to run a successful business (win the competition), there is pressure to improve the quality of the goods and services he provides.

Unfortunately, the mentality of striving against (or “obpetere” with “ob-” meaning “against”) the competition tends to promote practices which are not conducive to prosperity, even if they technically count as winning. Basically, I mean endeavoring in any pursuit—legal or illegal—which handicaps the competition. This ranges from outright sabotage to lobbying for laws that favor your business other others.

It’s cheating. It’s destructive, degenerative, and wrong.

Instead of focusing on beating the competition, people who endeavor for success should focus on creating value, ignoring the competition. It may be that looking back at the competition periodically is important for success, but confusing success with simply being better than the next guy will never allow you to reach your full potential. It is far more important to the world that you (or anyone seeking success) develop the mentality of “striving together.”

In other words, competition serves the primary function of democratic growth, wherein the participating populace is collectively inspired and motivated to improve the whole. It is not because we are forced or brainwashed into improving the whole, but because we stand to gain both recognition and monetary reward for ourselves from winning an honest competition. The operative word here is “honest.”

If the primary focus is on creating value, then rewards are given for reaching this goal, not cheating others out of it.

>Emergency Leadership

>As with anything, the topic of leadership can be split and subdivided any any number of ways, but if we look at the multitude of environments which catalyze leaders, there are basically two types of leadership. The first, is emergency leadership, and the second is—drum roll please!—non-emergency leadership.

Emergency leadership is whenever a person stands up in the face of disaster and says, “Let’s do this.” I use the word “disaster” loosely here because the most obvious examples—in news media and fiction, say—are disasters. Whenever there is an earthquake, a flood, a fire, a plane crash, a train crash, a terrorist bomb, etc, certain people stand up and say, “Let’s roll!” However, less public examples include late bills, traffic jams, broken copy machines, and marital spats.

Emergency leadership so often takes center stage in media because, for one, leadership of any kind is rare, and two, fixing a disaster looks so heroic. Tales of heroism have long been an important mainstay to the storytelling tradition. Stories of disaster and the brave men and women who led the people out of the darkness are as easy to relate for the teller as they are to envision by the listener. And they pass along portable lessons which are inspirational and valuable in less obvious crises.

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=fitmedia-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0743269519&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrThe trouble with focusing solely on emergencies, as mainstream media tends to do, is that it teaches to—and therefore re-enforces—a reactionary paradigm. Many, if not most, emergencies are the result of too little proactive leadership—or non-emergency leadership. As Stephen Covey says in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” most people focus on tasks that are “urgent”—whether or not they are important.

Proactive leadership is preventative maintenance. Many of the tasks performed are not heroic or glamorous, even though they are important.

In their quest for success, many ambitious people fall short of their potential because they seek the recognition that comes with heroically putting out fires. While putting out fires is certainly important, fires (even figurative ones) cause permanent damage which stunts growth long-term. Fires also take more time and energy to put out than sparks, and so reactionary leaders tend to waste valuable resources needed to prevent fires in the first place.

Despite popular opinion, the problem is not caused solely by “greedy hotrods.” Many people simply lack the mental ability to recognize tasks that are important, but not urgent. It’s not that they are stupid, just unlearned. Abstract concepts start with concrete examples, which is why stories of emergency leadership is so pervasive. It is important to grab a hold of an example, such as Jack Shepherd, from my favorite TV show, LOST.

Being a doctor, he reacted to the plane crash with the use of his expertise, and gained the position of leader, even though he didn’t want it. However, his reactionary style continued long after the crash, when the survivors had settled into a sort of lifestyle—or “normalcy.” Jack goes on to orchestrate acts of defiance against the other people on the Island who presented themselves as a threat.

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=fitmedia-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=B00005JNOG&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrThough he eventually learns to bide his time, he never really learns to be proactive. Interestingly, it is Sawyer, the “bad boy” of the survivors’ camp who goes on to learn about being proactive. In a memorable scene, he tells Jack about Winston Churchill, who he says “read a book every night, even during the Blitz.” His point is not far from Covey’s 7th Habit, “Sharpening the Saw.” Or in other words, preparing for the unknown.

Once you understand the principles behind the first type of leadership, it is important to dig deeper in order to get better at preventing the disasters that are within your area of influence. Once the disaster is over, the war brought to peace, and the fires put out, it is imperative to understand what went wrong so we can change our habits before they lead to another disaster. In so doing, we save a lot of time, energy, and even lives.

>A Big Comfortable Tree

>Personal development media is about pushing your limits and expanding your capacity and abilities. By identifying weak points and blind spots, then learning to work with or around them, we maximize our potential for success in whatever area of life we choose to focus. Inherently, this process requires that you “get out of your comfort zone.” In other words, it is impossible to grow if you seek comfort over growth.

However, when dealing with people outside oneself, it is very important to be likeable. Fundamental to likeability is being comfortable to be around. If you’re uncomfortable with yourself, it shows. Worse, it has a tendency to make other people uncomfortable, too. When this happens too often, you destroy your ability to be likeable.

So the first question you should ask yourself about success (after “what is success to me?”) is “how do I remain comfortable outside my comfort zone?” Fortunately, there is a difference between the internal comfort that makes you easy to like, and the external discomfort you have to endure in order to expand your capacity. The only challenge remains in learning to identify that difference.

Internal comfort comes from understanding yourself, then channelling your strengths. Learning which projects to tackle—and which to ignore—based upon your own personal passions and weaknesses is empowering. When you start to make headway with this process, you will naturally increase your self-confidence. When you increase your self-confidence, you become more comfortable with yourself—and more comfortable to be around.

Once you understand your unique State of FITness (or FITstate), you will be better able to manage the frustration created by pushing your external comfort zone. As I have illustrated before, a FITstate is the naturally defined balance of relevant elements, which are combined in harmony to enable the highest climb with the most stability. Like a healthy tree, the higher the reach, the broader its expanse can be—based upon the given nature of that particular tree. The broader the expanse of “branches” fed by strong “roots”, the greater the possibilities for a fulfilling life.

Like a tree, our expanse of possibilities is stunted by an insufficient root system or poor soil, as well as by the available space in the canopy. However, unlike the tree, we can change our root situation, and in doing so, fairly negotiate for more canopy space and resources by which to fuel that new potential growth. This process is inherently painful because we naturally draw the boundaries of our comfort zones at the point where we decide the pain is “unbearable.” Roots are not easy to replant, nor is it easy to push new branches into unexplored territory.

However, when something you passionately want requires actions that are outside of your comfort zone (your existing expanse in the canopy), the pain can become more bearable. This is because things you are passionate about carry their own reward in the journey. You are more willing to fail—a necessity for learning—along a path to what you feel is a worthy goal, than you are along a path to something you are lukewarm about.

Once you know what you’re passionate about, you will know what to invest your time in. You never “spend” time on your passions, you “invest” time in your passions. If you are truly passionate about something, then even the failures are blessings, because you are interested enough in the project to find the lesson in the failure and try again. This perspective eliminates much of the frustration that comes from falling short of a goal on a path you’re simply lukewarm about. When you avoid frustration, you remain comfortable with yourself. When you avoid external discomfort (pushing limits), you become frustrated and uncomfortable with yourself.

So how about it? Would you like to be a big, comfortable tree?

>Celebrate You

>Whenever a greeting card holiday rolls around, I can't help but write posts about the frivolity of industries based on them. This time, I think I'll switch it up a bit. Valentine's Day might mean a burst of candy sales and restaurant reservations, but because it is a minor holiday, much of this is actually done out of love.

In contrast with Christmas, which I believe is driven by family obligation more than genuine love, Valentine's Day is easily ignored by those not in the spirit. Sure, you run into the candy displays, and your kids have their parties, but it's rare when someone is pushed into a Valentine's Day party who doesn't want to go. No, people largely choose to celebrate the day when they feel they have something to celebrate.

Which brings me to my topic: Why are there so many people who don't have anything to celebrate?

I've been happily married for five years, but I remember hating Valentine's Day. I wanted someone to spend the day with, but lacked prospects. The traditionally male role of finding a mate weighed heavily on me, and the day had a way of rubbing it in.

Being a man and an introvert, I struggled with performing the tasks of my "duty." I wasted enormous amounts of energy on planning, rather than doing. Here's the part where I'm supposed to offer the advice to just do it, and if you're an extrovert, that's exactly what you should do (man or woman).

However, if you are an introvert, the advice is somewhat different. It is not in your nature to do the asking. By the same token, it is also not in the nature of your ideal mate to be asked. If an introvert forces himself into a dominant role for the purpose of winning a mate, he will only win a mate that compliments that role. Going forward, he will be forced to maintain a counterfeit role, or abandon the relationship.

While there are aspects of the human heart that coincide with gender, personality traits are not sex-linked. This confusion is caused by the media's tendency to typecast the sexes through over-simplification of the human condition. Consequently, there are many of us that end up feeling like misfits or freaks, when we are actually perfectly healthy individuals.

Love is finding common ground, often between complete opposites. If you're comfortable with who you are, and you know what you stand for in life, then you'll "magically" attract people that compliment you—including, but not limited to, a traditional romantic relationship.

The reason so many people feel lost on Valentine's Day is because they don't understand themselves. It's okay if you're not suave, if you're just not. In relationships, your level of discomfort speaks louder than any gimmick used to make you seem better.

Jamie Klueck
theFITmedia.com

>The Truth About TRUTH

>When speaking about the concept of truth, it is important for an audience to understand what that word refers to. In my mind, there are two distinct concepts embedded in that word.

The first is somewhat adequately defined as “facts.” The truth (lowercase “t”) is a collection of general information about something real and quantifiable. Science seeks the “truth” about or universe through objective, empirical study. It collects and chronicles present and past instances of real events in support of a general theory of the parts’ connection to each other.

The Truth (capital “T”), however, is not to be confused with his general theory, which is—after all—only a theory. The Truth is maddening to logicians and intellectuals because, by its nature, it can never be completely known or captured at any instance. It appears fluid because it has a broad application. In reality, it exists as unshakeably as the laws of physics.

Of course, religions claim exclusive ownership of Truth. Also, in many cases, nations or peoples claim this ownership. Even organizations (from legitimate to criminal) claim this ownership before their constituents. Indeed (and ironically), much blood has been and continues to be shed over the ownership of Truth. Yet Truth is bigger than religion, government, and the marketplace, the first informing the others. No man gets to decide what “Truth” is, only what “truth” is.

Throughout human civilization, those in power have sought to do a number of things using the Truth as a means to an end. Some seek to enlighten by attempting to expose the Truth, but the masses habitually remain focused only on what they can see. Others seek to control the masses by propagating a singular view of the Truth. No matter how monstrous or angelic the plan, the goal is nearly always to make the world a better place. The question is, better for whom?

There are two poles to the use of Truth as a catalyst for a better world. The first entails Truth being taught through a broad discussion, as with the Liberal Arts. People study the greatest ideas from all of human history in order to seek for themselves the best understanding of Truth. The other entails a scholar or “expert” building his own understanding (faulty or true) into a singular edifice for the masses.

The result is that only those willing to dive into the Liberal Arts ever acquire true perspective. Everyone else is encouraged to take the expert’s word for it. However, the expert is not you, does not share your problems or passions, and ultimately cannot help you like you can when you have perspective. And so, people make do, and fail. Instead of making the difficult dive into the Arts, they latch onto a truth—that is, a prepackaged way of being—that most resembles their current lifestyle.

It’s not that people don’t believe in Truth, it’s that they don’t want to believe. Truth is obvious when it is simply laid out, but it may suggest the need for a change in lifestyle for many people. Since this can be painful, and since suffering is not in keeping with a better world, those with the means tend to deliver “solutions” to ease the suffering.

As with physical training, there are ways to work up to the heavy material. However, no fitness coach would be worth his salt if he helped you avoid “the burn”! And no FITness coach would be either if he let get by on half-baked ideas!


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Communication

Categories

Quotes

"For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction."

- Kahlil Gibran

"All television is educational television. The question is: what is it teaching?"
- Nicholas Johnson, author:
"We need the media to be presenting pictures of possibility not just continuing to be prophets of doom and gloom."
- Kevin Kelly, Wired

"How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortunes of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it, except the pleasure of seeing it."

- Adam Smith
"And the science is overwhelming that for creative, conceptual tasks, those if-then rewards rarely work and often do harm."
- Daniel Pink, author: Drive

"I wish we had a Problem-Solver Party because we have very big problems that need solving. And I think a lot of our attention is addressed to the wrong problems."
- David McCullough, author: 1776
"The goal shouldn't be to have a lot of people to yell at, the goal probably should be to have a lot of people who choose to listen."
- Seth Godin, author: Tribes
"The role of the media is to disseminate information, highlight important current events, and to essentially stand as a witness, an observer of cultural, political, community, and educational events. A healthy media provides a check on the government and increases the political astuteness of republican citizens."
- Stephen Palmer, The Center for Social Leadership
"Advertisers and politicians rely on a half-educated public, on people who know little outside of their own specialty, because such people are easy to deceive with so-called experts, impressive technical or sociological jargon, and an effective set of logical and psychological tricks."
- Robert Harris
"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
- John Adams
"I know no safe repository of the ultimate power of society but people. And if we think them not enlightened enough, the remedy is not to take the power from them, but to inform them by education."
- Thomas Jefferson
"Fathers and mothers have lost the idea that the highest aspiration they might have for their children is for them to be wise--as priests, prophets or philosophers are wise. Specialized competence and success are all that they can imagine."
- Allan Bloom, author: The Closing of the American Mind
"He that walketh with wise men shall be wise, but a companion of fools shall be destroyed."
(Proverbs 13:20)
"If you are not a thinking man, to what purpose are you a man at all."

- Samuel Taylor Coleridge
"I learn a lot from TV. Everytime someone turns one on, I go in the other room and read a book."
- Groucho Marx, comedian: Duck Soup
"There are two freedoms - the false, where a man is free to do what he likes; the true, where he is free to do what he ought."
- Charles Kingsley