Desire is the ball.

Desire is what makes the economy hum.
It’s the name of the game.
Stop and look and you’ll experience the vibrant force of desire all around.
Neighbors mowing their lawns and washing their cars.
Girls and boys putting on makeup and splashing on body fragrance.
Children getting dressed for school.
Fans on their way to a ballgame.
Friends texting.
Citizens voting.
Entrepreneurs downloading software.
Families heading to prayer service.
Men and women browsing bookstore shelves, painting pictures, and tending gardens.
Desire is life.
Life is desire.
Lack of desire is clinically referred to as depression.
Prolonged lack of desire by the masses is also called depression . . . by economists.
Desire is what gives us a sense of purpose and hope.
Desire is what keeps us hungry, curious, and adventurous.
You are currently experiencing desire, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this post.
Desire is also what fuels relationships.
My desire for meaning and attention keeps me hopping on airplanes and hunting and pecking at the keyboard of my MacBook.
I’m driven to help passionate people like you be the best they can be, for themselves and for others.
Your desire for understanding and solutions, for control over your chaotic environment, drove you here.
Our desire for achievement and identity, our hunger to stand out and to make a difference, is what keeps us connected.
My university degree is in economics.
Supply and demand.
Guns and butter.
X/Y plots.
The hard stuff.
Thinking about it now reminds me of something that George Bernard Shaw once quipped.
“If all the economists were laid end to end, they’d never reach a conclusion.”
I’ve reached a conclusion.
My informed intuition, rich through years of experience, confirms that demand is about the soft stuff.
It’s not the curve on a graph.
It’s the feeling in someone’s gut.
It’s not a trend.
It’s a hunger.
We are feeling, then thinking people.
Hearts, then minds.
We desire, all the time.
And reason is simply a tool to help us advance those desires.
Desire is what animates the marketplace.
Desire for control.
Desire for attention.
Desire for validation.
Desire for contribution.
Desire for excitement.
Desire for status.
Desire for growth.
Desire for belonging.
Desire is the stimulant.
Desire is the ball.
Please don’t take your eyes off of it.

Our culture is marketing.

“Our culture is marketing.
This is what we do.
And what is marketing?
Trying to get people to do what you want them to.”
It has the ring of poetry or song lyrics.
It’s actually from a talk by the screenwriter Charlie Kaufman.
Kaufman is a very thoughtful human being.
He has written some wonderfully daring and inventive screenplays.
Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Charlie oozes authenticity.
He also has a disdain for marketing.
He sees it as a plague of “mass distraction and manipulation.”
I feel what he feels.
The marketplace is brimming with frivolous, spiritless, and outright deceptive people and brands.
As a society of thoughtful human beings, we can certainly do much better.
But I don’t see that reality as a condemnation of marketing.
“Marketing” is simply a descriptor.
Just like the word “movie.”
It’s not inherently evil or manipulative.
The outcome is driven by the marketer’s intentions.
Sure, most marketing is bullshit and crap.
An offense to our sensibilities, a waste of 30 seconds.
But so are most movies.
And they rob us of 90 minutes.
So let’s stop condemning marketing.
And the media, movies, video games, books, businesses, schools, banks, and government.
If we’re mad as hell, let’s get off of our comfortable pulpits.
And do the hard work of making, and demanding, better ones.

Never stop questioning.

Albert Einstein famously quipped, “The important thing is to never stop questioning.”
And human beings through the ages have done just that.
Turning common beliefs into utter nonsense.
We were sure that the sun, and every other celestial object, revolved around the Earth.
We believed that diseases, like cholera, were caused by a poisonous mist filled with particles from decomposed matter.
And trains were capped at thirty miles per hour, because at higher speeds the human body would explode.
Yet despite Einstein’s wise words, and the fact that we can now buy a ticket to space online, many of us still hold fast to stifling beliefs.
Especially about our abilities to change our lives, and the very world in which we live.
Since my book was released, I’ve shared my views with some very skilled interviewers.
If you’re interested, here are a few very recent ones.
If you get a chance, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Changing consumer behavior with Mitch Joel (audio 50:13)
The story you tell yourself with Moe Abdou (audio 24:04)
Leading others to a new vision with Thomas White (audio 12:15)

I may be screwed.

I drive the same way to work each day.
Because it gets me there.
You probably do too.
Once we find something that works for us, we tend to repeat it.
Over and over and over again.
I don’t think it’s a problem.
It seems to be the most direct and traffic free route.
But I’m not 100% sure.
Nor do I really care all that much.
However, I have other habits that may be a problem.
But I’m not really sure what they are.
Because, like my path to work, I’ve learned what works through association.
And so I’ve told myself that those behaviors are right for me.
Or that they don’t really matter all that much.
The result is disconcerting.
My environment has grabbed hold of my subconscious mind.
Making me feel comfortable and justified.
So now I’m screwed.
And you may be too.
A friend recently challenged my model of reality.
Especially my contention that desire drives people’s beliefs and behavior.
“If someone doesn’t do it,” I said. “Then he or she really doesn’t want it.”
Her reply really made me think.
“Can’t a person desire a future outcome, but not desire a particular path to achieve it?”
And there it is!
The crux of every failed personal and organizational plan in the history of mankind.
Desire for an outcome without desire for a particular, and typically difficult, process.
“Outcome and process must be inextricably linked,” I replied.
“Otherwise the environment will grab onto people and yank them right back to their present state of affairs.”
Why is this not obvious?
You can’t desire to be a professional athlete without the desire to do professional-level training.
You can’t desire to be a first-class brand without the desire to do first-rate work.
And I won’t even get into people’s “desire” for peace, love and understanding.
Desire for a particular outcome without desire for a particular process is a dream.
Unfortunately, hoping for that dream to miraculously become a reality is mankind’s MO.