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Saturday, 29 June 2013

About Intolerance

Another example of how we humans do not think? 
Intolerance. Or tolerance for that matter.

We like to see our tolerance as a sign of being civilized, sophisticated, more intelligent than others. And each time we are showing a sign of tolerance, we congratulate ourselves, for our superior education. 

Whereas tolerance is nothing but condoning the other. It basically stands for indifference. "I am tolerant" means as much as: honey, I couldn't care less.
There's no love, no respect, no empathy, no understanding... but I won't hit you.

Basically you don't exist. In the universe of my life, you are but a tiny satellite on the outskirts, an extra to fill up the screen.  

We should never congratulate ourselves for our tolerance. It's easy to be tolerant. For we are only tolerant towards those that do not present any danger.
It is said that, the better your education and the higher your degree, the more tolerant you are. Tolerance is civilized.
Well, if you are a professor at University, of course you are tolerant towards the cleaning lady from Afghanistan. You will even stop to chat with her, and smile, and enquire after the health of her family or be interested in her culture or weird dress - feeling all worldly and ever so civilized.
For she does not present any danger to you. She won't be after your job. She will not gossip with your colleagues. Your son will not start dating her. She won't be able to cause you any harm.
What the much praised attitude of tolerance actually says is: You are no competition whatsoever, in no domain whatsoever.
One can imagine how different the feelings will be of the local cleaning lady around the corner. Her intolerance directed at her Afghani colleague is, in fact, a sort of compliment: I see you as an equal. You and me are the same. (So I have no other option than to think bad of your skin colour and clothes). 

That professor might classify his attitude as an act of kindness, and feel good about himself and his being nice to people...  but is it? 
True, tolerance is still better than intolerance. Just as democracy 'is not ideal, but the least bad option we've got', tolerance is only the very first small step towards niceness, which in itself is only a first, superficial step towards kindness.
So, OK, any step that takes us there, to that last sport on the ladder, named UNDERSTANDING, is a good one. For anyone who belongs to a minority, it is bliss to live in a tolerant/indifferent society. 
But kind? Intelligent? Wise? Superior
We think it is... but it isn't.
Our mind tricks us into thinking it is a highly personal and good and superior opinion... where it's merely a slightly better version of indifference.

A 'tolerant society', is an indifferent one. A long, long way from a superior one. 
At the time being it's all we've got. 

Better to stand at the first sport of the ladder towards understanding, than nowhere at all. 

As long as we keep in mind that: 

"Be tolerant with the tolerant, but intolerant with the intolerant". 




Thursday, 27 June 2013

About Racism

Another example of how we are programmed not to think? 

Racism. 

Racism works according to the same principles as the rabbit spotting a kite in the sky: his survival depends on an instant reaction, so within the blink of an eye he hides. 

We humans do not act differently. 

For hundreds of thousands of years, a stranger meant danger

We roamed the earth in small groups, of 20-50 humanoids or humans, or in small tribes of 100-150 (*). 

In such a small universe, where the person you knew at age 2 was the same person you knew at age 30, your society was set in stone. There was nobody you did not know. 

Spotting someone you did not know, was a shock. An alien could not have been received less welcoming. For such a creature could mean one thing only: danger

He or she was living the same harsh and dangerous life as yours, and was after your food, after your well, after your cave, after the women of your tribe. 

So the poor, single black person walking through an all white neighborhood, basically triggers the same defense mechanism as a kite to a rabbit: in 2013 we know there is no danger, the rational part of our brain now knows about differences. 

But how much of our brain is rational? It is nothing but a drip in the evolutionary ocean of time. Our reptilian brain has been drilled inside out for fight or flight. It does not take the time to stop and wonder, check and double check, read, investigate or listen to arguments. 

It tells you one thing and one thing only: danger! 

At times when all goes well, the economy is booming, we all have jobs and our basic needs have been fulfilled, racism is only a vague tune in the distance. There IS no danger. 

That's only the shallow layer on the surface. At times when things do NOT go well, racism rears its ugly head. For someone has to be blamed. For the unemployment, for the frustration, for the poverty. And then the easiest victim is the person or group who looks different. 

It is believed that when the economy goes down 1%, racism increases with 1%. 

(Nazi Germany anyone?). 

And it's fully based on our, very human and fully understandable, desire to not have to think - and just rely on our primal instincts. 

Ben

(*) Still today, when counting your complete social circle, you might realise that yours exists of that very same number. The average person on Facebook has 120 friends. We are wired to be able to cope with that maximum. 


 


Wednesday, 26 June 2013

About Cultural Determination

What language do you find really beautiful?
 
The changes are high that you will say: French. Italian.
 
Very probably you will not go for: Finnish. Serbo-Croatian.
 
What is that all about? There are some 200 languages that are widely spoken, yet, when asked what language they find beautiful, people always go for the usual suspects.
 
Here's a thought: had the operas been written in Serbo-Croatian, wouldn't we all think it to be a beautiful language? Wouldn't we all go: "Oh, it's so musical! So eloquent, it has got so much style"!
 
Could it be that we all grew up in a society that taught us which language had to be considered 'beautiful'?
 
From the moment we were a toddler, we might have heard opera on the radio. Introduced with slightly more respect than for the average pop song. We might have seen commercials for an expensive perfume with a voice over in Italian. Watched Sophia Loren pretending to be an average woman.
 
Every time it's a signal to our brain: class!
 
Let me ask you what language you find ugly.
 
Ask this question to a 100 Europeans, and it is very, very likely that German will be in the Top 3.
 
'It's harsh'. 'It's mechanical'. 'They speak so loud'.
 
Really?
 
Did you know that in the 19th century, German was considered to be the most cultural language of Europe?  It was the language of the elite; upper classes from Russia to England wanted their children to learn German.
 
For it was the language of the great composers, the most refined poets, the leading philosophers and scientists.
 
What happened??
 
WW1 and WW2 is what happened. The reputation of Germany was demolished and, with it, the feel-good factor of its language. The English speaking world was the winner, 'the good guy', and in the language vacuum English could start to win hearts and minds.
 
It surely doesn't help that today, 70 years down the line, we still only hear German as spoken by a Nazi. Movies keep the prejudice alive. 'Give the crazy terrorist in Die Hard a German accent... that'll help to instantly recognize him as the baddie'.
 
It goes without saying: also English can be spoken with a Nazi schwung. Or Serbo-Croatian for that matter. All languages can be spoken softly, slowly, musically, funnily, graciously, lovely, or harsh.
 
But, when asking the question 'what language do you find beautiful or ugly', we prefer not to spend too much time on it, do not start an investigation, do not search online to hear how 100 languages actually sound like... we do nothing of the sort. We instantly jump to a conclusion. The conclusion that first jumps to mind. And that will cost least energy.
 
We rely on a pattern.
 
This is called cultural determination.
 
Our opinions are shaped not by personal experiences, but by the culture we grow up in. The more we are directed towards a certain opinion, the more we are likely to use that opinion as our lifeguard.
 
So we won't actually have to think: that hardest, most energy and time consuming thing there is.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

About Thinking

So, it has been proven that we don't think.
 
We think that we think, but we don't.
 
We can, but rarely ever do.
 
What we do is relying on a number of patterns.
 
Life's just too hectic, we have to juggle too many balls at the same time, while impulses spring on us from all sides.
 
At this very moment you might be working, checking Facebook messages, while having music on the background, street noises, publicity trying to get into your head from the Internet, radio, billboards, while at the same time there are those worries about the food in the oven, the roof that needs to be repaired; a part of your brain is busy with the administration, the mosquito bites of last night, the cell phone needs recharging etc. etc.
 
That is quite an overload. And it will only become worse.
 
Can you imagine that you, in the midst of all that,  you would actually have to think?
 
To put your grey cells into motion, costs an enormous amount of energy.
 
If you think 30 push-ups cost energy, just try to organize a thought. A real, original thought.
 
Should you be able to collect all the energy for that, than you still need the time. Which you don't have either.
 
Hence, come in the clear-cut, ready-made thought patterns.
 
"What do you think about this"? someone asks, and you say: "Good". Or: "Bad".
 
You did not actually sink bank in thought. Looking at all the pro's and cons. Perhaps search for a book that could give you more insight in the topic, so you could make a researched, well balanced and careful answer.
 
You just don't have that time!  And you need to protect your reservoir of energy... it has to be spent on the top priorities of your life.
 
That is understandable. And the way it should be. Let up a kite - and all rabbits will instantly run away and hide. They are not going to study this kite in the air and wonder: is it really an eagle? Perhaps it is something else? Let's analyse the peculiarities of the motion...
 
For the sake of their survival, rabbits do not have that luxury. The pattern says 'eagle' and their thought pattern 'hide!'.
 
This week I will be writing about thought patterns, and all the different things we humans think to have an opinion about... but haven't; we just instantly jump to the most 'cost-effective' reaction.
 
Our mind takes short-cuts, so to speak.
 
Thanks for reading,
 
Ben
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, 20 June 2013

About Listening

Let's throw in a controversial topic once in a while.

And, while we are at it, write about it in a controversial way.

The lower in the social pecking order, the more quickly a person speaks.

Yes, one never stops being amazed about what kind of studies are being conducted out there. I heard about it from a wise man. Or the Cosmopolitan, I don't remember.

The reason given: our low-pecking-order-person is used to not being listened to. Or with less interest. Or only at a reception, while you're on the way to a really interesting person.

Ergo, he has to deliver his message as quick as possible.

If Obama says: "It rains", it will be seen as a pearl of wisdom. Our low-pecking-order-person though can actually deliver a pearl of wisdom - and it will not be seen as such. For sure he is repeating something he overheard. Or he has it from a tabloid. Or, worse, 'he is only trying to make himself interesting'.

Behind every stand-up comedian sits a child that felt never to get attention. He had to attack the shield of those around him.
Unfortunately, this talking has the opposite effect: it will make the quick talker less popular. Make him or her sink further in the pecking order.

You might have experienced it yourself. Driving back home after a reception or party, telling to your spouse: "I like this or that man. He had such... class".

Well, if you break it down to why you felt he had class, you might realise... he was just an attentive listener.

For even if we are not aware of it, subconsciously we do classify people according to their talking habits. Using a hyperbole: talking is low class, listening high class.

Surely, talking is for stand-up comedians? Any person with a little bit of importance is interviewed. And if you're really, really important, then people will hang on to your lips, even if you organize a coffee break in between every word?

See Obama or a king or a celebrity meet 'common people'; is he enthusiastically telling about how great his job is? The heck he is. He is listening.

What was it again, what Dale Carnegie wrote, his six ways to make people like you?

1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
2. Smile.
3. Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
4.
Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
5.
Talk in terms of the other person's interests.
6. M
ake the other person feel important - and do it sincerely.

Talking is bronze, talking interestingly silver, and listening gold.

Ben


 

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

About Temperaments: The End

Our temperament could be described as our nature, as it permanently affects our behavior. 

It is our behavioral survival technique

The drive to control and dominate of the Choleric, could be his or her way of coping with the chaos of life. Chaos and insecurity can be very unsettling - and the human mind will come up with the solution; or at least the solution to cope with it. 

Just as the richness and depth of the mind of the Melancholic, might be a reaction to the emptiness or shallowness he finds unbearable. 

In an unstable world the Phlegmatic seeks stability within himself, whereas the Sanguin flees the boredom or solitude. 

One could say the same about maniacal habits, belief systems, or religion for that matter: they are all tricks of the mind to be able to cope. 

I've been writing about temperaments since, well, surfing online is a very lonely business. A good marketer knows how to actually speak to his or her website visitors - make a connection. 

The marketer who is able to do that, pulls the online visitor out of solitude and into conversation; real conversation or simply a zing between two minds. 

If you wish to speak to the market as a whole, or an as large as market as possible, you need to know people. 

Also if you target a highly specific segment of the market, you still need to know who it exists of. What does this person like, how does he wish to be addressed, what makes him take action, and how can we make a connection? 

People buy from people. 

In this, without going to deep or divide personalities in too many styles and shapes, the 4 temperaments are an easy way to know a tad more about psychology. 

I hope it was useful to you. 

Ben


About Cholerics

The perfect role of a 100% Choleric? 

A policeman, standing in the middle of a busy crossroads! 

He just loves being an authority. To notice how people listen to him, just by lifting his arm or hand. 

And right because he transmits authority, into all directions, all drivers will listen to him: they will feel to be in safe hands, being directed by a person who knows what he is doing.  

No other temperament would get away with it. 

The Melancholic would be way too confused. Why would this lane have priority over that one? How many cars are waiting in this queue and how many over there? And what if there is a pregnant woman in that one?  Or perhaps... will one person in that short queue miss the love of her life, because of him? 

Her lover is on the way to the airport, perhaps already checking in... with tears in his eyes. 

Our Melancholic might have heard about a car accident further down this lane, or calculate the chances of problems 5 kilometers from here. 

Whatever it will be, there are just too many elements to keep in mind!! Too many options!  Which one has priority over what? 

The Sanguin will be way too happy. Perhaps he will even smile. It's all not that important. Let's all just have fun in this traffic jam. And with that smile, all authority vanishes. 'This policeman will not mind if we park over this pavement... he will understand, or at least not make a big issue out of it'. 

The Phlegmatic will find it a headache anyway. Who on earth has put him in this position? All that noise. All that drama. Or perhaps - oh god - something unexpected that will happen? Why didn't they just leave him be, somewhere behind a desk doing a repetitive job while his mind can travel? 

We need that 100% Choleric at those crossroads. 

Not only does he know what he is doing, even if he doesn't, he does. Even if he is wrong, he is right. If people will point him out that he was wrong, can actually prove it, he will find a way to prove he wasn't. 

And SHOULD he have to admit that he was wrong, he will explode and rage about the unfairness of life, that it, yes, it was the universe ganging up on him! 

And after that, he will study and practise and study and practise, to be the very best, to know absolutely everything about everything, so that he is an authority in everything. 

So that just by being the best,  he will regain his authority, and be in control.

It's the reason why so many managers or bosses are Cholerics. 

Without them, the office would feel to be in an airplane without pilot. 'This company is not going anywhere'.  

A good pre-website designer has to be a Choleric: for he has to create a design that will lead the visitors to where he wants to have them. 

If he creates the navigation... visitors will follow his lead. 








About Phlegmatics

Ssst. Don't disturb me. 

I'm just in the middle of something boring. 

That's paradise. You see my hands fly over the keyboard, my eyes fixated on that Excel sheet, or I'm carving that highly crafted piece of furniture... 

But my mind is elsewhere. 

It is busy with telling me that this very boring job teaches me self-motivation. It teaches me how to perfectionize my voice on the phone. It is creating a poem or thinking of poverty in the 3rd world or perhaps how to pay off my mortgage. 

If it is not busy with unseen self-development, it is still recovering from all those impulses of yesterday - all that having to be sociable, that exhausting chit chat and having to laugh at every joke, and what could that gaze of this person have meant? 

Please do not disturb me, and especially not you, Sanguin, with yet another idea, another plan that will cause trouble... well, change, which is trouble. 

Go away, you carpet salesman at the door. OK, I will buy a carpet. Will you leave me in peace then? For sure I will become Jehova's Witness, yes, yes, give me that material, I will go through it. But from the moment I have closed the door I will unplug my telephone and install an alarm system. 

Just let me be! 

Sigh, it seems that the mobile phone is actually becoming important in 2013. OK, then, I will buy one. It is completely preposterous, what a sorrow state the human condition is in - adults sending SMILEY's! - and I don't need all that bling bling stuff. But OK then, sigh, give me one, if you so insist on it. 

Oh, God, there you have that choleric boss again. I will say 'yes, yes' and see how he swells up. Now I'll do exactly what he has told to do, when he is within earshot. And the rest of the time I'll do what me I think is right. What suits me. 

What makes me feel harmonious. 

Harmony. 

Listening. 

Feeling empathy. 

Caring. 

We all find the Phlegmatic so likeable. What an easy going person! 

Such a nice smile. We felt true... connection. 

And in the mean time the Phlegmatic goes his or her own way. Nobody knows what is actually going on internally. True, that was very, very funny what he said... but, er, it can be interpreted in different ways. Was he actually being very nice? Or was it some sort of irony? 

Nobody knows. 

His reaction was a perfect balance between what he really meant, and what's socially acceptable. 

Do you want a smile? Here is one. Phew, that was exhausting. Oh god, now you come over to speak to me. 

Mr 100% Phlegmatic is just busy with his thoughts, feelings,... while pondering about and planning his safety and security of tomorrow. 







About Melancholics

Mr 100% Melancholic has got a business. 

It is not working, and he is astonished by it. 

'It is SO clever, so intelligent, so crafted, well thought over, so ethical, reliable, I'm basically the best there is... how on earth is it not working'? 

Well, asking the question is delivering the answer. 

It's great to know that he is the best CPC Manager there is. But, er, what is a CPC manager?? 

Mr 100% Melancholic will not even understand that question. 

There's the Internet and you can research and learn something new within seconds. Every 12 year old knows what CPC stands for. And for those who do not, hasn't he written 10 page documents about it? Etc. 

For HE was that 12 year old. HE has always needed and loved to feed his thoughts, by forever learning something new, studying it, thinking about it, trying to connect the dots, finding the missing link... take away poetry or intellectual activity and he will just die, as a plant not getting water. 

Completely unaware that most people just do not have or want to dedicate the time to learn something new, or why they should be bothered in the first place. There are 400 million active websites online... you can't expect everyone to dive into encyclopedias all day long. 

They want a clear title that says: "Save money by hiring me"

A short text with a bit of explanation: "I manage your marketing budget. Better results for less money". 

And be given confidence by seeing a highly professional design.  

And that is it. 

To Mr Melancholy that is so... basic. Almost... primitive really. It can depress him to no end, that humanity does not seem to be on the intellectual, moral or ethical level as himself. 

He has so much fun in his rich interior landscape, can live with and loves its solitude, he lost touch with those who live somewhere else. 







About Sanguins

So, this 100% Sanguin has got a business.
'It doesn't work,' she says. 'I give up'.

She has tried for a month and now she is frustrated. People just do not understand that her opening hours have changed, or do not seem to be aware of a new product, or they show up when she has clearly cancelled an event...
'I've put it clearly on my Facebook page! They should check it out before turning up'!!!

That is Mrs Sanguin for you: others should check out her Facebook page.

Blissfully unaware that a large chunk of his audience is exactly like her: others should inform THEM. 

'Why didn't she send me a message'? 'Why didn't she ring me'? 'Why is she changing opening hours in the first place'?

Mrs 100% Sanguin should realize that her clients are like her: they expect to be informed. 

Her second problem is persistance. Yes, she will be much more lively and fun to be with, yes, she will transmit more energy... but she is also far more quickly bored. 'You know what, I tried a month... it's simply not working. I think I'll start a jazz club instead. Or go live in a Kibbutz'.

Mrs Extravert clearly needs the organisational skills of a Melancholic, or the persistance of a Phlegmatic, or the strong hand of a Choleric. What with all her great characteristics, no business can do it on their own; unless she divides herself into 4... or starts to learn and read more about humans or psychology.

Not being one to be too cerebral, or have to focus too much, she might not go and start learning anything.

After a dozen of attempts, she might give up and go back to this situation: the comfortable situation where someone else is the boss, and she a pon. At least that way she gets a shiny company car and glossy business cards, great!

As per usual, I am hugely exagerating here. I do this for sake of the argument... as well as get to the point ASAP.

For this is the Internet: there's a good chance that you, reader, are an Extravert, and you are already very eager to jump to one of the other one trillion webpages out there!

Until you find one that looks great, lively, promises fun and social interaction.
The ideal website caters to all temperaments. Hence why I keep my articles as poppy as possible... without being too superficial.

Marketing means throwing the door wide open for an as large a market as possible. That means: cater to everyone. Know everyone. Appreciate everyone. Know what makes them tick...

And what makes their lives better.

Ben



Monday, 17 June 2013

About Temperaments

I have been talking about Introverts and Extraverts. 

The first ones can be divided into melancholics and phlegmatics

The second ones into sanguins and cholerics.

It is thought that, for a company or venture to work, we need all 4 of them. 

THE MELANCHOLIC, our thoughtful thinker in the corner, who just loves to be on his own with all his thoughts, is the one coming up with the product, developing the idea, envisaging the future, work out the marketing strategy. 

THE PHLEGMATIC, also loving to be on his own, and one that aspires calm and peace (and not too much change please!) will deliver the product. Let him or her be in the kitchen, at the belt, in the call center, or be the nice glue at the party. He or she is also the ideal client. For he or she will buy if that means if it's an easy way to get rid of you and just to have peace again. 

THE SANGUIN, bubbly, happy, sociable, full of life and energy, is needed to go out there and sell it, or make that others join the party or idea. 

And none of them will go anywhere, if it weren't for our pilot, THE CHOLERIC. 

He is Mister I-know-it-all, I-am-right-even-if-I'm-wrong, and because of that immense sense of security, he is the pilot that does not only choose the direction, but with whom all parties also feel to be safe... and actually know the airplane will actually go somewhere. 

As said before, none of us is 100% one or the other. Most likely you combine elements of all four of them, with a dominance of 2. 

The pure Melancholic will sink into a web of depression, if he didn't also have those moments of having fun on the dance floor, just as the sanguin will end up living under a bridge, if he didn't also have some of the organisational skills or the wish for safety of the phlegmatic. 

For every coin has got two sides. 

The sanguin might transmit fun and energy, and thus be the perfect sales person... he can also quickly be caught up in making everything sound more fun than it is, forever embellishing things, and forever having to make up one lie with the next one. Very much to the frustration of the phlegmatic, who will actually have to deliver the product or service! 

Yes, those 2 latter temperaments, are water and fire. There's nothing a Phlegmatic loves more than to pour ice water over the enthusiasm of a sanguin! 

Mr Bubbly is just too rocky for their lives, too eager to drag them into change, or upsetting their inner harmony, which are the situations they can least cope with.

So, sanguins might be good sales men, there's also a chunk of the market who will just not buy from them. They will go for the tranquil, honest sounding and balanced person. 
 
Just as there are teams who will simply not be able to cope with too choleric a boss. 

In the end, our temperament does not determine our function in life, nor our career, nor how we respond to a website or a branding strategy. 

All we, people operating in ethical marketing, can do, is, every time again, optimize the situation by trying to make all pieces of the puzzle fit. 

What temperament are you?

Your melancholic sanguin,

Ben




About Extraversion

For the sake of argument, controversy or simply to provoke thoughts or a debate, I'm going to drop a tiny bombshell here: 

If Southern Europe perpetually lands into troubles, it is because of being made up of too many pure Extraverts. 
What do you think about that, huh?
The 100% Extravert lives on the outside. Every ball that is thrown into his direction is immediately bounced back. (Or: why southern Europeans can be so good at sports or play). 

He is a shield. He protects his interior by being a castle. And promotes it by showing a beautiful, shiny door. In a speedy, glamorous sportscar. 

He IS Mister Outside. 
That comes with many advantages. He is the fun person, the one that makes your party lively, pullls you out of your gloomy mood, takes you dancing, and he is also very good for the economy: for he will want that sportscar, that towel of Versace, that 1000 € front door, the golden necklace and one dinner and barbecue and party after the other. 

It also means though that every problem is bounced back: surely it must be the fault of others

The street is dirty? The neighbour should clean it! The owner of that shop there! Town hall! The government! Anyone really, apart from me. For the fault is surely somewhere on the outside.
And the Introvert turns inwards, might ponder what part of the blame is his, and calmly cleans his part of the pavement.
There's an electricity cut? Well, no miracle if the whole village depends on one cable hanging on one tree... in 2013! THEY should solve that.
It will take an Introvert to think about the situation, gather all opinions, check what he himself can do, and actually come up with a solution.
There's an economical problem? It's the fault of the PP! Of the PSOE! THEY should solve it. It's the banks!  It's the others!
One can imagine the blame game when things get really rough...
It can get so far that in the Spain of the 1930's, the Introverts were actually blamed. In the machinery of Franco, they were seen as weak elements, effiminate, undermining the morals... because, gosh, those people ponder about our own flaws, what we can do ourselves to improve the world...
The pure 100% Extravert will instantly reject that notion. It's a No Go. It will and shall and must be the fault of others

NO to inner research. 

We will rather eliminate all intellectuals and thinkers, making our society plunge into decades of darkness, than to take any blame upon ourselves. 
In a society of 100% Extraverts history will come to an end. The buck is forever passed around. There is nobody left to pick it up and say: ME I will solve it. 

Another result of being purely directed towards the outside, is an economical one:  
Why only party on Friday evening, if it can last through to Monday morning?  It seems we do have the money for it. Well, we don't know where that money is coming from, others are supplying it... and if all of a sudden there no longer is any, shame be on THEM.
Germany is to be blamed, Europe, the USA, the Arabs, the Chinese!
So now we sit back and sit through the crisis until THEY have solved it.
So nothing happens.

So, have I been thought provoking enough? Then it might be time to take an equal part of the blame on us, Introverts. 
A society that solely exists of 100% Introverts will be a sick one too. We would all be dragged into melancholy, no longer perform sports, laugh very much, we are all highly individual bits and pieces without a leader to guide us, and the only people still making money will be psychiatrists and those supplying anti-depressants and sleeping pills. 
Introverts and Extraverts need each other. 
For living a life of thoughts and feelings, he might not even spot that the street is dirty. He is living in an internal street, a very rich world indeed... but one that is within himself.
That world can be completely disconnected from 'the real one'. It can both be more beautiful, as more ugly. More positive as well as more gloomy.
It will take a lively, bubbly or strong Extravert to pull Mr Melancholy out of too much gloom, or out of the room.
Northern Europeans love the south, right because of that. It's the place where Europe turns from being an office, into a playground. It's chacha, singing, tanning, party'ing without end, flirting. Life's just not worth living if it weren't for that! 

Those who come up with a product need the ones selling it, buying it, living it.

It is no miracle that Spanish has been so important for websites. For it are Extraverts who spend. They buy clothes, want the next shiny tool on the market, make reservations at restaurants or hotels, organize parties and barbecues... lift up and bring spirit into society. 

And this apart from the fact that we love you, you Extravert, for your bubbly, fun, outgoing, sportive nature that you spread around... not to mention the relief we feel when you tell us something is the fault of OTHERS. 

If I upset anyone with this article, bare with me. I will be writing much more about those 2 temperaments. 

The Internet being what it is - not a novel you will study and let sink in for hours on end, but a tool in which you want to find information very quickly - I go for short and thought provoking articles, rather than deep and balanced ones. 

If I wouldn't do that, I will loose out on a very big part of 'the market'. 

And first and foremost that is the aim of any marketing tool, such as a blog: to get your attention. 

Many thanks for your patience, 

Ben




Sunday, 16 June 2013

About Introversion

About what? Introversion

Wasn't this supposed to be a blog about marketing?!

I keep saying it: marketing is about understanding the market. And that means: people.

An estimated 30 to 50% of all humans are Introverts. Do you want to loose out on such a large chunk of your audience? 

Let's immediately turn this into a straight out love letter to the person who turns inwards. 

(Extraverts won't read this article anyway, for them I am working on a shiny website). 

The focus of the Introvert is on internal thoughts, feelings and moods. 

This as opposed to the Extravert, who completely lives on the outside: he or she seeks external stimulation. 

None of us is 100% one or the other. The Ambivert, who sits precisely in the middle, is rare though: in general we tend to lean more towards one temperament or the other. 

I have chosen to write about the Introvert, because, well: there are enough spotlights on the Extravert. 

Basically every TV show or the main stream cinema is an Extravert Pride Parade. The Extravert is funny, lively, sociable, loves to be with people, as many as possible, loves to be the center of attention, etc. And secondly, well, the pure Extravert will not read this anyway. He is not one to like a solitary action such as reading, nor to easily let words or thoughts sip through the barrier around him. 

Tell an Extravert he is crazy, and he will laugh. Your opinion doesn't easily get through his shield. The word will not get further than the skin. Everything bounces back to the outside. It's the fault of the others, it's the other who is wrong, or the word is just a ball that needs to be thrown back - everything needs to be put outside. 

Tell a pure Introvert the same thing, and it will go, woosh, inside the skin, through the veins, directly to the most sensitive spot. 
 
He might start an internal investigation: am I crazy? Why was that said? What in me has provoked this, where did it come from and what do I have to do to correct his? 

His internal landscape is a rich one. Many emotions and thoughts can perfectly exist right next to each other. 

On a TV show, he will not be the one aiming for laughs. He is the one on whose face you will see the thoughts pass by as clouds. Who will try to deliver an answer that is well considered, taking all things into consideration (and the Introvert knows that can mean: many things). 

At the risk of complete overload.

Thinking and feeling can soak up very, very much energy. Hence why he often needs solitude: there are just too many triggers and impulses around, and he needs the space and time to calm the inner ocean. 

The solution, any solution, is searched for within him- or herself. 

The Extravert might complain that the street is dirty, or accuse the government of bad management... the Introvert will ask himself how the street can be made clean, or investigate how we can get to better government. 

Also their agression turns inwards. They will blame elements in the inside, rather than someone or something on the outside. Instead of agressions, he has got depressions. Instead of killing someone else, he will commit suicide. 

Whereas: where on earth would we be without Introverts? 

They are the thinkers, who are at the basis of most inventions, if not society as a whole. 

Extraverts are our leaders, politicians, comedians and singers. Introverts are our diplomats, scientists, inventors, writers, great listeners - smithing society together. Without Introverts, a tribe will not survive; it will fall apart in forever smaller tribes, since each person will blame someone else. 

Remember this, the next time an Extravert does not understand you, or tells you you 'need to loosen up a little'. You can understand Extraversion, for you think about it... that understanding does not work in the other direction. Remember that: 

- It is his loss
- And you, Introverted person, are the glue. 

And now I go loosen myself up a little. 
 
I'm an Ambivert. 

Ben





Tuesday, 11 June 2013

About Energy

Some people give energy, others take it.

I know: a bold statement, highly un-scientific, over-simplified. No research has been done, there were no opinion polls; I'm just dropping this on you.

And at the same time I know you are likely to agree.

There's such a thing as collective awareness. Something that has never been studied in-depth, is not part of our education, but we all know.

Over the course of decades I've heard it dozens of times: "He's a taker", "she gives you energy", "I am always so positive after meeting him", etc.

Yes, sometimes we meet a person, and afterwards we are filled with energy, inspiration, creativity, lust for life and for work.

We come home and find we are able to tackle that task, finallly have that dreaded conversation, write that difficult blog, give our wife that present... the happiness and productivity spreads.

Then we meet another person, and come back home drained. We are negative, full of doubts, can't concentrate on a single thing, and only would want to have a long sleep.

We are depressed. Which only means: we have to recharge the batteries. We are low on energy. It has gone somewhere. To that other person. Or he or she has highjacked it, or brushed under the carpet, or just hurt it. And the circle of happiness and productivity stops.

How can a person give you energy? With a smile, a listening ear, an attitude towards you that makes you feel appreciated, a few words that tell about sudden, real connection.

It's not more difficult than getting a TV back to work: a tap on the shoulder can do it.

Does such a person who transmits energy... loose that energy? Not at all. For in most cases you will be a miror, reflecting the light that you received.

It is so good to surround you with people who transmit energy. At the risk of sounding a tad 'new age': You become the human equivalent to a mirror palace, receiving and reflecting light ad nauseam.

If you find you have to keep tapping the TV, very hard, and nothing works, and you start to organize screwdrivers and hammers... and the TV keeps being grumpy and forever throwing up new problems... run. Unless you really love that other person.

For all you are doing is spending all your energy without getting anything back.

That might sound highly egoistic, but remember: there are millions of others who are in need of your energy, who want and need you to be strong and energetic: it's to nobody's advantage if you too stop that line of happiness.

We are not alone in this world. Our whole social circle - or 'tribe' - functions like a ladder, forever helping each other towards a better or more satisfying life. You, me, all of us, can function as sports of that ladder. Nobody wants your sport to be broken or weak.

So I come back to a saying I only heard for the first time some months ago, and of which I only recently came to understand its wisdom: choose your friends wisely.

For they will decide whether you will spiral upwards, or downwards.

There is social pressure, cultural determination, genetic depence, traces of traumas and childhood experiences... so many elements that steer us and determine our present state of mind.

ONE way you can influence or totally change your life, is by focussing on the positive people you know.

Don't take their energy, but share it.

Thanks for reading!

Ben
 

About The Future

"How to prepare for the future"?
 
In the midst of a world wide transition, this question is being asked dozens of times a day, and advice is being given left, right and centre.
 
From online forums to conferences on TED.com, from 'transitional groups' that are sprouting up in almost every village and city, to think tanks to the hundreds of new online concepts that are launched every day... we can safely say that todays' society is consumed by this question.
 
I won't dwell too much on the negative predictions. The thousands of gloomy, home made videos and conspiracy theories on YouTube, rather hurt than help. Just like the expression "between Islam and the West, it just has to come to a war" brings that war every time a step closer.
 
Even the positive ones contradict each other very much.

Even after 6 years of full time scanning the Internet and Trend Watchers, I could not possibly detect THE solution; not even regarding how you can best prepare your website.

There are only opinions. 7 billion of them. Which you can reduce to some 1000 tendencies... but who can prepare for 1000 possibilities?

So we are back at square 1, the square we usually find ourselves at: predicting the future is for fortune tellers. The rest of us can only sit back and see things unfold.

A depressing thought? Not at all. It turns our lives into a movie; we could be looking at it and be curious about any next turn and twist. 'Gosh, what an interesting film... how would it end'?

Secondly, what CAN we do?

I am afraid that the best answer and the whole rest of this article... will be a mighty corny one.

That answer would be:  dream of what can be tomorrow, and do today what you must and can.

Every day you can put one step forwards towards that safety or success in the future. By learning, by investigating how you can be more competitive, how you will stand out in a far more competitive world, by improving your health or physhical condition.

Make a 30 day plan: how, in one month from now, will you have improved your business or life? Set it as a goal.

It can be about learning something new. This transition period is ideal for self development. The unemployed of today, can be the best developed brains or talents of tomorrow.

It can be about improving your physhical condition. The stronger you are, or the better you feel in your skin, the more you are able to cope with stress or the little frustrations of every day (better put: a person who eats and sleeps well, does not have many of those little frustrations that others have).

It can be about transforming your business or website or brand or venture from a good one, into an excellent one. (For one thing is for sure; in a world that will forever be more competitive, mediocrity will not even be picked up by the most sensitive radar... the only way to stand out is to deliver something excellence).

After 30 days: a new 30 day plan.

Raise the bar higher. Or set a new goal in an other domain.

Can you convince other people to do the same? Even better. For you will create a zone of stimulation around you.

You see, the answer is disappointing, isn't it?

No, it isn't.

For in the end it is about QUALITY, and that is always worth the while to dedicate your life too.

Any single thought - or the smallest dose of energy, or the shortest minute of focus - spent on quality - is a thought, dose or minute spent very, very well... and an investment in the now and in the future.