“You’ve got pizzazz, kid.” The phrase every up and coming music artist wants to hear from a top music executive that’s about to offer them a million dollar contract and make their dream come true. All it takes is passion, hard work, and talent! (You wish)
Nope, actually the game is totally different. People who work hard to develop their skills actually get left behind. Perfect evidence, our next president. How many politicians have dedicated their lives to improving and developing their political platform to be the best in order to reach the highest level? Very very many, Hillary Clinton included.
What an insult. There are actors who train endlessly, musicians who spend a fortune on lessons, authors who take years to write their book, but for what purpose? Open your eyes and look at what we buy in to. Brands.
There is a universal truth in the entertainment industry (which now includes politics, thanks Prez Trump.) To sell anything, you have to be able to sell yourself. You must create a brand. Talent doesn’t matter (as much), it’s all about image. Take who you are and put a picture to it, a symbol, a phrase, a trademark, a look, a bucket hat, anything, as long as it’s you. I know what you’re thinking and it’s true, we live in a very superﬁcial world. Nothing makes you feel worse for true talent than when you go to an open mic night and hear one of the best voices you’ve ever heard, then turn on the radio and hear the same generic bullshit over and over, and they’re the ones getting millions.
Steve Jobs is a master at branding similar to Kanye West. Everything about them says, think different, break the rules, make it better, elegant simplicity. Conservative media dude Mike Cernovich thinks of himself as “Me Inc.” You are your own “business.” Brand and market yourself accordingly. The Donald is a master at branding. A clear symbol that he was going to win, or at least advance well into the race, was that he is a global brand. His name is everywhere (usually in gold) he’s on all these magazines, in the news, on TV, people buy in to his brand by purchasing his merchandise. They wear his shirts and ties, and they feel like winners (gold = winner) because that is his brand. You know damn well that there are a million smarter and more skilled businessmen and real estate developers in the world, but what do they lack? A well developed personal brand!
Remember, this is a superﬁcial society. You have to be selﬁsh and a little arrogant sometimes. This is taking yourself seriously and putting yourself above the rest, people notice and buy in to it. Also, you have to invest into yourself. Gather, recruit, and eventually hire people around you to accomplish your goals and you’ll get further than you ever possibly could on your own. Of course talent is important, but if you ﬁnd yourself struggling to make it to the level of stardom you seek in the world, it’s because you don’t have a brand.
I’m no math wizard, but I do believe this equation is essential in surviving in a tank of sharks (aka the world)
Me > Everyone Else
I love this quote by the great philosopher Socrates: “The key, my son, is in the world of assholes, to succeed, you must ﬁrst be an asshole.” Maybe I rephrased it slightly, or totally made it up, who cares. The point is, it’s true.
A family member of mine has reached the levels of success most people cannot even conceive. I used to think he was the most annoying and self centered motherfucker I’d ever met (I love my family very much). He’s the kind of guy you want on your team, and absolutely hate if he’s on the opposite team. If he’s with you, anything you need will be given to you somehow, someway. However, if you have it and he wants it, you’re in for an interesting encounter. This man does not let up. Then I realized his brand. He always says it, “Make it happen.” “I’ll make it happen,” “Just go make it happen,” “We need to make this happen.” His brand is, “I make it happen.” Similar to Trump’s “I’m a winner.” To watch him work his magic and in fact, make it happen, is astounding. He’s a wolf.
Tips for you and me to make it happen.
- Make yourself known and heard.
- You’re a wolf and they’re the sheep.
- You’re a nice person, and people are nice back, unless they’re not nice back, then you’re wolf comes out and their sheep is exposed.
- You’ll make friends.
- You’ll make many enemies, mostly other alphas (wolves) and sheep you’ve exposed.
- You’ll ﬁnally start to get further along in life, your career, your industry, everything, once you identify your brand.
This is not to say your brand can’t be peace and love. Naturally, that’s more my brand than a killer wolf. You need both to have balance, I lean more toward peace than war in general, but I continue to develop my inner wolf. It comes out when I need to back down another wolf or expose a sheep. It works.
So what do you do, think about, believe? What makes you different? What do people associate you with? What’s your brand? Develop yourself, your brand, make it something you can truly believe. After all, authenticity is crucial. Do all this, improve your brand, and go sell it.