You know the adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? It literally means you cannot tell the quality of the contents of a book just by looking at its cover (or back cover); you need to dig in deeper. It’s a metaphor that can be extended to many different scenarios, such as relationships between people. It is a good reminder not to prejudice ourselves just because of outward appearances. After all, we have become a community of marketers; yes all of us are just books on the shelf, hoping for interaction, hoping for someone to take us off that shelf and read us, to truly understand us.
I started taking a look at this saying a little more in-depth, though. Publishing companies invest lots of effort and money working with artists and designers to help that first lift off the shelf so that someone can skim over a page to see if there is something interesting there. When a book cover is created, it is meant to convey the essence of the book in a way that will make it compelling and sellable. In the same way, there are people that are very focused on their outward appearance. There is also the adage about first impressions, that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. You may be questioning your assessment of someone because of a gut reaction, but you may be more accurate than you realize. Don’t feel bad, your reaction is actually based mostly on intuition.
I recently heard a corollary to our judgment statement by fictional character Raymond Reddington from the NBC series the Blacklist “We can’t judge a book by its cover…but you can by its first few chapters and, most certainly, by its last.” This of course actually invokes our intuition into play again, but with more information. When it comes to our own marketing, think about your Facebook posts, your Instagram, your blogs. I tend to think of the metaphor working like this. Your outward physical appearance is your front cover, where the back cover is your social media marketing that you do. Granted some people are not even aware that they are marketing, but for greater public, this is what people are seeing at first glance.
Have you ever been sucked into a relationship that you thought was wonderful at the start, but the more you got into it, the worse it became? I remember a time I read a book “Of Diminishing Returns”, no it was not an economic tome, it was a novel that has long since been out of print, but it sucked me in and I continued to read it and read it – thinking that at some point it would get better… it never did. I once went to a movie called “The Spirit” where Frank Miller directed a neo-noir superhero film based on the comic strip created by Will Eisner. This was a case of a good book cover, but once I got into the theater and actually watched the movie… I literally wanted my money back. I won’t go into the investments that I have made into companies and people that have gone south because it is really too painful to think about, but I realize now, that all of those decisions I made were made of sound reasoning. Yep, sometimes it is wrong, or is it?
It seems to me that intuition and marketing are at odds with each other. Good marketing can trump over your intuition to make a decision that you might not have otherwise. Marketing uses many different tactics to do this: influence, desires, reasoning. Inside us is an arrow that can point true if we can truly quiet the noise and listen to it. Our intuition actually is hard wired into us to lead us to good decisions, but often we reason or justify, different choices. So my challenge to you today is, are you living a life that has been marketed to you? Are you making choices that you know aren’t good for you and justifying them? Do you truly understand that it takes faith to listen to your intuition, and is your faith in yourself strong enough, or do you doubt yourself often?
I am not saying this clarity of vision will keep you from making mistakes, keep you from investing into the wrong things or people… we are meant to fail. Embrace failure as a learning experience, to hone your wisdom, because wisdom does not come from knowledge alone, it is the interaction of knowledge, experience, and intuition all together. Your Wisdom will grow you, and as you grow your wisdom will as well.
John “Z” Zeydel – Arkham Executive – The coach to help you grow