Rise and shine. It’s 6am and your hand can’t make it to the alarm clock before the voices in your head tell you it’s too early, too dark, and too cold to get out of bed. Aching muscles lie still in rebellion pretending not to hear your brain commanding them to move. A legion of voices are shouting their unanimous decision for you to hit the snooze button and go back to dreamland. But you didn’t ask their opinion. The voice you’ve chosen to listen to is one of defiance, a voice that says there was a reason you set that alarm in the first place. So sit up, put your feet on the floor and don’t look back because we’ve got work to do.
Welcome to the grind. For what is each day but a series of conflicts between the right way and the easy way. 10,000 streams fan out like a river delta before you, each one promising the path of least resistance. Thing is, you’re headed upstream. And when you make that choice, when you decide to turn your back on what’s comfortable, what’s safe, and what some would call ‘common sense’… Well, that’s day one. From there it only gets tougher, so just make sure this is something you want, because the easy way will always be there to wash you away. All you have to do is pick up your feet.
But you aren’t going to, are you? With each step comes the determination to take another, but this is no time to dwell on how far you’ve come. You’re in a fight against an opponent you can’t see but oh, you can feel him on your heels, can’t you? Feel him breathing down your neck. Know what that is? That’s you. Your fears and insecurities all lined up like a firing squad ready to shoot you out of the sky. But don’t lose heart. While they’re not easily defeated, they are far from invincible. Remember, this is the grind: the battle royale between you, your mind, your body and the devil on your shoulder telling you that this is just a game, this is just a waste of time, your opponents are stronger than you. Drown out the voice of uncertainty with the sound of your own heartbeat. Burn away your self doubt with a fire lit beneath you. Remember what we’re fighting for and never forget momentum’s a cruel mistress; she can turn on the dime with the smallest mistake, she is ever searching for the weak place in your armour, that one tiny thing you forgot to prepare for. So as long as the devil is hiding in the details, the question remains: Is that all you got? Are you sure?
And if the answer is yes, when you’ve done all you can to prepare yourself for battle, then it’s time to go forth and boldly face your enemy: the enemy within. Only now must you take that fight into the open, into hostile territory. You’re a lion in a field of lions, all hunting that same elusive prey with a desperate starvation that says victory is the only thing that can keep you alive. So believe that voice that says you can run a little faster, and you can throw a little harder, and that for you, the laws of physics are merely a suggestion.
Luck is the last dying wish of those who think that winning can happen by accident. Sweat, on the other hand, is for those who know it’s a choice. Decide now, because destiny waits for no man. And when your time comes, and a thousand voices in your head are telling you that you’re not ready for it, listen instead to that one voice of dissent, the one that says you are ready, you are prepared. It’s all up to you now.
“I keep repeating for many years now that were it not for the awareness of inescapable and irreparable mortality, there wouldn’t be culture … Culture is a contraption allowing to insert purpose into the brief visit to existence; to render the meaningless meaningful, to deconstruct the irrelevant lifespan (purposeless, inconsequential) into a string of thoroughly relevant (purposeful, consequential) tasks and projects – all in all, to dissolve the unhappiness of human condition in the flow of happy moments. Culture is what makes life with awareness of death’s inevitability bearable, endurable, liveable.”
I thought I understood it, that I could grasp it, but I didn’t, not really. Only the smudgeness of it; the pink-slippered, all-containered, semi-precious eagerness of it. I didn’t realize it would sometimes be more than whole, that the wholeness was a rather luxurious idea. Because it’s the halves that halve you in half. I didn’t know, don’t know, about the in-between bits; the gory bits of you, and the gory bits of me.
Last week, Dove released a new ‘Real Beauty’ video in which a criminal sketch artist draws women based on their own descriptions of themselves and then based on a stranger’s description of them.The message had the best of intentions at heart; “You are more beautiful than you think”, it reads. However, the internet is exploding with criticism from all corners.Scraping at the surface of the controversies surrounding this campaign is the criticism that Dove’s overall message was actually, “Physical beauty prevails over all else.”The contrasting images at the end of the video still dictate what is beautiful and what isn’t.But, what I want to focus on is not the content nor mere fact that it has been criticised, but the extraordinary amount of people that are now aware of these criticisms, which would have been impossible without social media.
If Dove had released this campaign 30 years ago, those with the critical sensibilities to pick out and engage with its ‘flaws’ would have discussed them amongst their peers, but it wouldn’t reach far outside the circle. These days, social media has given us the technology to make ourselves heard, and loudly. At the click of the button, suddenly millions of people that were touched by the inspiring message of the campaign could see it from a new angle. Without the incessant blogging/tweeting highlighting the intricate social ‘flaws’ within the campaign (one that simply aimed to empower women [and Dove]), the rest of us probably wouldn’t have picked up on them. We now see it differently, and now always in a good way.
Social media provides channels through which we can share, inspire, or make something ‘viral’ at unprecedented speed and lengths. “Surely,” I hear you cry, “this makes our job as digital marketers easier!” That may be true on the one hand, but these channels are almost as much of a downfall to the industry as they are a godsend. They act simultaneously as a catalyst and a hindrance for digital marketing. It forces the industry not only to be more innovative but to emanate a new, heightened sense of authenticity, which has become more and more difficult in an age where everyone has their fingers perpetually hovering above their keyboards, poised and ready to strike. Although, at the end of the day, at least they’re talking about the brand.