Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Average Man

Missed a few Thursdays.

A Funeral one Thursday, San Diego another, and I don't know what on the third ... but as I said from the outset, if the appointment with self is missed, there is always next Thursday.

The trip to San Diego was fabulous. I had dinner with a friend I have not seen since my days in Japan and it was just so cool to do catch up...we were just like kids! So much fun.

The reason I went to San Diego however, was to attend an internet marketing seminar. If I have never mentioned it here, that is what I do: internet marketing. As with any profession it is important to keep up, learn new things and meet colleagues and peers in your line of work. To that end the weekend did not disappoint.

I loved the venue which was at the Hard Rock Hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego. The whole area is uber chi chi. At the seminar of 500 or maybe 600, I met a lot of people from all parts of the world. We had time to chat, and scope out business opportunities and joint venture options and just make new friends. Life is good.

What completely blew me away at this seminar however, was the opening address by the host. Frank Kern is a surf dude, extraordinarily successful in internet marketing and showed a side of human depth that he does not often display - at least not publicly. I had the privilege to briefly chat with him and you know how you get a certain feeling about someone? The feeling I got was that this young man is a very kind human being.

In his opening address Frank spoke of the Average Man and how the average man is no longer average. Summarized in my own words, which do little justice to the original:

Back when the average man went out to work, to get a job done, to feed, clothe and house his family, being an average man meant something. The average man took responsibility for his wellbeing and did not sit around listening to excuses as to why he was no further along in his life than he was. He put in an honest day’s work and looked forward to putting in another with the hope in his heart to do better and to give more tomorrow. Being average was something to be proud of.

Yes there was always more to aspire to. The average man in those days did not buy into excuses peddled by feel good professionals. He did not think there was anything wrong with him and if occasionally the world was not rosy, well that was life and in time things improved.

Today a new industry has blossomed – the feel good industry, the instant fix for whatever is wrong with you. The media is awash with psychiatrists, psychologists, and self annointed professionals who tell the average man that indeed there is much that is wrong with him but not to worry, it is not his fault and if he but listen to them they will fix that which is wrong with him. He is sat down to an aptitude test which tells him what he can be when he grows up: a doctor, lawyer, garbage collector. Don’t worry, nothing wrong with garbage collector – it is not your fault if this is all that you are suited for, it is not your fault if:

- You can’t read – In the US 27% are functionally illiterate
- You are able to read just enough to get by – 25% - 30% in the US fall into this category.

That makes more than 50% of Americans who can barely read. But that’s not their fault. They are probably dyslexic, have ADD or ADHD or their parents did not love them enough.

Today the average man

- spends 20% of his time at work making non-work related phone calls
- 38% of those calls are job hunting (now that makes for an excellent employee)

But that’s ok … it’s not the average man's fault. The job is not meaningful, the boss demands too much and pays too little. Why would the average man not steal some time from the man who pays him for a job he hates to look for another job?

And get this … the average American household watches on average 8.35 hours of TV every day. Needed escapist therapy to handle the boredom and tedium of a life that seems to be going nowhere.

Systemically the feel good industry of “Hey you’re OK, I’m OK – its not your fault that yada, yada, yada” … systemically the average man has succumbed to a litany of lies that say

“it is not your fault…”
“..you are entitled to”
“…it is your right…”

and so the standards of the average man have been dumbed down. Today the average man is no longer proud of who he is and is not willing to do anything about it. The average man is no longer average, is bereft of values of his forebears.

This is not who we want to be, to aspire to. Today’s average man is not who we want to hang out with.

“If you want to do the things that other people can’t do, simply do the few things that other people won’t do”

Frank was diagnosed as being dyslexic, and to compound that "problem" he was pronounced to be ADD which, when the experts became even more knowledgeable, was upgraded to ADHD! Meds were the answer. For a while life was absent of chaos and internal turmoil, it flowed smoothly if somewhat artificially. The rose colored glasses he was given to wear, were, hey, OK!

Got him into college. Performed abysmally. Sure enough the aptitude test confirmed that he was not suited for higher learning, indeed collecting garbage was more like the kind of life he should be aspiring to.

Fortunately there was enough of a contrarian still lurking in Frank's body. He took off the rose colored glasses. Collecting garbage did not appeal to him. He refused to accept what others had decided for him and made his own decision: to take responsibility for himself.

Today Frank is not only wildly successful, but a bright and articulate man and all because he refused to be an average man and to accept the pablum that was being fed to him.

Till next Thursday .....

1 comment:

Leo Luck said...

Hi, Valentina

I have checked out your blog, and I must say I truly enjoyed it. I would like to invite you to join us on FB and our Google Group. Of course, the 30DC forum is also a good place to connect.

Since I just read several articles on your blog, I would like to mention a few things that rang true with me: it's hard to get adsense clicks on a blog about blogging or adsense. I have been playing around with this idea at adsensefast.com(for some reason it loads slowly; I think one of my plugins is causing this and it will be addressed eventually).

Second - you met other dog site owners at Mass Control. I would love to cross-promote, as I am the owner of PoundDogRescue.com (which started as a tiny rescue group site but has evolved over 3 years into something which I think now has a wider appeal).

I have several mini projects going on right now that are 30DC-related, but haven't really found any niche that I am "married" to... :) I would be very interested in picking your brain, and seeing if with our different backgrounds we can learn from one another.

If you want to see some of my sites / projects, you can take a peek at webovator.com and get an idea of what my interests and skills are.

I am also a little bit jealous that you have pictures with both Ed and Frank, very cool! I look forward to many future discussions with you.

Chris Sentman
St. Louis / Springfield

PS. I was trying to send this reply to you on the 30dc forum, but I kept getting 404's. Then I tried pasting it to your BlogAlongWithMe blog in the comments, but it wouldn't paste for some reason. Then I tried searching for you on Twitter, and found no Valentina Bellicova there. Finally, THIS worked. But I didn't intend to leave a bunch of links on your blog here, so just get ahold of me and then delete this comment if you want :) I was determined to get back to you tonight though. Talk to you soon. - Chris