Of course you do. Our lives are built on a type of inner gossip.
Most of the news we hear or see or read today is gossip. “Alleged”, “supposed”, “purported” are another ways of saying… GOSSIP!
However gossip is not all bad. In fact a part of gossip may not be bad at all and you can make it even better… much better in fact.
History Professor Yuval Harari says in his book ““Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind,” that gossip is an important asset that helped Sapiens become the dominant species on Earth.
The linguistic skills of Homo Sapiens allows us to gossip often without substantiation. This gossip helps us have beliefs about who we can trust beyond the small natural size of people we can know. It’s hard for an individual to intimately know more than 150, people, but we can cooperate with larger numbers of strangers by believing in common myths that are passed along.
Hararri says in his book: Humans think in stories, and we try to make sense of the world by telling stories. Gossip, based on judgments, began our rule of the planet. Before we began gossiping with other Homo sapiens, we were merely another mammal in the food chain.
Gossiping empowered us to bond with others socially, create friendships and even hierarchies, allowing us to cooperate while gaining an edge on the animal kingdom. Gossip is one of the unheralded foundations of our species and its survival.
Social Media is high speed gossip.
We can see an example of how fast gossip spread in this day and age in the MIT Technology Review article “How an internet lie about the Capitol invasion turned into an instant conspiracy theory” (1).
The article says: Just as well-known, easily identifiable far-right figures livestreamed themselves invading the Capitol in Washington, DC, a lie started spreading around the Trump-supporting internet: What if the mob was actually a group of antifa activists trying to make the president’s supporters look bad? The lie’s spread provided a perfect encapsulation of how conspiracy theories are born and grow in less than 24 hours.
One way to profit is to use gossip to sell ideas that make the world better.
Gossip arouses emotions and emotions sell! This is an all encompassing truth about selling in our modern, analytical, scientific world. Facts and figures do not mean a thing (in terms of selling) unless they generate an emotion. Word pictures can stir emotions (yours and mine).
All purchases are made from emotions. Yet have we ever taken the time to define the range of emotions that we as human beings so often feel? And what are the most powerful emotions?
Fear? Greed? Love? (The ones used most for selling are happiness, compassion and friendliness).
All successful fiction portrays a sympathetic character striving for a worthwhile goal and selling often uses fiction…sometimes a lot.
Let me explain why. Let me explain why fictional honesty is not only an important part of selling but is such an integral part of human nature that every culture since the beginning of mankind has used this ingenious form of communication as a fundamental part of its existence.
When you buy a novel do you expect it to be true? Of course not.
Yet do you expect to gain truths from it? Perhaps.
At least that’s what Mrs. Llaird, my high school English teacher told me as we tore into the fiction of Silas Marner, the Red Badge of Courage and Bridge of San Luis Rey looking for truths.
What is the truth?
Fairy tales, myths and legends exist in every society and are so powerful that they jump generations, cultures and even millenniums. We all know about Greek and Roman mythology. Right?
Aristophanes’ play Lysistrata hilariously lambastes war-mongers. This is a funny, ribald fictional play written at a time of great duress. The entire welfare of the fragile Athenian city-state was threatened from hostile forces and the play was a parody that critiqued the society. Fiction was needed to get across a scary point.
Likewise, Sophocles’ play Antigone was a critique of absolute power and unenlightened rule that outlined the disasters that befell a society in the midst of change. These fictional selling stories have lasted thousands of years.
Were the stories true? Did Caesar really say “Et tu, Brute”? Or was this quote an exaggeration made to drive home a sad point about friendship in politics. Was this a fictional truth that has been remembered for thousands of years? Or was this a quote pulled from the Roman Daily Morning News?
In the end every song and every great painting comes from the heart not the brain. Great sales stories dwell within our hearts. If sales stories do not rise from the heart they may, or may not work but, they will never be great.
When I look back at my publishing efforts over thirty plus years I have written hundreds perhaps thousands, of selling stories. Most were what I call journeyman efforts, stuff I had to crank out because there was a job to be done. These worked and earned enough to pay for my living.
A few however came because some emotion or raw nerve had been touched. These were great. These earned millions.
This is what you can do… make an important contribution to society from your heart.
The English writer DH. Lawrence put it nicely when he said: Be still when you have nothing to say. When genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say from the heart.
Fiction sells because it recognizes a reality of human nature! Entertainment is fun. Our entire beings, our body, mind and souls are satisfaction seeking machines and when learning is fun, we remember and we react. We learn best when we are entertained! This is the way we are.
This is important to know because the minute we are born, our senses begin to fool us. We begin to believe this sensual input and this fictional world we create. Our world is our own personal fantasy. Human beings want fiction so badly we actually create it for ourselves.
In other words, fiction is OK. Fiction stretches the imagination. Fiction is fun and sets the human apart from all other beings on earth. We are our vivid imagination.
However, all fiction in our sales story must be based on reality! The purpose of the sales story is to excite the reader. The purpose of the product is to insight the same person. The fantasy of a well balanced sales story enhances the value of the product. To do this, there must be a strong thread of reality that connects the sales story to the usefulness of the product.
Take a Rolls Royce as an example. 98% of a Rolls Royce’s value is fantasy. I personally went through one particular period of insanity when I owned and drove two of them (actually one Rolls and one Bentley-another fantasy-one car with two different names). I know from experience that they can be difficult, undependable and vastly overpriced cars.
I have driven Dodge or Honda mini vans since. From a transportation point of view, the mini-van is far more efficient and a better vehicle. The Rolls broke down, consumed more gas, carried less people, cost much more and was far harder to maintain and repair. We won’t even consider the difference in the initial cost.
What set the Rolls aside was pure fantasy. When I used to get inside, I felt something special. This was my fantasy. Any differences in me as a person when I was in the Rolls versus the mini van were totally in my mind. If others felt differently about me, this was their fantasy. I really was the same guy. Or was I? Did my fantasy (and yours) make me different?
That’s the power of fiction… to touch your heart and in times such as this we all have something to say and we should should and can when we know how to knit fiction together with reality.
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The foundation of human society is the ability to communicate ideas through words. Words support a framework of love, hate and desire and all the emotions throbbing through the heartbeat of mankind.
Writing builds shelters against the storms of stagnation and creates progressive energy that artistically leads us from the tyrannical grasp of existing thought into new dimensions and ideas.
Marco Polo photo
Take Marco Polo and the impact he had on changing the thought process of the Western world.
Marco Polo was a merchant and an explorer. He saw wonders when he ventured into the Eastern world. When he shared these wonders it altered the entire way that mankind in Europe lived… from the introduction of gun powder to paper money.
Yet what made Marco famous was his ability to share these innovations due to his writing!
Biography.com says of Marco Polo’s exploits (bolds are mine): Just a few years after his return to Venice, Marco commanded a ship in a war against the rival city of Genoa. He was eventually captured and sentenced to a Genoese prison, where he met a fellow prisoner and writer named Rustichello. As the two men became friends, Marco told Rustichello about his time in Asia, what he’d seen, where he’d traveled and what he’d accomplished. His stories were soon committed to paper and eventually published as a book called The Description of the World,
The book made Marco, who was released from prison in 1299, a celebrity. It was printed in French, Italian and Latin, becoming the most popular read in Europe. But few readers allowed themselves to believe Marco’s tale. They took it to be fiction, the construct of a man with a wild imagination. The work eventually earned another title: Il Milione (“The Million Lies”). Marco, however, stood behind his book. He also moved on with his life. After his release from prison, he returned to Venice, where he married, raised three daughters and, for some 25 years, carried on the family business. Marco died at his home in Venice on January 8, 1324. As he lay dying, friends and fans of his book paid him visits, urging him to admit that his book was fiction. Marco wouldn’t relent. “I have not told half of what I saw,” he said.
Marco’s desire to earn more money, his travels and adventures were the foundation of his destiny, but his writing was his legacy. Here is one more excerpt from Biography.com.
In the centuries since his death, Marco Polo has received the recognition that failed to come his way during his lifetime. So much of what he claimed to have seen has been verified by researchers, academics and other explorers. Even if his accounts came from other travelers he met along the way, Marco’s story has inspired countless other adventurers to set off and see the world. Two centuries after Marco’s passing, Christopher Columbus set off across the Atlantic in hopes of finding a new route to the Orient. With him was a copy of Marco Polo’s book.
Writing to sell is one of the most powerful forms of marketing and marketing is what we do in every aspect of life… every day.
The heart of all events requires marketing. We market ourselves, our business, our thoughts ideas and beliefs all the time. In business, marketing covers strategic planning, product design, packaging, distribution, advertising, public relations, promotions and sales. Marketing is the process by which anything and everything, product, service, idea, person is introduced and promoted. Without marketing, you may be or have something great, but no one knows it.
All marketing begins with writing… whether, a speech, picture, video, movie, advertisement, announcement, banner, jingle, song… the birth place is in the written word.
Why words are better than cash.
You can turn words into cash. Mix in a little wisdom and deliver benefits. The value of honest word’s never deflate. A dollar, decades ago, was worth 15 greenbacks today… or more. Useful, wise words, even hundreds of years aged… are often worth more now.
Take these 153 year old words: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”
Has time diminished the value of these words?
Sometimes Merri’s and my writing led us into incredible adventures.
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We even built a…
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