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Achieve your meaning through creativity, not consumption.


See if you remember this TV ad jingle from the seventies:  “I’m a Pepper, he’s a Pepper, she’s a Pepper, we’re a Pepper!  If you drink Dr. Pepper, you’re a Pepper, too!”

Hey, if you want to be a Pepper, that’s fine.  One of the keys to life, though, is to not just be a Pepper.

By all means, go ahead and drink a certain soda, drive a certain car, don’t let anything come between you and a certain pair of jeans (if you remembered the jingle; you’ll remember the jeans ad), but draw the bulk of your identity and self-worth from what you’re putting out into the world, and not from what you’re taking in.

In Business:

Creativity in business means distinguishing yourself from the others in your market.  Creative marketing cuts through the clutter, and rises above the noise.

In the book, Blue Ocean Strategy, the authors compare all the copycat, me-too businesses out there to trying to survive in a red ocean, murky with the blood of all the mediocre businesses vying for a scrap of market share.

They suggest using your creativity to take your business into a blue ocean, where there is no competition.  To do this, think about your product or service and ask yourself what can be added or taken away that would give your customers a new experience, and even carve out a new market or niche for your business.

An example they give is Jiffy Lube.  Before, if you wanted to get a routine oil change, you had to deal with a full-service garage, drop your car off, or wait for a couple of hours until they could work you in.

Jiffy Lube stripped away all the other services and just focused on oil changes.  It made it irresistibly convenient to have this routine maintenance performed on a regular basis with no appointment, thus creating a new sub-niche in the car repair market.  They created a blue ocean.

What can you add or take away to enhance the core experience of your customers and create your own blue ocean?

In Life:

Think about the labels you use to describe yourself.  Jot down the first ten that come to mind.

Now look over the list and see how many of your labels are consumption-based and how many are creative-based.

For example, “avid reader” is consumption, while “writer” is creative.  “Beer drinker” is consumption, and “home-brewer” is creative.  You get the idea.

A balanced list equals a balanced life.

So remember…

Achieve your meaning through creativity, not consumption.

– Dan Sullivan

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