Monthly Archives: August 2013

Finding my Groove

Photo by:  tdreyer1What’s the difference between a groove and a rut? Finding your groove is good, being stuck in a rut is bad. They’re both well worn indentations aren’t they? Both restrict you to a specific track. Both define where you are and, more importantly, where you’re not.

Maybe it’s perspective? When we say we’re stuck in a rut we imply that it’s a negative experience. We are doing something so mundane, boring, or undesired that we feel like we are stuck. When we say we’ve found our groove we seem to imply that we have found a way of doing, being and working that leaves us satisfied and fulfilled. Yet the groove we find by nature restricts us from doing things in other ways and in other places. Hmmmm.

These random thoughts come as a result of feeling like I have finally found my groove with homeschooling, keeping my home, working, writing, teaching and speaking. Well at least so far anyway. This past week or so I feel like I have accomplished a lot and knocked off large chunks off my to-do list. I realized that happened because I finally found a routine that works! And a routine, by nature, is a rut (or groove if you prefer). It’s a way of doing things that is predictable. It enables me to get the work done quickly and efficiently. I don’t waste time thinking about what should be done first. It’s just part of the routine.

So you could say my rut has made it easier for me to enjoy my life because it eliminates wasted time, provides predictability to the mundane and necessary, and creates space for me to do all the other things that make life meaningful. Perhaps my rut, er groove is not something that should have been avoided after all.

Advertisements

Marketing to Introverts

I’m an introvert. I like it that way.

For as long as I can remember I have been accused of being cold, stand-offish, unfriendly, unsocial. It used to bother me. It doesn’t anymore. I like who I am. I know I’m none of those things, I just don’t like big groups and loud crowds. I don’t need to socialize every day (being with people drains me), I quite like my own company. I do have a number of good friends with whom I enjoy spending time and having deep conversations. I just don’t need to be with them all the time and I need considerable alone time to restore my batteries in order to be around others again.

The other day I encountered some advertising that was obviously aimed at the extrovert’s need to be surrounded by people and involved in social activity. I reacted quite strongly and commented to my husband that obviously the marketing attempt failed because I wanted to do the exact opposite of what the advertisers were trying to make me do. I wanted to run far, far away from them and their product. Obviously marketers didn’t realize that introverts don’t need to ‘fit in’. And yes, I realize that the world is designed for extraverts so alienating a few introverts won’t really hurt the bottom line.

That moment got me thinking. Introverts don’t want to be part of the crowd. They don’t want to be just like everyone else and they don’t feel the need to have exactly the same things as everyone else has. We don’t want to be part of the group. The group is noisy, loud and way too close to each others personal space. Ewwww.

How many products have been written off by introverts? How many have refused to try or simply developed a negative association to certain products because they were marketed to extroverts in an overtly extrovert way?

Introverts, if you can summon up the energy to engage, are there any products you find yourself avoiding simply by association to the loud and extraverted advertising campaigns? If you could design an advertising campaign that truly appealed to you what would it be like? Would it highlight features? Would it give you facts? I’d love to know.

All or Nothing

Concert heads

I ALWAYS eat this and I NEVER eat that. I ALWAYS listen to artist A and I NEVER listen to artist B. I ALWAYS (fill in the blank) and I NEVER (fill in the blank). We divide into camps over seemingly unimportant things daily. I’m wondering if perhaps we’ve gone too far?

Being sold out to a cause is admirable (as long as the cause is admirable). It is important to know what we believe, where we stand and not to be easily persuaded by the mob. Do we need to be completely committed to everything in life? Do we have to belong to a camp about every mundane detail in life?

Last night I had a conversation with my husband about this very thing regarding music. Our daughter really, really likes a particular song by a certain artist. She heard it in a movie and she really likes the beat, the melody and the arrangement. She loves the way it makes her feel and the way she wants to dance when she hears it. After listening carefully to the lyrics (yes, I’m that mom), I downloaded the song for her to keep enjoying.

My husband, in his wonderful protective daddy role (something I adore about him), worried that our daughter would go from enjoying a song to idolizing the artist. I assured him no such thing was happening and as a matter of fact, other than knowing the artist’s name, she knew nothing about this artist nor was she researching them and idolizing them. She simply liked the song.

This conversation got me to thinking about why we seem to gravitate towards extremes.  If one song is good and enjoyable then the artists must be all good and we must collect all of their work. If the movie was good than the lead actor must be worthy of adoration and we must see all of the films they act in, regardless of the quality.  If we enjoyed one album of a particular style of music then we must only listen to that style. The reverse being true, if we didn’t like one song then we don’t like the artist. Must we be cornered? Can’t we be more eclectic?

Do we have to line up with a particular camp on everything in life? Can there be some areas where we can enjoy things on their own merits and not because they are a certain style or created by a certain artist? I like Monet’s paintings. I really like impressionist art as a whole, but I can appreciate and enjoy pieces in various styles. Musically I don’t think you can tie me down. I have classical, 80’s, country, gospel, pop and rock in my playlists. The pieces I listen to are ones I enjoy. I can’t say that I’ve enjoyed every single piece produced by the artists I have in my collection.

There are certainly things that should divide us into camps: values, beliefs and morals. These are non-negotiables for most people. When it comes to everything else maybe we can be a little less divided? Maybe we can try some variety? Except when it comes to ice-cream: it’s ALWAYS pistachio, and if that is not available then it must be vanilla, NEVER chocolate!

Photo by: Jakub Hlavaty, Creative Commons, http://www.flickr.com/photos/jakub_hlavaty/