“If you want to end your suffering, stop being the publicist for your problems.
If you treat it like front page news, it will behave like it.”
Contrary to popular belief, there really is something called bad publicity. Moreover, it’s affecting you more than you’re even aware. We spend more time communicating our opinions, beliefs, issues, passions, and shortcomings to other people than we realize. Every day we are our own publicists. Consider how connected we all are nowadays – social media has us plugged in at every moment. When was your last status update on Facebook? How about your last tweet? When was the last time you read through feeds on either site? It wasn’t more than an hour, was it?
That’s exactly my point. We’re sharing our lives – the good and the bad – with the world all the time, and sometimes it gets the best of us. Have you ever told a story enough times that it makes you feel worse, not better?
I remember working in sales a few years ago, and after busting my ass and working all my tricks, the promotion train came around. I was absolutely sure the new position was mine. I was so sure that I didn’t even entertain the notion that it might not be my turn. When the announcement was made that another representative had been promoted instead of me, I lost my mind. I couldn’t believe that all my hard work was not enough for them. I posted that “I’m the victim of this stupid company and their stupid people and their stupid policies” story on my front page.
This was a poor move. I vented to friends and family, coworkers in other departments – even people at the grocery store. I felt like absolute crap. As the publicist for my life, I was running page after page of bad news, and it was doing me no good. My articles were all about how difficult and unfair my life was. And as a direct result, I was treated that way… and my life became difficult and unfair.
Fast forward to 2008. I had just started my life anew. I was opening my first company, embarking on new relationships with friends and new loves. Life was exciting. My front page read, “AWESOME” across the top. The stories I told reflected the great experiences I had, and those I wished for more of. When unfortunate setbacks came (as the always do), I didn’t put out a personal press release to the world. Instead, I vented to a select few in my circle, and moved forward.
Why is this important?
I consciously chose what I publicized about myself and my life, and it allowed me to keep my energy on the up-and-up. When energy and confidence are up, life is easy, fruitful, and exciting. Much better than difficult and unfair, no?
Another example is the “water-cooler-complaint break.” If you’re always complaining about something to your friends or co-workers, you are publicizing negativity. We all know someone like that, right? Case in point: Debbie Downer – she’s always negative and finds a way to turn a parade into a prison exercise. She’s got problems, right?
So what’s the lesson here, Blake?
If you want to change the world according to you, change the world you put in your news.
How do you like that – it even rhymes!
I know this can feel harder than it sounds. It’s easier to follow the media and crowds, and just complain like everyone else. I know that. But this isn’t about easy. It’s about better. We all believe life would be better if we didn’t have all these (insert your problems here), right? Now it’s about declaring that we’re no longer going to give those problems strength. We’re taking the wind from their sales, and we’re going to stop promoting them. Let’s see how influential they are when they’ve got no more publicity!
I know this is a big step, but I know you can do it. For good measure, though, I invite you to vent it one last time here in the comments below, and let it go.
What are you willing to let go – to no longer publicize?