Hello and happy Wednesday!
For those of you here in the US, you know this week is Thanksgiving, and most of the work world has basically already shut down for the long weekend.
Because of the holiday, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets will also be taking a break over the weekend, and I’ll be back again on Monday, December 1st.
And because it’s my last day of the week, I’m going to skip Web Wednesday and Strategy Thursday this week, and go straight to Grab Bag Friday (even though it’s Wednesday) for today’s issue.
In short, I’m going to write about whatever the heck I want!
I have a story that came out of a silly little interaction with my son this morning, that shares the secret to unlimited happiness…
But first, a small tangent…
The other day, I got a spike of traffic and new readers from a few copywriters sharing my controversial article from back in June about the practice of swiping in copy.
(Welcome to all of my new readers who found me through that… And thank you to Mike Morgan, Seth Larrabee, Joseph Ratliff, and any other copywriters who were part of that sharing!)
It got me looking at my site stats, and I had a sudden moment of awe (and thankfulness!).
On any given day, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets is being read by folks from a dozen or more countries around the globe. (That’s the site — and doesn’t count all you loyal email readers from dozens of countries on every corner of the planet!)
This little site that I started in April of this year now has readers in over 100 countries.
Readers who are hopefully picking up a marketing or copywriting or business lesson or two, applying it, and changing their lives. Driving forward their businesses, increasing their income, and making a difference in their communities.
I always appreciate hearing from you — from all over the world — and hearing about the individual lives I’m impacting.
And yet, occasionally a statistic like this can slap you in the face and have an emotional impact — and this one did.
Breakthrough Marketing Secrets is NOT a big business. It’s not even a full-time business at this point. It’s a side thing I do in addition to my direct response consulting and copywriting services.
But to see this — and how it’s starting to take off — is really reinforcing that I’m doing something right. And for your part, as a loyal reader, I want to thank you.
Speaking of loyal readers, here’s an example of a single-reader comment that I’m also thankful for!
I don’t know how you give so much advice each day. Incredible and generous. Today, for example, I kept checking my inbox after work — I live in the UK — for your newsletter.
I savour it now, knowing it helps my work. And Monday’s message about weekly 1% improvement inspires me to push myself to market and sell better, enjoying doing so.
Have a great end to the year.
Thank you Gordon!
Okay, on to my story and the secret to unlimited happiness…
This morning was a different morning. My oldest, the kindergartner, is out of school already for the long weekend. Our youngest stays home. But our middle one had preschool today — and he wanted to go.
So I loaded up the car with all three, and we headed off for preschool.
Dominic, the kindergartner, was visibly excited. He’d never visited this new preschool before, so it was a brand new experience.
We went, the drop off went smoothly — though with extra energy!
And then we were headed back out to the car.
Now, parking lots are prone to increasing anxiety in parents of young children. Even a relatively quiet parking lot like this one. Because kids have no sense of mortality, or the danger posed by even a slow-moving 2,000 pound hunk of metal rolling toward them.
So I was in cat-herding mode, even with the baby in my arms and Dominic being the only one walking.
I get hyper-focused, until the kids are safe in the car.
Dominic, on the other hand, was elsewhere in his thoughts.
Mind you, this is 9 AM. But Dominic was already thinking lunch.
And so as we’re crossing the parking lot and heading to my car, he’s asking about lunch. He’s walking in front of me, turning around, walking slow, asking about lunch — as I trip over him trying to get to my car.
The car next to us is particularly close, so there’s not room to get around or past him between the cars — and yet, he stops right at the back corner of the car. And keeps talking about lunch.
I urge him to move forward a couple inches, so I can open his door. He’s still talking about lunch. So he moves forward — far enough that he can lean against the door I want to open, while he keeps talking about lunch.
I point out what he’s doing, and ask him to move back a little bit, so I have room to open the door so he can get in. He does — still talking about lunch — but as soon as I open the door he bolts for the other side of the car, like he’s going to get into THAT seat.
I know he’d rather have the blue seat — on the side of the car I opened — and I point that out to him. “Oops!” As he comes back around, he’s STILL talking about lunch!
He climbs in, and even as I’m closing the door, he’s STILL talking about lunch!
I go around to the other side, and start strapping our youngest into her car seat.
As I do, I ask Dominic…
“Is your head in the now?”
He looks around (maybe looking for the now). Pauses.
Then he says…
“Dad, I don’t even know what you’re talking about!”
After I get in the car, I go on to have another conversation with him where I gently point out that he’s always worried about something in the future. And it stops him from fully experiencing what’s going on right now, in this present moment.
Now of course, we can’t live JUST in the now. It simply doesn’t work. If we tried to do that, we’d never build houses, gather food, build businesses, save for the future, or do anything we need to ensure ongoing comfort. We’d also fail to learn from past experiences that can inform things to do today.
And yet, to live almost exclusively in the future (as Dominic seems to often be) or in the past WILL make you unhappy.
Yes, you must learn from the past. And you must anticipate and prepare for the future.
But you can’t do ANY of that in the actual past or future.
THERE IS ONLY NOW.
Think about the act of listening to music. It doesn’t matter if it’s live, or recorded.
If you turn on some music, but then spend all the time while the music is playing thinking about what you have to do in the morning, or that driver that cut you off on the way home from work, or whatever… You will never actually get happiness from listening to the music.
However, if you let yourself melt into the music… If you let every thought that comes into your mind pass away as easily as it came… If you let each note hit you fresh and bring your attention back to the music…
You will enjoy greater happiness than money can buy.
The same thing goes for writing. Even for a client!
If you spend all your time “writing” thinking about something else, you will not enjoy the writing, and it will be no good. If you simply lose yourself in the moment — in the NOW — and focus on putting word after word after word on the paper, you will both enjoy the process more and get a better result from the writing.
Or, the simple act of getting into your car!
For Dominic, it was being worried about a lunch that was hours away. For you, it may be another worry. Those were blocking the natural joy an contentment he could have felt from being alive, from moving, from breathing — from the crisp breeze on his cheeks.
To be totally in the moment, in the experience, will bring you unexpected joys…
In college, I would often sit outside on campus — even in the cold of a Nebraska winter. And I’d practice being in the moment. I have a very specific memory of one such occasion, sitting outside of the English building, waiting for the time my class would start.
I’m sitting, listening, enjoying the cool air and the bright sun.
And I hear a raven… “Kaw… Kaw…”
I look up and see it sitting on top of the bell tower.
And in that moment, the simplicity of a raven’s call made me smile.
If there is one reason above all to be thankful this holiday season (no matter where in the world you live), it’s this…
We have been given the gift of life. We’ve been given the gift of breath. We’ve been given the gift of this holy and precious moment. (It doesn’t matter if you believe this is a gift of a sentient and loving God, or complete randomness — you have this gift regardless.)
Everything else we can be thankful for in life is only possible because of this.
You may have a lot of other things to be thankful for. You may have little else to be thankful for. But you absolutely can be thankful for this moment. For this experience.
Take a moment — take THIS moment — to take a deep breath. Let whatever thought may be in your mind wash away. And in the quiet between thoughts, recognize that you have the source of unlimited happiness within you.
There’s nothing to look for outside of you to find happiness. There’s nothing outside of you that will bring pleasure, that won’t also disappear in time.
But deep inside — in the stillness — there is a source of profound joy. There is a source of unlimited happiness. And it’s always with you — it never changes, it never leaves, it never can leave.
If there is nothing else you ever get from Breakthrough Marketing Secrets, I hope you get this.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I want to end by saying THANK YOU!
I’m deeply, profoundly grateful to you as a loyal reader. You mean the world to me.
To look at my email and website stats and see how many readers open up every email the moment it’s received…
To get your feedback when an issue had a particularly big impact on you…
To receive random gifts in the mail… (Oh wait… Maybe I’m just planting a seed with that one!)
All the ways I can see that I’m serving you and that it’s making a difference in YOUR life, I am thankful for.
Copywriting and marketing have been incredibly generous to me and my family, and to pass some of that on to you makes me extremely gratified.
Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving weekend, or simply a safe and happy Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for those of you outside the US.
I’ll be back with more breakthroughs on Monday.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets
P.S. — If this resonated with you in particular, one of the most important books for me personally on this subject was The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. It’s a particularly good introduction to practical approaches to living in the now, without too much dogma attached to its lessons. There’s a reason it is — even today, 10 years after publication — the Amazon #1 Best Seller in New Age Religion & Spirituality, has sold over 2 million copies, and has 2,827 Amazon reviews with an average just shy of 5 stars.