Friday, September 24, 2010


Fortunately for me, I do not read Details, the men’s magazine. No offense, but within sixty seconds of opening a recent copy I experienced a sinking feeling in my stomach--which I realized, by the way, was much too large.
How could I possibly get my hands on one of those $965 shirts, and the killer abs to go with it?
I’m not saying Details did it on purpose, but in a recent blog, the marketer, Seth Godin, told us dissatisfaction sells.
And he should know.
Normally, I’m not this crazy, but Details with its good-looking, successful, creative, powerful guys, made me feel dissatisfied with myself, my life, my looks, my house, my ass, and my watch—even though the damn thing is an Omega that will live longer than I will.
I exaggerate, but not by much. For a very long 15 seconds it was true, until I caught myself and became mindful of what was happening. Then I was able to breathe normally. I haven’t always been so lucky. Comparison, image, and ambition have conspired at times to make me truly miserable for days. Or made me do very foolish things.
We all have our Details. Maybe for you it’s the neighbor’s three-year-old kid who’s learning to speak Mandarin, his third language, or the guy who wrote the great novel, or the woman with the real estate portfolio and the great figure.
Or maybe it’s Gandhi who makes you feel like a loser.
Whoever and whatever it is, when it comes you have to pay attention. Your dissatisfaction will make you want something. Ask yourself the tough questions. What did Gandhi or Details stir up in you? Is your dissatisfaction making you want something that is in alignment with your deepest intentions? Go to the root.
My friend Howard Schiffer started Vitamin Angels because he was dissatisfied with kids going blind from not having enough Vitamin A. Howard has been so dissatisfied and so effective at getting other people to be dissatisfied that his organization helps over 20 million kids a year.
His next goal looks like 30 million kids.
Clearly, dissatisfaction is not always bad. It can drive you to do great things, but you have to dig for what it is you really want.
Otherwise, you may just end up with a ridiculously expensive shirt.

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