When I was polishing up our quote story last week, I couldn’t help but read the slides over and over again.
The ones that struck me most were in the first section. Even though I’ve been on this journey for several years, the propaganda still gets to me.
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society… We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.”
– Edward Bernays
“People build up a life, it becomes unsatisfactory, and they want to figure out how to change it like an outfit on a doll. But you can’t change life from the outside. We all know this now.”
– James Altucher
“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.”
– Seth Godin
There are moments where I wonder if I should just give in. Be satisfied with the corporate job, relax at the end of the day with a big plate of nachos, and buy new stuff often enough to keep the endorphins flowing. I’ve paid my dues, the messages say. I deserve it. And that’ll make me happy.
But I know that’s a lie.
David Cain says it well.
“We’ve been led into a culture that has been engineered to leave us tired, hungry for indulgence, willing to pay a lot for convenience and entertainment, and most importantly, vaguely dissatisfied with our lives so that we continue wanting things we don’t have. We buy so much because it always seems like something is still missing.
Western economies, particularly that of the United States, have been built in a very calculated manner on gratification, addiction, and unnecessary spending. We spend to cheer ourselves up, to reward ourselves, to celebrate, to fix problems, to elevate our status, and to alleviate boredom.
…We could certainly do well to understand what big commerce really wants us to be. They’ve been working for decades to create millions of ideal consumers, and they have succeeded. Unless you’re a real anomaly, your lifestyle has already been designed.
The perfect customer is dissatisfied but hopeful, uninterested in serious personal development, highly habituated to the television, working full-time, earning a fair amount, indulging during their free time, and somehow just getting by.
Is this you?”
I don’t know about you, but that fits me better than I really want to admit. Or at least it used to.
Nearly two years ago, I unplugged from the most insidious source: my television. That was a good start.
But I still waded through the muck of propaganda each day: radio ads, popular music, billboards, magazines, the memes on Facebook, and even conversations with people that meant well. It was reinforced by the fancy cars on the road, the stores lined with stuff, and the fast food joints on every corner.
Every few weeks, I would give in. The evidence is right here on my blog, with the dozens of stops and restarts. I could never be consistently true to myself.
Five months ago, that all changed. I’ve been consistent for 18 consecutive weeks – longer than any other period in my adult life.
Everything changed when I created my own station. (I call it KKFM.) It has videos, radio programming, magazines, course syllabi for things I want to learn, and ways to connect with other misfits. It only plays my mix, and I turned the volume and frequency way up. The other message is still there, but I can’t hear it anymore.
I’ve also started sharing my station with my coaching clients. After a while, I realized that their goals are different, but their primary obstacle is the same – fighting the tidal wave of societal pressure that washes over us when we dare to be authentic or unconventional. Each coaching call usually wraps up with a list of selected media reinforcements for the week.
The good news is that there’s tons of great material being created. The bad news is that it takes a lot of time and money to find and organize it.
I’ve subscribed to all kinds of services to fill my KKFM station. $25/month for daily interviews about all aspects of business. $50/month for one high level, in-depth interview. $108/month for a collection of other membership sites. Dozens of books and audiobooks. Hundreds of podcasts and blog articles cataloged in Evernote.
Just like any media programming, it requires constant monitoring and adjustment. But I think I’ve finally got it tuned well.
So, I wanted to check in and see if any of you were searching for a similar station.
Are you looking for a steady stream of media that moves you forward instead of holding you back? Do you need a blend of engaged learning and healthy entertainment? Are you ready to drown out the usual drumroll of discontent with uplifting messages of true adventure and service?
Would you tune in to KKFM if you could?
I can imagine that many of you are shaking your head and wondering what kind of craziness I’m babbling about, but I’m guessing there’s at least a few of you that “get it” instantly. You’ve been searching for something to do more than drown out the negativity. You’d be thrilled with a consistent source of inspiration, encouragement, and actionable information.
If that’s you, please click here to answer this quick 5 question survey.
If there’s enough of us, I’ll commit to moving this project forward so I can share KKFM with you too.
Great post! I have been unconventional for the last 12 years. I ditched my TV watching habit in 2001 and have not had cable, dish or network TV since. I have two girls 6 and 8 who have grown up without TV. We have a once a week family movie night and pop in a DVD to watch together but that’s about it. (I still have that television I bought in 2001- no flat screens here!) When people find out we don’t watch TV we become the “weird” family. However, as a result, my 8 year old reads at a 10th grade level and my 6 year old reads at a 6th grade level. I don’t say that to brag, but to make the point about how much we can lose to the “sheep” mentality. My girls have taken that TV time to excel at something and to them it isn’t weird because that’s all they’ve ever known. I hope I have in some way given them a head start instead of “ruining” their childhood. Too bad it takes us adults much longer to let go and figure that out.