Life lessons from comedy: No. 635 – if you want results, be specific.
As a fierce and loyal subscriber, you get access to the GOOGLE DRIVE OF AWESOMENESS!!!!
(You’d think I’d have got tired of the whole “ALL CAPS and 4 exclamation points” thing by now, but I genuinely haven’t)
In the GDOA!!!, you’ll find the “Five Days to Funny” pack. My plan was to delete it after a week, start selling it to non-subscribers and make millions. As my priorities shifted recently (“WHERE THE HELL CAN I GET SOME TUNNOCKS TEACAKES?”), I forgot to remove it, so it’s still there, like a houseguest who’s outstayed their welcome.
One of the ideas mentioned in “FDTF” (apparently I’m abbreviating everything now) concerns specificity.
In comedy, there’s a time to be vague and a time to be specific. If you’ve read the PDF, you’ll already know this (and understand the subject line).
For those who haven’t read it (those thinking, “Vagiclean??? WTF?”), here’s the point –
If you want the audience to imagine something, be SPECIFIC.
If you want to die on stage, vague punchlines are a great way to go. Unless you have a burning desire to experience the longest and most agony-filled ten minutes of your life though, I wouldn’t recommend this approach.
An audience can’t imagine “medical device”, “transport” or “sports team”, but they can picture “speculum”, “dark brown, beat-up Mondeo with a bin liner for a rear window” and “Sunday league football match at the local park”.
Specificity has more to offer than making drunk strangers laugh though. We’ll get back to this in a second.
When we’re in lockdown, unsure about our future, we need to be careful about what we focus on. It’s all well and good putting our trust in the government, World Health Organisation or Janet Street-Porter, but if we spend too much energy focusing on things outside our control, we’ll feel powerless, and that’s not good.
We need to feel like we are in control of something, even if it’s something small.
Or, to quote Cal Newport from his book, “So Good They Can’t Ignore You”:
“Giving people more control over what they do and how they do it increases their happiness, engagement and fulfilment.”
You need to feel in control of something. And, if you want to strengthen the feeling, you need to be specific.
What specific thing can you focus on to give yourself a sense of control?
It might be planning the week’s meals, choosing when you’re going to go outside for your one piece of daily exercise (“but I thought stocking up on 37 boxes of Jaffa Cakes WAS exercise, officer…”), or deciding which chokehold you’re going to use on your kid to get 15 minutes peace.
Even when forced into lockdown, we can still find plenty of things to give us a sense of control, and, for the sake of our mental health, we probably should.
Have a good [does anyone care what day it is? When you’re in lockdown, every day looks the same!],
P.S. If you struggle with email marketing, this might be of interest.
(I mean what I say in the FYI bit – you have first dibs. You iz ma peeps, innit?)