Why Strategists Should Lift Weights to Learn About Making Shit Happen

January 18, 2015 / ARE YOU FOR REAL?

Why Strategists Should Lift Weights to Learn About Making Shit Happen

January 18, 2015

Tom Donald Brand Strategist

Tom Donald is currently freelancing in Sydney Australia. He writes about planning, drugs, sex and death at Punk Rock Shop.

 “The goal is not the thing itself. Talking about it is not execution. Please stop confusing goals and plans with the actual doing of things.” -@GymJones

Too often, developing strategy is a bookish, quasi-academic exercise.

Purple Cows are thrown into Blue Oceans to find the Tipping Point that will Nudge the Herd to Eat The Big Fish. And, self-proclaimed strategists are often aloof, elite and too removed from the reality of closing sales and making shit actually happen. Too few marketing strategists have actually made anything, sold anything or been hands-on responsible for the execution of their plans.

The cock is never on the block. And, this is the reason they confuse planning with doing—which, in turn, is why they drive creatives and clients crazy, but that’s another story. I’ve recently figured out a solution for ensuring that planners and strategists never confuse thinking with doing. First, hire strategists who have owned a business. Second, hire ex-salespeople. Failing that—and this is the crux of the solution because there are rarely enough ex-salespeople and ex-business owners available—only hire strategists who lift weights or play competitive individual sports, ideally combat sports.

Why? Because, to quote Henry Rollins, “the iron never lies to you”. You either pick it up or you don’t. You achieve your goal or you don’t. Strategizing and thinking will not get the bar off the ground. The task is clearly in the doing.

The same concept applies to competitive individual sports. You win or you don’t. 

You can’t post rationalize a failed outcome… “The director screwed it up”, “The client is an idiot”, etc. If you lose it’s because they were better than you and you alone––end of story. You have to take responsibility for the outcome, positive or negative, hence the genius of weights and fighting, they force you to face reality. To make your planning or strategy department better, mandate that they go to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes or lift some weights. You’ll sort the wheat from the chaff in no time.

Some wise words from Joe Rogan on the power of martial arts: “Of all the shit I’ve done in my life… becoming really good at Jiu Jitsu is probably one of the most difficult things a person can do and I think it helps me with everything I do. I think the more I train and the more I meet people who are in Jiu Jitsu and train on a regular basis, they’re healthier people. Their egos are healthier. Especially men. They’re easier to talk to. They’re easier to hang out with because they’re facing reality on a regular basis. Something that my Tae Kwon Do teacher told me when I was a little kid that I never forgot was that martial arts are a vehicle for developing your human potential. And nothing in my life has ever put me in face with reality better than Jiu Jitsu.

In life, we can all distort our perception of things in order to make ourselves more comfortable, in order to make ourselves accept where we are. And there’s a lot of people out there who are running around in life full of shit.

You can’t be full of shit when you do Jiu Jitsu.

When you do Jiu Jitsu, its impossible to be full of shit because reality comes at you in the purest form possible: A life or death struggle.” 

Photo: Why Strategists Should Lift Weights to Learn About Making Shit Happen

Tom Donald Brand Strategist

Tom Donald is currently freelancing in Sydney Australia. He writes about planning, drugs, sex and death at Punk Rock Shop.

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