When all of the pundits were opining on Gov. Mark Sanford’s erratic behavior, one wise observer nailed the source of it: “He is madly in love with someone new. That is always a form of temporary insanity.”
The first rush of new love is so wildly intoxicating that it blurs one’s judgement and prompts the kind of giddy optimism that makes it feel as if everything is possible. A sitting governor can vanish, lie about his whereabouts, fly off to make passionate love to an Argentinean mystery woman, and no one will know a thing about it.
In the strange brew that life is, we can fear and pursue something simultaneously. Do you want to be insane? Of course not? But wait. Do you want the joy of a sensation that is so powerful and exhilarating that it liberates you, momentarily, from the laws of physics? So that the impossible becomes absolutely within the realm of your control?
Of course you do. This brand of temporary insanity that springs from new love, is so deliciously intoxicating that it has driven a King of England to abdicate his throne and prompted millions who barely know each other to tie the knot at Vegas drive-in chapels.
The fact is, the same “insanity” that we fear, we embrace when it is the kind that leads people who believed such days were behind them to carve their initials together into the barks of trees, encasing their love within the treasure box of a crudely drawn but passionately etched heart.
Harvard Business School doesn’t teach a single course on love. Nor on the temporary insanity it can create. A shortcoming of immense proportions.
At a time in my life when I might have gone to Harvard, I went to a far superior university known as Paris. In my brief time living there, I fell in love a dozen times. Each one was forever. In every single case, I was magnificently, temporarily insane.
Many years later, as I built my marketing firm and began to fuse the experiences of my life into a business methodology, I reflected on how important it is to have customers and prospects make the transition from like to love. If they simply like your products or services, you will fail. The goal, must be to lavish what you do with so much attention and innovation, that they fall in love. That they become temporarily insane. And believe that they cannot or will not live without the offerings you are making to them.
People didn’t care that Walt Disney was a high school dropout. They fell for the films and the Magic Kingdom head over heels. Women don’t slip on a pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes and feel like they made a good purchase.
They are sure they just had the best sex of their lives. They are temporarily insane. They will spend $750 and thank Mr. Blahnik for the privilege of letting them do so.
Great business is the art and science of romance connected in some wonderfully mysterious way to commerce. Every day you go to work you must have one overriding goal: to get your customers to go insane. Over and over again.