In his mammoth hit song, “You’re Beautiful James Blunt launches the lyrics with two identical sentences which I adore for its irony.
“My life is brilliant.”
It is an ingenious entree to a story, especially because Blunt proceeds to reveal his failure. His loss. His sorrow. And the abject limits of his “brilliance” or lack of it.
Critics despise the song. I think they don’t get it.
The truth is, as much as I can divine the truth about anything, I believe that words damage. And inspire. And evoke tears. And create highs. And launch empires. And save them.
Yes, the pen is mightier than the sword.
FDR proved words are mightier than economics.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Obama is discovering that it is a double-edged sword.
Promise “Hope” and then you must deliver. And hope can’t be delivered by Fed Ex.
Blunt tells the story of falling in love, in a nanosecond, with the most alluring woman in the world. The words are sweet nuclear. Yes, sweet nuclear.
In business, we sell stuff. Shirts, software, services, movies.
In reality, we sell “words.” Because millions sell some version of what we offer. But the geniuses make words the diffrentiators. IPods, 100 percent “guarantee”, Victoria’s “Secret.”
Product and services may perform. Words make the earth move.
We tend to focus on balance sheets, HR reports, statistics, and the entire Harvard Business School curriculum that has zero to do with success in business. Zero. The greats all drop outs. They make it with words.
Ok, if you’re thinking, “that sounds simple,” you have to face the fact that words are torpedos that will boomerang on you if you fail to live up to them.
Hope. Love. Guarantee. Low Price Leader.
Ask all the wordwise demigods who have fallen from grace.
Listen to Blunt’s, Goodbye My Lover.
In business, we can change “Lover” to “Customer. ”
But then again, business is life and life is business.
There is no escape.
The torpedos are potent.