A grown-up's view of 9/11

PerryNot on Homepqage29 Comments

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I’m only sending this to people who are likely to ‘get’ what I am trying say today, and even though I’m posting it on my blog, I’m not putting it in my public news feed.

My wife was moved today by the 9/11 ceremony, the new memorial, the names of the fallen and today’s three-trumpet rendition of Taps. If your emotions are especially raw today, if you were literally or figuratively close to Ground Zero, this message isn’t really for you.

This message is for everyone else.

Sometimes events are so cataclysmic, they forever define the world as “before” and “after.” 9/11 wasn’t BC vs. AD, but it certainly signaled a whole new landscape.

When landscapes change, opportunities shift. Old paradigms fall away, those who once were in favor are suddenly displaced, new realities come into their own.

For the entrepreneur, that means TAKING ACTION.

Towers crumbled and there was a span of time when the only thing to do was mourn. Even a single American flag, or the phrase “God bless America,” took on a whole new meaning.

Weeks passed and many remained in a state of hypnosis. “Is it really OK to go on with my life?”

If you’re not digging through rubble where the Twin Towers used to be, if you’re not engaged in some directly helpful and necessary effort, then… yes. You must go on with your life. If you don’t, you lose and the bad guys win.

“But I feel like a money-grubbing capitalist, rushing in where new opportunities have opened up.”

Fine. Then let someone else win the victories and you can stay in BC instead of moving into AD. Is that what you want?

Early this year I talked to a client whose husband had died about 8 weeks before. She told me she’d been feeling sorry for herself and one of my emails had snapped her out of her malaise. “Yes, I’m sad, but I’ve got a life to live. It’s time for me to put my clothes on and face the world.”

"So many options for growing my business, but what should I do NOW?" Tell me your most pressing business problems and I'll show you your BEST next step.

One of the hardest things to accept about business is: Even though business is NOT a zero sum game, even though alchemy really does exist, there are still winners and losers.

There is misfortune. And there is the business of dealing with misfortune.

If you’re afraid of the business of misfortune, then you’re living in the SHOULD BE world instead of living in the IS world. Because the only reason ANY business exists is because people have problems.

Every business in the whole world only sells one of two things:

-Pain relief, or

-Endorphin rushes

That’s it. If you provide either of those things, you’re entitled to your fee.

If you’re smart, you find a way to sell pain relief AND endorphin rushes.

Pain is real, pleasure is real, life is real, death is real, misfortune is real, terrorists are real. Fortunes won and lost are real.

You’re only immortal for a limited time. The only time you ever have is NOW.

No doubt there was a massive competition for architects and plans for the 9/11 memorial in New York City. Eventually only one person could win. But that person didn’t win because they had the deepest feelings or because they’d been hurt more by what happened.

They won because the people who mattered liked their design the best.

If the guy who won had been sheepish about stepping into that opportunity, then we’d be looking at a different structure won by a different person, a person whose design was possibly inferior to what we have now.

You have to know — it’s OK to win. It’s the only way the rest of us ever get to enjoy and experience excellence.

Never apologize for being excellent. And don’t shrink back from the gritty reality of solving real problems.

Perry Marshall

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About the Author

Perry Marshall has launched two revolutions in sales and marketing. In Pay-Per-Click advertising, he pioneered best practices and wrote the world's best selling book on Google advertising. And he's driven the 80/20 Principle deeper than any other author, creating a new movement in business.

He is referenced across the Internet and by Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, INC and Forbes Magazine.

29 Comments on “A grown-up's view of 9/11”

  1. Whenever someone frowns upon a person profiting from another’s misfortune, I like to say, “Then do you have a problem with doctors existing in the world?”

  2. Yes Perry. I “get” it. What you said is so true.

    Thanks for adding me to your list.


  3. Thanks for including me. I appreciate the compliment.

    Perry. Your insights are always spot on. I love the way you speak directly to the subject. I always look forward to your emails.

    How many other marketers get those kinds of compliments? …not many!

  4. Perry,

    When you wrote: “No doubt there was a massive competition for architects and plans for the 9/11 memorial in New York City. Eventually only one person could win…” that to me said it all Perry!

    Thank yuo for sharing. Too often we get caught up in our own versions of a 9-11 (like the woman that lost her husband). Something that happened to us and we just dwell and dwell on it. I recently read something that I changed to suit my own situation. It says the following: “Life will always give you a shovel, it’s up to you to dig your well or dig your grave”.

    I will continue to choose the latter because no matter how low I feel, the world keeps turning and people keep living. The good doers will continue to do good but so will the evil doers. That’s simply the way it will be until AD is all over. Until then we need to press on.

  5. Perry – You just reminded me of something from a Joe Vitale tape. He said he was driving down the highway on the way to the funeral of a very dear friend, and crying.

    Then suddenly he realized that his crying and his sadness weren’t helping her in the least. If anything – if she was watching – they were hurting her. His job was to be as happy as he could be in spite of missing her – and to get on with life.

  6. Perry,

    Thanks for including me in the group that “Gets It”. Always love your take on things.

    My servers were down yesterday and I kept seeing other hosting companies trying to capitalize on the situation.

    At first I was pissed that they would try to take customers from me but I soon realized that I would do the same thing. You know that “pain relief”!

  7. Great handling of an obviously touchy subject–and more importantly–delivering a great message! You know, since I read Ringer’s “Winning Through Intimidation,” the concept of people that live in reality versus people that live in “aught to be” land has really stuck with me. I’m happy to see you touching upon this. You’ve given me a good idea and topic for tomorrow’s email to my list. Thanks again!

  8. Great post as it´s so truthful.I love to live in the IS
    world as that´s the real one….and also cuz I do love
    the truth!

    Well done Perry!


  9. The line about living in the Should Be world rather than the IS world really strikes a note with me. I find far too many people live in the Should Be world – they are unable or unwilling to accept the reality of the IS world.

    If we are going to move forward, we must accept the current reality – whatever it is. Dreaming about how things Should Be will always keep us in a fantasy world. The IS world is not and never will be fair. But the only chance we have in life is to fully embrace the IS world.

    Thanks for the valuable lesson concerning the difference between the Should Be world and the IS world.

  10. I’m reading Walt Disney’s biography at the moment – fascinating stuff. I hadn’t realised that this ferociously quality and excellence-driven man created his company in the depths of the recession.

    Highly recommended read.

    Thanks for the great post as ever Perry!

  11. Perry,
    This post deserves to be read by more than just “people who are likely to ‘get’ what I am trying say” Glad I’m on that list.

    I don’t always agree with 100% of your conclusions but I always know that your heart is in the right place. On more than one occasion a seed has been sown for me to change because your words have made me see things differently and I appreciate you for that.

    Right now there is someone like the lady you described who lost her husband who needs to read this post. Some might get what you are trying to say but for others the seed will be sown because the ground is fertile.

    It’s easy for me to say, send it to all but I know it will be hard to do because if I wrote this post, I too would hesitate to broadcast it to the world because of misinterpretations but I just think this is an awesome post.

    Send it en-mass, put it on your news feed, facebook, twitter because it’s major pain relief for many today.

  12. Great post here. I agree with what you have to say 100%. The world is what it is, and you’re right, we should be dealing in the world as it is not as it should be. I’m looking forward to the 20th when I’ll meet you in person.

  13. One thing we all rely on Perry for is he tells us how it is. I spent the entire day of 9/11 in a sales meeting with a group of people just watching and feeling our lives fall off the edge. Both economically and emotionally the world changed.

    Only it didn’t, things were still sold and bought and customers still had crap to sort out, but for several weeks I know I was ‘crying in my beer’ (an old english phrase for mild depression), slowly things started to move forward. I moved my kids to Spain for a couple of months to chill, relax and make some decisions. I returned refreshed knowing that life/business had to go on, business must be done like it or not.

    Every month there is something to be negative about, some crisis of another. If it’s not Cameron in the UK or Obama in the USA, it’s Google or Hackers all sent to upset you even more.

    Your have to keep taking the action, keep on drilling through the crap until you find the stuff you came for and then take as much as you can. Far better to be to watching another 9/11 or a further economic crisis with a shed load of cash waiting to be used. You can then smile to yourself that no matter what idiotic decisions are made by a.n other, your own economy just needs to be tweaked.

  14. Thankyou for your carefully worded insights, Perry.

    Learning how to live in the moment is perhaps the most important thing you can learn. Whatever the ins-and-outs of business, living in the present will allow you to react in ways that are both genuine and positive.

    Jasper, who is a friend of mine frequently asks me “what do you want for your future, Gemma?”. At first I was puzzled by this, as the future is not something I often think about. Put simply, I don’t need one: I have my present, and it can’t get much better than it is right now. (I will add that I am looking forward to a webinar this evening though … ).

  15. Perry, as usual excellent advice, by the way I just finish reading the book “Winning through intimidation” I now I understand even more the message you always try to teach us, thanks for the great advice

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