Greetings. I don't watch a lot of television–except for sports, the news, and an occasional show about music, history, or geography. But when I do turn the TV on, I'm often amused by commercials for products designed to help regular people cope with the very difficult challenges they face. Products designed to resolve our most "debilitating" personal problems. You know, the problems that cause us so much personal discomfort and embarrassment. The ones that subject us to daily, if not hourly, scorn and humiliation…often forcing us to hide or live a public life of shame. Problems which condemn tens of millions of semi-normal people from all walks of life to live in fear as they search desperately for a solution.
No, I'm not talking about the most serious and life threatening diseases. Diseases for which we can only hope there will someday be a cure. Or hunger, poverty, or homelessness. Those are problems that are also searching for a solution that no one is selling on television. What they are selling are solutions for dandruff–that scourge on modern civilization, and one of the greatest barriers to self-esteem and personal and business success. Or so the ads would make it seem. Because it's hard to imagine, after watching a dizzying array of commercials, that anyone with this dreaded condition could ever make a good first impression, have a successful job interview, enjoy a party or other social gathering, or ever find the one person of their dreams–especially if he or she is an Italian supermodel.
And because we're all on the lookout for dandruff, we have little time left to notice how remarkable people are and what they could add to our lives, our companies, and our community initiatives. Unable to get beyond the flakes to see everyone's real skills and the possibilities that they bring.
As crazy as it sounds, we live in a dandruff-centric world…too often focusing on the insignificant "defects" in people at the expense of appreciating their special gifts and all the stuff that really matters. Conditioned by commercials to believe that hair, or weight, or the way someone dresses or speaks, or the music they listen to or the food they eat, or the part of the world they come from, is the best surrogate for their worth and ability to be brilliant.
We win in business and in life when we focus on the things that really matter. On the magic and potential for genius in everyone. Maybe it's time to get beyond the superficial to the real heart of what it takes to innovate, collaborate, and grow.
Cheers and enjoy the weekend and the World Cup!