If you’ve read some of the posts on the blog section of the website, you’ll have noticed that I use movie stories to illustrate points in various points. That’s because a lot of the underlying stories of movies are structured upon a model of story called ‘The Hero’s Journey.’
And the reason both Hollywood AND cinema audiences love stories that use this model is because The Hero’s Journey allows the storytellers and filmmakers to create stories that are entertaining, whilst simultaneously mapping out an accurate psychological representations of the human experience.
And on a subconscious level, it’s how deeply the audience resonates with this psychological representation that ultimately determines how much they enjoy the film. And if they really enjoy it, their natural reaction is to tell their friends.
The films that go on to make big bucks at the box office do so based on word of mouth. Initial advertising will create an interest in a film – but that interest won’t be sustained if people who see the film don’t recommend it to their friends. Most Hollywood movies have an opening weekend ‘spike’ and then viewing figures go downhill rapidly
The major blockbusters though have an opening weekend spike, and then return consistent viewing figures for many weeks. (These films are the multi billion dollar grossing films – like Avatar, Titanic and Lord of The Rings).
Which Brings Us To Shawshank Redemption
Shawshank Redemption was recently voted 4th best film of all time in a poll for the movie magazine Empire. (Those polled included critics and subscribers to Empire magazine). Yet it tanked at the box office. Utterly bombed. I think it was pulled after 3 or 4 weeks.
But what saved it from being consigned to obscurity was a combination of fantastic word of mouth with video and DVD rentals/sales. Shawshank is now a film that is highly rated by both critics and film viewers. I just checked on Amazon and it’s ranked 616 on their bestsellers list – which in my view is pretty good for a movie that’s 16 or 17 years old.
I wanted to talk about Shawshank today because there’s a great lesson in the film that is totally applicable to building an online business.
But It’s Not the Obvious Lesson
The obvious lesson from Shawshank Redemption would be the ‘one spoon at a time’ approach that Andy Dufresne (the character played by Tim Robbins) takes in digging the tunnel that eventually leads to his escape. If I remember correctly Andy Dufresne actually started with a spoon in the original Stephen King Story that Shawshank is based on (called ‘Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption). But then moved onto a specialist tool called a rock hammer.
The lesson I wanted to share with you is not explicitly mentioned in the original Stephen King story – it’s a line the screenwriter(s) added to the story, and is used in a scene between Andy Dufresne and the character Red (played by Morgan Freeman).
I’m sure you know the line (it’s a great line too). Andy says to Red something like:
“It comes down to this. Get busy living. Or get busy dying.”
How Does ‘Get Busy Living Get Busy Dying’ Apply To Online Business?
To understand how this phrase applies to Online Business we first need to look at what it actually means in terms of the movie. In the scene where the phrase is used Andy is talking about a place in Mexico that he wants to go and live when he gets out of Shawshank.
Red tells him it’s pipe dream.
That’s when Andy says: “It comes down to this. Get busy living. Or get busy dying.’ In the context of the film Andy is saying that there are two choices: to get busy going after the pipe dream. Or to give up his dreams. And suffer a death of self. For a character like Andy, giving up his dream is equivalent to physical death.
So let’s apply this lesson from the film to online business.
The dream most of us have that attracts us to creating an online business in the first place is the dream of making a better life for ourselves, and our families. Whether that means creating a higher income level, or whether that means creating a better lifestyle where we can choose how to spend our time, or whether it’s both is irrelevant.
All of us who start an online (or offline for that matter) business dream of something better for ourselves. And achieving those dreams has never been easy than today, with the confluence of cheap and easy to use technology and access to a large audience.
But it doesn’t happen overnight. And it takes time. And hard work. That’s the ‘get busy living’ side of the equation.
Make your business goals. Work out the strategies and tactics needed to achieve those goals. And then start working on them. Day after day. Week after week. Year after year, until you’ve met them. That’s getting busy, working towards YOUR dream so that you can live it.
And Get Busy Dying?
Get Busy Dying is the path for those people who have the same dream, but who want it easy. Who buy the latest eBooks or Courses that assure you that you can get rich quick. Or that your business can reach a 6 Figure profit level with only a few hours work a week.
And these folks flit from course to course, from eBook to eBook, from method to method. One week they build a niche website. The next week they’ll make a few videos. The week after that perhaps they’ll try out a Webinar.
Always flitting from one magic bullet to the next. These folks are busy, but their dreams are dying. Because they haven’t sat down and worked out not only where they want to go, but HOW they’re going to get there.
Find The Path That Works For You
Each of us is unique. We have different experiences, different skill sets, different talents and different goals. So the path that is working for me won’t automatically work for you.
If you truly want to ‘get busy living,’ so that one day you can sat back and realize you’re living your dream, then you need to apply a laser like focus to both what you want to achieve and how you’re going to achieve it.
Once you’ve mapped a path that you think will work for you – you can never be 100% certain – then you need to constantly assess and reassess your plans as you make progress towards your goal so that you are always heading in the right direction.
If you do this over and over – if you truly get busy living – the probability that you will eventually succeed is high. If you have no plan and flit from one strategy to another, your chances of success are low.
When you’re starting an online business – or assessing your existing online business – it comes down to this: get busy living, or get busy dying.
Which approach you choose will have a massive bearing on your ultimate success or failure.
If you’ve read some of the articles here already you’ll know that I’m a ‘get busy living’ kind of guy. If you want to stay tuned to the latest articles and latest news the easiest way is to jump to the Subscribe page and sign up to my email list.
If you want to see the scene in question….watch this YouTube Clip: