RUSHING TO CONCLU…..
What’s that got to do with marketing?
I had a fight and decided to take some time off.
One of those “get out of house” huffs that one doesn’t quite plan.
So, I jumped into my car and started driving to our farmhouse 225 Kilometers away.
I drove in silence, anger pouring out of every pore. Traffic was light, and I was cruising. The mobile kept ringing, but I kept ignoring it. I knew who was calling.
I knew this path well, having traversed it several times. Have you ever felt, after some time of driving, as if things were running on auto-pilot? I could not recollect the last fifteen minutes. Nothing.
No landmark. No sign.
Thankful that there was no accident, I kept my focus on the road. So much so that I did not look at the fuel indicator.
I crossed a distinct stretch was dark, desolate, with just one solitary house in the middle of a farm. Always, there was just that one solitary light bulb visible from the road. When we traveled as a group, we made fun of the house and this stretch. A favourite place to tell ghost stories.
Who believes in such stuff? I always used to laugh it away. You see, I am not one of those types.
As the memory brought up a wry smile to my face, my car sputtered…. And stopped.
I remembered my driver’s request in the morning to fill the tank — and I said I will do it later. That “later” came back to bite me now.
In the dead of the night, in this desolate patch, no chance of hailing another cab. When it rains, it pours.
There never was any mobile connectivity in this area. Sleeping in the car was not an option as this was elephant country. I sat in the car for ten more minutes. A time when my mind blanked out. Totally.
The only option seemed to be that soiltary house.
I trudged my way to the house. There was no clear path, and the light from my mobile wasn’t providing enough visibility. The whole area was surrounded by bogs, and I slipped and fell several times. Sleepless, tired, and now dirty top to bottom.
My teeth had started a typewriter clacking already. I needed a roof over my head.
I reached the door and knocked. No response. I knocked several times and yelled. No avail. Standing there for five minutes, I thought I could walk around the house and check. The back door was open, and I let myself in.
Hellooooooooo, anybody home?
No response. I walked into the house and moved left, then right, following the light from my mobile phone.
Not a soul in sight. The house did look lived in.
My phone battery died on me. I walked up the stairs towards the glowing light bulb, hoping to see someone there.
As I reached the final step, the light bulb ceased to function, leaving me in rank darkness. Straight out of a horror movie screenplay, the ones we used to laugh at! Here I was, alone, in an unknown place, without any light…
Did I say I am not that type? I am very much THAT type. I am scared of other beings and ghouls and the like. At this moment, all of them were traversing through my brain. Cold sweat, that’s what I was covered in. I took a couple of steps. Something on the floor tripped me, and I fell.
What was it — I tried feeling with my hands but couldn’t find anything in the darkness. At least this floor was carpeted. I curled up, trying to make sense of it all. Or at least catch some sleep.
Can one ever sleep in a situation like this? You put me in a hotel room, in a new bed, I cannot sleep. Unknown house, some carpet, I closed my eyes but was wide awake!
I started hearing odd noises from the house. Creaking floorboards, something moving outside, the rustling of leaves, or were those footsteps? My eyes opened automatically, and I saw apparitions on the opposite wall. Am I done for?
After a while, I woke up to another realization.
It felt as if somebody was lying down next to me. I could feel the presence.
And the noise from that person…… sounded like laboured breathing. I could feel the breath on my skin. I dare not turn and look back.
What have I got myself into?
One part of me wanted to turn, see and dispel.
The other refused to let me, lest it be true that there was a being next to me. A ghost. A zombie?
Something slithered over my feet. What more do I want?
The hair on my skin, standing upright, I clenched my fingers and closed my eyes shut.
Now I heard footsteps for sure….Were they all coming to get me? Could not go out even if I wanted to, for fear of dropping down from the first floor.
Can daylight come in earlier today? I was wet with my own sweat, and the being next to me was rasping now.
I blanked out after that…
…….. …….. …….. …….. …….. …….. …….. …….. …….. ……..
I woke up with a start.
The sound of a tea kettle.
My eyes opened to the sunlight streaking in. I saw things around me, but with the brain fade from last night, I could not figure out where I was.
Have I been kidnapped? Am I in hell?
Then I heard a whistle, could not be the tea kettle as this was a song I recognized. Slowly, in a daze, I propped myself up. The footsteps were certainly coming up the stairs. I did not have the strength to get up or to defend myself.
I saw a man coming up with a tea tray and a sandwich. He offered them to me and said:
I live alone here. I saw a car stop on the highway in the middle of the night. So, I went up to check on the driver. I didn’t find anyone there. I walked back, called the cops. I saw the mucky footprints all over my place. My dog led me to you, and he stayed next to you the whole night.
Some idiot left the car with the keys in the ignition and the headlights on. I presume that idiot would be you…..
When stuck in a difficult situation or wallowing in non-clarity and ambiguity, we tend to imagine the worst.
We imagine the negatives when walking up to a pitch or a proposal.
When the pitch doesn’t work, we attribute it to all the signals around us.
As an outlier marketer, we use what is within us and around us to look at the facts and then decide.
- Not imagine some things and look for information to corroborate that imagination.
So the next time you are on a journey, marketing or otherwise, fill your brain up with fuel, for facts, the search for the truth, and to take apt decisions — not jump to conclusions!
All stories in this “52” series:
1. The Cycle Wheel
2. The strong polish their fangs and the weak….
5. What happens to nice guys?
7. Growth: How did she do it?
9. When would you fire yourself?
11. What happened to soft-spoken Radha?
12. Simplicity needs common sense, not education!
13. Fighting all the time: When to decide?
Pravin Shekar is an outlier marketer, parallel entrepreneur and a raconteur.
mic @ PravinShekar.com
For creative collusions, join: http://bit.ly/JoinMyOutlierTribe
Pravin is the author of eight books: http://tiny.cc/PravinShekarBooks
Devil Does Care, Marketing lessons from The Art of War, Marketing lessons from Mythology, Getting paid to speak, a Virtual Summit Playbook, Climb your way out of hell, a collection of travel pics/romantic poems, and stories from the heart!
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