Get What You Deserve by Jay Levinson & Seth Godin

Now this is one fascinating book. It points out that the way other people treat us is determined by the way we communicate ourselves to them. In every interaction we have with other people, the way we communicate is marketing ourselves to them. Even if you think you aren't involved in marketing yourself to other people and the world, you're still doing it; just not intentionally and therefore probably not very effectively. This may explain why you're not getting the results you want in some areas of your life. If you don't have the life you want, it's because you haven't learned to communicate (i.e. market yourself) effectively in that area.

I used to think I had no interest whatsoever in marketing, but that was before I understood what marketing actually was. When I became a writer, I realised that I needed to learn about marketing in order to get my message to other people. I have no interest in being a struggling writer, suffering for his craft. I want to be a popular writer whose message helps millions of people. So I started to learn about marketing.

I'd heard that Seth Godin is something of a marketing guru, and that led me to stumble across this book which takes the principles of guerilla marketing and applies them to your personal life. The golden secret of this is:

I can control the messages I send,
and my life will be better for it.

That's another way of saying that if you don't have what you want in life, the problem isn't you; the problem is the way you're communicating. I get where they're coming from, and there is a lot of practical advice in this book. It's the antithesis of advice that says to "just be yourself", which simply doesn't work because we end up just doing what we've always done and getting the same results.

We're such multi-dimensional people and there are a lot of authentic ways to communicate from which to choose, and we tend to fall into patterns of communication which may not send the messages that best convey what we have to offer or that get the result we want. This book is about choosing from the many authentic messages we could send, by picking the messages which communicate what we really want to say to other people so that they judge us and respond positively.

My one reservation about all this is that in the past I've tried too hard to control the messages I sent, and ended up sending the wrong ones. Or I've just sent messages ineffectively because I didn't realise how they were being interpreted. For example, sending "I want you to like me" due to anxiety and insecurity instead of "Here's how i can contribute positively to your life". So choosing the messages to send needs to be done in a way which doesn't involve more self-consciousness.

Everything from our clothing, hair, speech and writing to our actions all send messages to other people, and we need to become aware of what we're sending if we want to communicate (i.e. market ourselves) better to other people. The book covers most areas of our personal lives, and how they can be improved through more effective, intentional, authentic communication. Do this, and the authors say we will get what we deserve.

About Graham Stoney

I struggled for years with low self-esteem, anxiety and a lack of self-confidence before finding a solution that really worked. I created The Confident Man Program to help other men live the life of their dreams. I also offer 1-on-1 coaching via Skype so if you related to this article contact me about coaching.

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