“Shoes make me happy. I’m superficial. Whatever.”


This picture went so wild on my Facebook yesterday that I thought it was deserving of a post. I took it in Singapore in one of the many underground malls.

I happen to think it is genius and very savvy. Reminds me of Diesel’s Be Stupid campaign (which is really targeted at smart people).

Because we need congruence, everyone has an internal dialogue that justifies their actions. This campaign speaks to that person– the one who is smart and that knows that they’re giving in to consumerism, but accepts it.

It speaks to the same part of you that loves your Apple products and will overpay, or even wait in line, for them.

In the past month or two, I have occasionally spoken to the part in everyone that likes to call bullshit. The posts go wild every time because I use the voice that everyone has, but that they don’t usually show. Loren Feldman was known speaking truth to power. It works much better than appealing to the intellect, but it has consequences.

Most people will come here for the ad above. They won’t subscribe or click elsewhere– they’ll go back to Twitter for the short form. That’s something I accept and work with. The elephant needs to get on board for the rider to be able to get somewhere. So this method will continue.

The reason this is frustrating is because that voice can become all that you listen to. I’m afraid this is one of the reasons some people never reach their potential— that voice is easier to give into, but you will always get one marshmallow instead of two if you do.

So even though I appeal to that voice, I try not to follow it myself. I suggest you do the same through a process of hard decisions, made on purpose to create robustness or anti-fragility.

I don’t care if you hang from hooks, take cold showers, fast, or read through epic 800 page poems as long as you challenge your identity with very hard things. The process will change you, which is why it’s important.

If you do this, you will become stronger.

And then, I think, it’ll be ok to buy shoes every little while. Especially if it helps the voice quiet down.





6 responses to ““Shoes make me happy. I’m superficial. Whatever.””

  1. Ryan Stephens Avatar

    Ah, self awareness and challenging assumptions. And therein lies that unrelenting curiosity theme again. Whether it’s turning the lens on oneself or delving into the depths of content and/or tasks that challenge us, enduring that process inevitably teaches us something — likely the process more than the final conclusions.

    And calling bullshit is great when we pick our spots and back it with rationale, research, et al. Calling bullshit to be novel is just another gimmick designed to lead a herd (not to be confused with a tribe) that wishes they had the rocks to say what someone else just did.

  2. John McLachlan Avatar

    Julien: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but maybe you should turn off the comments on your blog.

  3. Andrew P Avatar
    Andrew P

    I’ve been thinking about this since you posted it on facebook yesterday. I’m of two minds in my response.

    As a purveyor, student, and observer of advertising, I can’t look at this in any positive light. At best, it’s borrowing a bit too much from Diesel’s campaign – which when looking beyond the surface of, was quite unique, unexpected, clever, and dripping with irony. It’s cashing in on an idea that was already done better. At worst, it’s irresponsible, unoriginal, and tacky. It doesn’t even try. It says “Hey, don’t fool yourself. Don’t try to fight it. This is you, and that’s OK.” The irony isn’t lost on me.

    As a person, I can’t stand it either. It appeals to our lowest common denominator without consideration. It tells us that thoughtless consumption is OK, normal, natural. On its own, a relatively harmless idea. But I see it as part of a much bigger problem; that people take because they want it. Now.

    In the end, I think the quote has more to do with the right to be selfish and inconsiderate, than it does instant gratification (or lack of challenging yourself). It’s an emerging trend seen in all corners of pop culture, and one I think, like you said, has very dangerous consequences.

    John – Curious as to why you think comments should be turned off.

  4. Peter Paluska Avatar

    This is a point I have thought about a lot. We are all subject to marketing and advertising in its many forms virtually everyday. When we become conscious of this, it allows us to detach with humor from our susceptible selves and just embrace our inner impulse buyer.
    C’est cool!
    Thanks, Julien!


  5. Daan van den Bergh Avatar

    Yeah, I noticed a slight difference in your writing style. But hey, I appreciated it. It shows dedication. If you’re willing to swear to get your point accross, to me that means you really care about it. 🙂

    Besides that, my internal and external dialogue in daily life is filled with BS. I’m from Amsterdam, I can’t help myself. 😛 I accept myself with that flaw.

    I think though that you should do whatever you feel like doing. Don’t do things because others do it. Don’t buy stuff out of spite or to fit in. I think the great challenge is to really do WHAT YOU WANT to do.

  6. Joe Sorge Avatar

    I have had this post sitting open for nearly a week in a browser tab almost afraid to read it. Funny thing is, it was a subconscious thing, I didn’t know why I was afraid to read it. Well, now I know and like other posts you’ve made similar to this one, I’m glad that I did and am doing my best to embrace the idea.
    Thanks man.

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