Jim Kukral | Unskippable - Marketing Keynote Speaker - Jim Kukral

All Posts by Jim Kukral

How Are You Spending The Summer Of COVID-19?

How Are You Spending The Summer Of COVID-19?

It's pretty well established by now that 2020 blows, big time. So here we are, over four months into the COVID-19 new world and well, I'm curious what you're doing this summer?

Are you staying at home?

Are you taking a vacation? If so, where are you going?

Are you staying mentally healthy?

This is a check in from me, to you.

Text me and tell me what your summer plans are.

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F*#$ It! – The World Is Ending So I Got A Fish Tattoo

F*#$ It! - The World Is Ending

So I Got A Fish Tattoo

Before we begin, I just wanted to say that the reason I haven't emailed the past three weeks is I didn't have anything to say. Like you, my head is spinning with all the craziness happening in the world right now, and sometimes you just need to take a few moments and reflect, and listen. So thanks for checking in on me for those that did. All is well. I will continue to post every week as the thoughts come to me. Now on to today's SYCS.

What would cause a 48-year-old man to finally decide to get a giant rainbow trout inked on his leg as his first tattoo??

Well, let's talk about. Was it a mid-life crisis? Probably, maybe? Isn't that too cliche?

Or, was it that maybe my brain is telling me that the world could end any day, so...

WHY THE FUCK NOT?

I've talked about this "world ending mindset" before, here.

And here with stories about how impulsive and fun Bill Murray is.

And of course, here with the planned obsolescence of our own lives.

So I guess you could say I've been building up to this for a while now.

But what finally made me do it?

Honestly? It's best summed up here with my post on how COVID is a gift.

Summary: I've reached the final stage of grief... ACCEPTANCE!

That's where I'm at, and from what I'm seeing from all of you on social media, so are you.

Yeah, we're still anxious and scared (most of us). But in a general sense, we're ready to move on. Even if that means not being safe and risking our lives.

Why?

There are a million arguments to be made about this, and opinions and actions vary based on cultures and countries.

But here in the USA? We simply value our way of life more than anything else. Even death.

Now you can make the argument that that is a terrible thing and one of our major weaknesses.

You could also make the argument that it's one of our greatest strengths.

And we're going to argue; that's what we do.

But let's be honest about where we're at. We're moving on. We've accepted that this is how the world is going to be. We've accepted this "new normal". (I hate that phrase just as much as you do.)

So why did I get a trout tattooed on my leg?

Because deep down I've accepted the fact that I could wake up tomorrow with COVID-19, or some other terrible ailment and well, that's it. Finito. End of watch.

This is where my head is at. How about you? Text me.

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Everything Will Be Okay or Everything Will Be Okay?

Everything Will Be Okay or

Everything Will Be Okay?

Earlier this week I took a drive to a different part of town that I never go to. I just needed to get out! I find myself doing that at least once a week. Just driving around so I can feel somewhat normal again. Pretending that the world is like it was before, even though I know it’s not.

During this particular excursion I ended up driving past a building where I’ve seen many small concerts over the years. Remember those? Concerts? Groups of people standing shoulder to shoulder sweating and breathing on each other?

Now I didn’t purposely intend to drive past this building. Most likely I did it subconsciously because I needed to remember times of happiness and togetherness. Who knows! All of our heads are messed up at this point.

Here’s where it gets interesting. On the street marquee of the concert building was written this message.

“Everything will be ok”

I read it once from 100 yards out. Yep, that’s what it said. I read it again as I got closer.

I then pulled the car over and parked on the street in front of the sign. Then I read it again.

And I stared at it for a minute.

Then all of a sudden I almost broke down in tears in an overwhelming wave of emotion. It was like an alien in my body that was just ready to come bursting out of my chest.

Call me soft, go ahead. I’m human. This has been tough and I don’t care how strong you are mentally. We all have our limits.

Why did this sign trigger me after all this time?

Because the sign was right.

The sign told me what I needed to hear.

The sign is the soft assurance that your parents have whispered in your ear your entire life.

The sign is the strong proclamation that our leaders are supposed to sooth us with, but often fail at completely these days.

The sign...  is hope.

It’s permission to believe. To gather strength and look forward.

What we need less of right now is “we’re all in this together”, and more of “everything will be okay”, don’t you think?

Now, of course, if you put a question mark on that message it completely changes the narrative, right?

What if the sign said...

Everything will be okay?

See what I mean?

The truth is I’m glad the sign didn’t have that question mark. Because deep down I want to believe that everything is going to be okay.

I want the comfort of hope, wrapping my up in a warm blanket and tucking me in at night.

I guess my point is this.

How you frame your mindset during times like is a choice.

You can either believe everything will be okay.

Or, you can believe everything will be okay?

Big difference.

Have a safe and productive holiday weekend.

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How To THRIVE During a Gold Rush, & a Pandemic

How To THRIVE During a Gold Rush, & a Pandemic

This week's content is for the entrepreneurs out there. Or, the ones who want to be entrepreneurs.

Here's a video presentation I presented on a virtual speaking gig this week called:

How To THRIVE During a Gold Rush, & a Pandemic

It's about 30 minutes long. I think you will enjoy it, and learn some fun history. I promise it will be worth your time.

After you watch it, text me and let me know what you think.

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What If? The Gift Of COVID-19

What If? The Gift Of COVID-19

Programming note: I didn’t email last week. I needed a week off to clear my head. And some of you checked in on me and thank you. I’m fine. Just messed up in the head like everyone else these days.

There are seven stages of grief. Or, as fancy people refer to it: The Kübler-Ross model.

About a month and a half ago the world went KABOOM! 

Think about your reactions since then.

Were you in shock first? I was.

Did you then move into denial? I did.

Did you then get really angry? I did.

Did you then perhaps start looking for explanations and a bargain to make out of it? I did.

Did you then get depressed? I sure as fuck did.

Did you then start thinking about resolutions? Yep.

Finally, and maybe you’re not there yet, but did you, or will you, finally just accept it?

Ok, so you’re human, congratulations. 

Now what? Let me propose something to you.

What if…

You accepted the world has changed and you started to live the life you always wanted?

What if…

You decided to let go of the negativity and harmful thoughts in your head that you have held onto for your entire life and instead set yourself free?

What if…

You just suddenly decided that you cannot control what happens and you should try and spend the rest of your time on this earth happy?

What if…

COVID-19 is a gift that changes you forever, in a positive way?

Seriously, what if?

Not ready for that yet? That’s fine. Everyone is ready for that on their own timeline.

But for today, I want you to honestly ask yourself…

If not after this life changing event, then when?

I will leave you with one of my favorite song lyrics from the Indigo Girls song entitled Lay My Head Down. 

“Some plan for the kingdom of heaven. And some take their chances and bet lucky seven. I don't know what to believe, I just show up and breathe, anymore.”

I have a favor to ask. If you like what you’re reading, please forward this to a friend who might need to read it.

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Cognitive Bias: There Is No Such Thing As An “Alternative Fact”

Cognitive Bias: There Is No Such Thing As An “Alternative Fact”

Heard enough about the CoronaVirus? Me too. But is what you’ve heard or read true? Or is it media hype? It’s quite the conundrum isn’t it? What to believe? 

We live in an age where we know more than we ever knew before, but also are more confused than ever before.

That’s quite a paradox.

PR firm 5W Public Relations surveyed 737 U.S. beer drinkers and found that 38% of beer-drinking consumers would not buy Corona beer under any circumstances now—and 16% were confused about whether the beer is connected to the CoronaVirus outbreak.

Here’s another fun fact unrelated to the virus. Seven percent of Americans believe that chocolate milk comes from Brown cows. If you do that math, that’s about 16.4 million people.

My friend once got a parking ticket for leaving his car on the street in front of my home overnight. When he tried to challenge the ticket to the judge with the argument of “there were no signs posted saying he couldn’t do so”, the judge said to him, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

He was forced to pay the ticket. Rules are rules. Laws are laws. Even if we don’t know they exist.

But is truth, truth? Or is it that only OUR truth is truth?

We can’t know everything, even though we might think we do. And because of that, we are ignorant of a lot of things. 

So we either: A. Claim we didn’t know the rule so “how can we be culpable?” or B. We believe that we know everything.

Both lines of thinking are equally as dangerous when you think about it. Either just being ignorant, or truly believing we are not ignorant based upon our own truth.

But today let’s tackle the second point. The fact that people who are incompetent, actually belive they are competent.

This is called The Dunning-Kruger Effect, or as you may know it: Cognitive Bias 

A cognitive bias is a systematic error in thinking that affects the decisions and judgments that people make. Some of these biases are related to memory. The way you remember an event may be biased for a number of reasons and that in turn can lead to biased thinking and decision-making. 

In other words, believing you know something that you don’t.

Why do people feel like they’re experts when they’re not? 

You now know the answer: cognitive biases.

Cognitive biases protect us from feeling unsafe. They are the truths that we create in our brains to make us feel better and smarter, which in turn makes us safer in our own little reality.

Ever met the social media troll who is an expert on global warming because they read a book on it? Or worse, they watched a Youtube video about it being false, so they KNOW all the facts? And they feel that they now know enough, and more, than scientists who have spent decades of their lives studying the facts?

Of course you have. You might have even done it. Shame, shame!

You see this every day, all day now on social media with the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re doing it...

Now, stop it!

It may make you feel better about yourself, but it’s ruining everything. 

It’s ruining social media.

It’s ruining human conversation.

It’s ruining friendships and families.

It’s ruining common sense. 

Yes, your truth is your truth. But NOT when it comes to facts.

The sky is blue. Fact. 

It does not matter that your truth is that it’s red.

You’re wrong. So just admit it. Stop making yourself feel safe by making up your own truths.

Now here’s the most important rule.

If you see someone doing it, walk away. There is ZERO point in having an argument with someone who has already established the cognitive bias on the subject matter. If you can do this, you will stay sane, and happier. 

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The Virus Might Kill You, But The Stress Of It Might As Well?

The Virus Might Kill You, But The Stress Of It Might As Well?

Taking too much bad news in is bad for your health. Duh.

According to media experts and researchers (link above). “Taking in a constant stream of alarming news increases your stress and anxiety—and has long-term consequences for your physical health, too.”

Alison Holman and her colleagues at UC Irvine have studied past epidemics and disasters to see how news reporting affects people. They found that those who read or saw more sensationalist, repetitive news stories experienced acute stress and other symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder, with poorer health up to three years later.

These effects can be even harsher for people in communities that have already suffered disaster. In one study, Holman and her colleagues found that New Yorkers (who lived through 9/11) following sensationalist news stories about the Boston Marathon bombings had as much stress as people who actually lived in Boston where the bombings took place.

Stress is real, and deadly. And I might argue that it might end up being more deadly than the virus long term. We won’t know for years.

Here’s a chart from a report from IMI Netwave report called “Wave 3: Consumer Perceptions of COVID-19”. 

Is this you?

So let’s play this out BEFORE this pandemic. You wake up. You “might” take a shower and brush your teeth. Then make coffee or get some juice and breakfast. All the normal things you used to do.

What are you doing now during the pandemic? You’re waking up, then picking up your phone and checking to see what part of the world is burning. How many people died? Is there a cure?

This is killing us. Absolutely destroying us mentally. And the long term effects of this will be devastating to society in general.

So What’s The Answer?

You do need to stay informed. You need to stay safe. You can’t ignore everything.

From the article, “The key is to balance your media diet with news stories that are more inspiring or offer solutions, and then share them with friends and family. Taking those steps will help instill a sense of hope and personal agency, in yourself and others.”

Easier said than done. Can you do it? Can you pull yourself away from all the negative news? 

It’s hard, really hard. Our minds fight us on this constantly. 

Here’s a challenge for you. Start looking for the positive news about this all. 

How somebody helped another person on the front lines of medical care.

How a business decided to pay their employees during the lockdown.

Whatever. Something good.

Now here’s your homework. Go online and find me a positive story and text it to me.

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This Sucks So Much Right Now

This Sucks So Much Right Now

If we could sum up this entire COVID-19 mess in one sentence and put it on a mug that would be it, right?

I'm not going to try and inspire you today.

I'm not going to try and give you some lesson today.

I'm not going to lecture you today.

What I am going to do is just ask you how you are today?

What's it like where you live?

How is your family doing?

Are you staying busy?

Mentally, how are you coping with this?

I just wanna know that you're ok, and that if you want to chat about it and even vent about how much this sucks, I'm here for you.

Did I mention this sucks so much right now? Ha!

Text me now. (216) 236-8294

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How You Choose To Use Your Time In A Crisis Says A Lot About How Successful & Happy You Are

How You Choose To Use Your Time In A Crisis Says A Lot About How Successful & Happy You Are

During the years 1665-67, the time of the Great Plague of London, Isaac Newton unleashed his genius on the world. The Great Plague killed an estimated 100,000 people—almost a quarter of London's population—in 18 months. Scary shit. 

Newton, if you don’t know, created the basic principles of modern physics, which resulted in the formulation of the law of universal gravitation. Pretty important science stuff.

And he did it when he was “working from home.”

An earlier plague, in 1606, allowed Shakespeare to get a lot of dramatic writing done while the theaters were shut down. During this “down time” he churned out King Lear, Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra.

So what’s your excuse? 

There are two types of people during a crisis. Which one are you?

Person #1: Netflix and Chill

This person is going to shut down. They’re going to watch Netflix a lot. They’re going to organize their closet. They’re going to entertain themselves to “get away” from the news of the world crashing down around them. 

Listen, I get it. I’m certainly going to do some of that. But there are limits to that for me.

Person #2: Make Shit Happen

This person is going to kick some serious arse. They’re going to improve themselves, personally, and professionally. They’re going to learn something new. They’re going to hunker down and do something productive that changes their life.

Again, which one are you?

One of your competitors is going to innovate and dominate doing something to fix the situation. But maybe it’s more important you catch up on Narcos.

You can stare out the window for a month, or you could start a podcast, or start writing a book. Or you could argue with people on Facebook/Twitter.

You could just feel sorry for yourself and do absolutely nothing. What message does that send to your kids? 

Again, which person are you going to be?

Text me, tell me what you’re going to do. If you don’t know yet, fine, come up with a plan. But do something productive, or not. It’s your choice.

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Why Do 15 Percent Of The People On This Planet Believe The World Is Going To End?

Why Do 15 Percent Of The People On This Planet Believe The World Is Going To End?

Quick programming notes. 

1. If you’re trying to text me and you’re an international number, I can’t text back for some reason. So just email me back, cool? 

2. If you’re not texting me at all then I’m 100% cool with you unsubscribing from this weekly thing, just click that link at the bottom. Remember, I want to have a conversation with you. I hope you want to have one with me.

3. I’m coming up to close to 500 personal communications with y’all. Wow! Actual, real conversations (even if it’s only texting). You guys are bearing your souls to me and it is amazing and I’m learning a lot and we’re actually getting to know one another. That’s what this is all about. So f-ing text me, k?

***

Panic attacks are real shit. I know, I’ve had them. The first one I had was the worst, and I’ve since learned how to control them though my own mind. They’re not physical. It’s all in your head. If you’ve had one, you know that now. If you haven’t, yet, it’s gonna be a terrible, but also powerful experience in how to train your brain to let shit go. Easier said than done, but you CAN do it.

Heard enough about the CoronaVirus? Me too. But is what you’ve heard or read true? Or is it media hype? It’s quite the conundrum isn’t it? What to believe? 

In an age where we know more than we ever knew before, but also are more confused than ever before.

That’s quite a paradox.

Depending on what you believe you either think this panic is justified and real, or it’s a media concoction. Doesn’t matter what you believe. What matters is understanding why people panic. If that’s you, maybe this will help. I talked about this recently in a previous SYCS thought.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, panic disorders, “If left untreated, can lower your quality of life because it may lead to other fears and mental health disorders, problems at work or school, and social isolation.”

In other words, ruin your fucking life. It can debilitate you to the point that you can’t leave your house, or function on a normal human being level in social circumstances. 

Everyone panics. But some more than others. But why?

According to Reuters, nearly 15 percent of people worldwide believe the world will end during their lifetime. Also, about one in 10 people globally also said they were experiencing fear or anxiety about the impending end of the world. This was a study conducted in 2012! Can you imagine what those numbers are today?

Let’s unpack this. 15 percent of humans believe the world is going to end in their lifetime. There are 7.7 BILLION people on Earth. I can’t do the math and I’m not going to try. What’s 15 percent of that?

I’ll tell you what that is, a shit ton of people.

The reasons why they think that way are unimportant. Could be religious. Could be mental illness. The point is they believe it.

People have always had these fears, but it’s worse now, probably. Why? Because the Internet and social media have taken those fears and poured gasoline on them and set them on fire, now broadcast to the palm of your hand through your iPhone 24/7. KABOOM!

But let’s take this deeper.

Why do people find comfort in the apocalypse?

We LOVE movies and books about the end of the world. It’s a billion dollar industry. But why?

University of Minnesota neuroscientist Shmuel Lissek, who studies the fear system, suspects that some apocalyptic believers find the idea that the end is nigh to be validating. 

Enter your text here...Individuals with a history of traumatic experiences, for example, may be fatalistic. For these people, finding a group of like-minded fatalists is reassuring. There may also be comfort in being able to attribute doom to some larger cosmic order—such as an ancient Mayan prophecy. This kind of mythology removes any sense of individual responsibility. There’s an even broader allure to knowing the precise end date. "Apocalyptic beliefs make existential threats—the fear of our mortality—predictable," Lissek says. Lissek, in collaboration with National Institute of Mental Health neuroscientist Christian Grillon and colleagues, has found that when an unpleasant or painful experience, such as an electric shock, is predictable, we relax. The anxiety produced by uncertainty is gone. Knowing when the end will come doesn't appeal equally to everyone, of course—but for many of us it's paradoxically a reason to stop worrying.

And there you have it. We find comfort in the world ending because it means we can stop worrying about shit. We lose our responsibilities.

Worrying about car payments. Worrying about our kids. Worrying about pain. Worrying about not being good enough. Worrying about what we look like. Worrying about everything.

Worry drives us. It hangs over our every waking moment. It makes us what we are. Without it, we wouldn’t be human.

And without worry, well, shit that would be pretty great wouldn’t it?

So think this through. If you knew the world was going to end in a month, or a year, or five-years, how would you live your life? 

You’d do all the things you wanted to do. You’d make that call to the family member you haven’t spoken to for years. You’d get that tattoo you’ve always wanted but were too scared to get. You’d learn how to surf. You’d travel to places you’ve always wanted to go.

You would live, fully. Without worry. Without responsibility.

Again, that would be pretty fucking awesome wouldn’t it?

So text me now. Because I’ve got news for you, you’re going to die. It probably isn’t going to be from the CoronaVirus, but you will die eventually unless you’re Keith Richards. 

So are you going to spend the rest of your time worrying about it, or are you going to live your life, right now?

Note: This virus is real. You should of course take all recommended precautions. You’re not an idiot. You know what I’m trying to say. Be safe, be smart. But don’t let the worry about it ruin your life. If I’m wrong, we’ll all be dead anyway so problem solved.

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