Imagine for a second you are working for a well-known Internet media site and unless you wrote an article that went “viral” you would get fired.
You know very well what goes viral. “10 things done by famous people”,
“the 10 habits of rich people”,
“that ONE SPECIAL trick Richard Branson does with his mouth every morning!”
So you get to work. You work at a long table and people with laptops sit at both sides of the table.
You all work together but you are also all competing because it’s like that TV show “Survivor” and whoever gets the least pageviews that month will be fired and an intern will take his or her place.
You look across the table and there’s Sophia, the girl you think is cute. The girl you want to impress. The girl you daydream about when you are bored.
You start your article: “1000 things people who are smarter than me do every day”.
You have to chuckle. Who is smarter than you!? You look at the girl. She would like to be with someone as smart as you, you think.
You start your list (this is so going to be viral!):
1. Go to sleep early
2. Keep a notebook with you to write everything down
3. Use the 80/20 rule in every aspect of your life. What is the 20% you do that gets you 80% of value. Start to only care about doing that 20%.
4. Don’t eat carbs. You remember that doctor who had his medical degree taken away who says that carbs are like pouring syrup over your piano keys. You used to perform at piano competitions and know that would be very upsetting.
5. Don’t hold onto regrets.
6. Be grateful
You start to think these sounds like commandments. Like the ten commandments.
You can start a religion! If this goes viral you will be the high priest of this new religion! Then the cute girl across the table will love you.
Is it bad to exploit girls because you are the king of a religion? Well, there was Mary Magdalene right? So it must be ok a little.
7. Send one thank you note a day.
This is definitely going viral, you think. For one thing, it’s easy. I can send five thank you notes right now.
But there’s no way I am turning the other cheek. If someone were to hit me, I’d have to hit them back. Do I follow Jesus (turn the other cheek) or Hammurabi (an eye for an eye). They are both hard. You don’t really want to claw someone’s eye out. “Go for the eyes if you are attacked.” But what if you miss and then they go for your eyes.
Before the Internet, religions were hard. I can’t follow those commandments, you think.
No, you think, as you type. My viral religion is a lot easier than any other code of ethics or laws or humanism (belief in the special-ness of being human) that ever existed before.
You wonder what the cute girl is writing. Probably “10 Ways to Look Better Every Day”. She has a wide beautiful smile. You know you love her because you feel it in your chest when she smiles at you.
You wish you could reach across the table and she would reach back and you touch her and connect. Electricity, you would think. If that were to happen.
Hmmm, what would someone smarter than me do? I can’t come up with #8.
You think of Albert Einstein. What would he do? Was he even smarter than you? Who cares about e = mc2? What was the big deal on that one? Was it that hard to come up with? Could he come up with this list? Did he send thank you notes every day?
Richard Branson comes into the room and everyone is in shock. He has a glow around him. You aren’t even sure if it’s Richard Branson or somehow a younger version of Richard Branson that has come to the future via Virgin Time Travel.
He comes up to the cute girl. She smiles and holds her arms up expectantly. She gives a little bounce in her chair because she’s happy and you wanted to make her that happy.
He reaches down and his lips touch hers. He does that one special trick with his mouth that he does every morning.
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