It’s easy to follow a template. It’s easy to do what’s already been done.
But was that what you were brought on this earth to do? Play someone else’s game, follow in someone else’s footsteps?
I don’t think so.
When you ride waves, you’re always behind. You’re always trying to catch up with the latest trend, the newest marketing tactic. Today it’s Pinterest, yesterday it was Google Plus.
Last century it was the American Dream. Now it’s the Lifestyle Design Dream.
Whatever tribe you’re trying to serve, whatever market you’re in, it’s inevitable that you’ll encounter trends and crazes that quickly become bandwagons.
The question is, will you attempt to frantically ride these waves, or will you create your own?
On doing what’s been done
Doing what’s already been done is inevitably a much safer path than pioneering your own. But going this route means that you’re always trying to catch up. Because you’re always following, you’re never ahead.
You’re simply trying to implement the latest marketing tactic or trick so you can catch up to what everyone else is doing. At best, you may implement the latest trend slightly earlier than everyone else.
Bcause you’re wave-chasing, you’re always in reactive mode. You’re never thinking strategically, you’re just reactively trying to incorporate the latest trend into your own work.
This type of wave-chasing is not only arduous, but it’s a never ending game. There will inevitably be a new fad, a new flavor of the month. You’ll have to hurry to employ it just a little quicker than everyone else before it becomes outdated.
Trends inevitability fall out of vogue before long. Like any bandwagon that people jump on, it loses its luster and becomes a requirement to not fail.
The lifecycle of marketing trends
- Stage one: Someone creates a new, effective tactic. The creator and early implementers reap the lion’s share of the benefits.
- Stage two: The trend takes hold and everyone rushes frantically to implement it. This is what wave-chasers do. They experience some benefits, but by this time it’s already becoming outdated.
- Stage three: The trend or tactic has lost its effectiveness. Now utilizing it is simply a requirement to not fail.
As you can probably tell, this is a losing battle. Not only are you always in monkey-mode (trying to copy what the gurus are doing), it’s also exhausting.
So how do we stop wave-chasing?
If you want to create something truly great, if you want to be number one in the race, you absolutely must play your own game.
Don’t try to be the next Steve Jobs or the next Maynard Keenan. Be the next you. Explore the uncharted stretches of your own path — the one that’s waiting to be released inside you. The one that’s dark, expansive and blissfully terrifying (yes, bliss and fear can actually coexist).
Stop trying to chase waves. Stop listening to the experts. Stop reacting to the latest and greatest.
Start creating your own game. Tear everything down and build your own empire from the ground up. On your terms.
It will be perhaps the hardest work of your life. But it will by far be the most rewarding.