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The Popcorn Pitchman Paradox


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Way back in high school I worked at a movie theater.

It got really busy in Friday and Saturday nights.

There'd be a big line outside, and went it was ready, we'd open the doors.

There'd be a mad rush to by candy popcorn and soda.

Common for one person to grab some seats, and somebody else to grab the popcorn.

Then my boss got the idea to set up another stand in the back of the theater.

Not a full fledged stand, but a cart with some stuff pre-made.

A few cokes, a few popcorns, some candy.

The first girl who tried it just stood in the back.

Nobody bought anything.

Then they let me give it a whirl.

I absolutely LOVED it.

Because I didn't just stand there waiting for customers.

I would slowly push the popcorn cart up and down the aisles, screaming like an old school pitchman.

The first few times I was petrified.

It seemed like a good in my mind.

A fun idea in my mind.

But once I started screaming, and all the people were looking me like some weird clown kid that escaped from the mental hospital, it didn't seem so fun.

Until I muscled my way through the fear and found a FANTASTIC correlation.

The more energy I put into it, the more I sold.

Pretty soon I saw it as my mission to sell out before every show.

The goofier of a pitch I came up with, the louder and more sillier I belted out the pitch, the more I sold.

I once saw an interview with the guy who played Walter White, the Breaking Bad character.

He said as an actor, you must confront a paradox.

That most humans, as our natural setpoint, want to be as low profile as possible.

But to be an actor, you HAVE to express all your emotions.

He said the deep fear is that we will express our emotions, we'll get rejected.

But the opposite happens.

The MORE we express our emotions, not just the easy ones, but ALL of them, the MORE people will not only accept us, but EMBRACE us.

Why is this?

We ARE emotional creatures.

We like to think we are logical.

We aren't.

Which would you rather do, watch a FANTASTIC drama that yanks your emotions all over the place?

Or study algebra?

When you buy a shirt or other piece of clothing, do you do a pure logical treatment of cost-benefit analysis of the skin protecting elements of the fabric?

Or do you buy a shirt because it will make you look COOL?

Hopefully cool enough for all those sexy people to notice you?

Emotions are the most powerful engine of human expression.

Master your emotions, and master everything.

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