Despite all his glaring character flaws – alcoholism, ego, infidelity - there is much to be learned from Madison Avenue’s gun-slinging cowboy of advertising. Like the benefits of having put the most thought into something. How some scenarios call for you to know every conceivable angle and turn. And how often times, all you need to open some doors is a clean shave, combed hair, and a crisp ironed suit. It doesn’t hurt to look like Jon Hamm either. Here are a few other moments Don Draper became a guru for the modern and motivated man.
“Make it simple, but significant.”
This mentality bleeds through every facet of his life. Draper is shown to and noted by other characters as opening his mouth sparingly, only going at lengths when absolutely necessary. As a result, the words he speaks carry more weight, and more meaning. The campaigns and tag lines he pitches aren’t overly complicated, nor do they require much explanation. They cut straight to the point, purged of all frivolous excess and gimmicks, tugging at heartstrings that have always been there, but many seem to neglect. When others leap over barrels to reinvent the wheel, he turns it on its side and called it a carousel. His objectives are focused, his pleasures are simple.
“When a man walks into a room, he brings his whole life with him. He has a million reasons for being anywhere. Just ask him.”
Relating to the previous point of minimalism, always refrain from toying with someone’s time. If you are expected to be present, be present. There is nothing more insulting than being face to face with someone who has their attention divided. A person is an embodiment of human life, as complex and substantial as your own. Act accordingly.
“If you don’t like what is being said, change the conversation.”
Chances are, people have already made their minds up about whatever it is they are so set on. If you can muster up the time, effort, and energy to convince them otherwise, more power to you. But for the most part, people are set in their ways and will only change when they themselves are ready. This sentiment is not strictly directed towards people, either. It can be applied to any situation. The moral of the story is, don’t expend energy on something that will not budge. Recognize the obstacle, seek out the required change, and work around it.
“You’re good. Get better. And stop asking for things.”
Whether you’ve reached a certain point of success in your life or not, it can feel natural to ease off the pedal after a moment’s worth of stagnation. Don’t wait around for things to be given to you with an outstretched hand. Become the master of your craft and take what is yours for your own.