Despite all his glaring character flaws – alcoholism, raging ego, consistent infidelity – there is much to be learned from Madison Avenue’s gun-slinging cowboy of the advertising world. Like the benefits of having considered all the angles before anyone else, noticing what people are really after – and how often times, all you need is a clean shave, combed hair, and a crisply ironed suit to open the right doors. It certainly doesn’t hurt to look like Jon Hamm, either, but I digress. Here are a few life lessons the modern and motivated man can learn from Don Draper.
“Make it simple, but significant.”
It’s a mentality that bleeds into every facet of his life. Don Draper opens his mouth sparingly, only elaborating further when absolutely necessary. The result? His words have more currency. The campaigns and tag lines he pitches aren’t overly complicated, nor do they require much explanation. They cut straight to the point, devoid of frivolous excess and gimmicks, tugging at neglected heartstrings. And where others jump through hoops to reinvent the wheel, he turns it on its side and called it a carousel.
“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.”
Always refrain from wasting with someone else’s time. If you’re expected to be present – be present. There’s nothing more insulting than coming face to face with someone whose attention is divided. Remember: everyone’s lives are just 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 up their mind about whatever it is they’re 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 content in their ways and likely won’t change until they themselves are ready. Don’t expend energy on something that just won’t change. Recognise the obstacle, seek out the required change, and work around it.
“You’re good. Get better. And stop asking for things.”
Out of all the life lessons outlined, this is arguably the most valuable one we can learn from Don Draper. Whether you’ve reached a certain point of success in your life or not, oftentimes, it feels natural to ease off the pedal after a moment’s worth of stagnation. Don’t wait around for things to be given with an outstretched hand. Master your craft and bring it home.