Tuesday, December 15, 2009

If you want to achieve a goal...

...take a lesson from John Malkovich.

If you watched "Dangerous Liaisons," a movie of a few years back starring Michele Pfeiffer, Glenn Close, a young (and topless) Uma Thurman and John Malkovich, you'll remember the monomaniacal focus the character Valmont (Malkovich) had on women. If he set his sights on a woman (and he regularly did), forget it, she was his. He wouldn't take "No" for an answer. He was single-minded, driven, and undeterred. And, he understood human nature and human frailties. He scored at will. I would not want that character after my wife (despite her great virtue)!

Valmont gives us all a lesson in purpose, and you might say, goal setting. If you want a job or a client, or a love, you need a singleness of purpose that borders on obsession. It also helps if you have a deep understanding of human nature, strengths and frailties. I suppose you also need a good portion of courage and, in some instances, a shortage of conscience.

In any event, when students ask me what to study for success in marketing, I always mention psychology first, along with art, anthropology, literature, research methods, and several other subjects. When they ask me how to get a job, I suggest they pick the place where they've always wanted to work, learn as much as they can about the needs of the employer and focus on it, ala Malkovich. I jokingly tell them that if they want to work at Microsoft they need to find out where Bill Gates parks his car and lay in front of it until he hires them.

I don't go for pop psychology, but after watching "Dangerous Liaisons" I felt that anyone can get what he or she wants by focusing and positively visualizing. Even if you don't agree, rent the movie and watch Malkovich wear away the defenses of Michelle Pfeiffer and pay the ultimate price to defeat Glenn Close at her own game. I promise you'll enjoy the movie!

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