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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

There are many ways you can interpret this blog post.  It is both a story of tenacity, unwillingness to fail and ingenuity.  It is also a story of duplicity.  However you slice it, it is a story of assumptions and how we think and perceive the world around us.


Along the streets of the French Quarter  you see many New Orleans street performers singing, dancing and not moving.  I am most impressed by these people who don't move a muscle, performing as human statues for hours at a time (probably because having  done multiple vipassana courses and gone through 3 sittings each day of Adhitthāna, or "Strong Determination" starting on Day 4 where you site for an hour without changing your posture -- I know how hard this is)..

The Bearded Silver Man

So it is no surprise that I noticed the bearded silver man who was sitting outside Sacks Fifth Avenue on Canal Street one morning.  The next evening while walking down Bourbon Street, I came across the bearded silver man once again, sitting in the middle of the street in the same position -- upgraded with a phallic balloon for the risqué Bourbon Street.  He seemed to be garnering wuite the tips from passers by.

The Truth

A few hours later while walking back to our timeshare I discovered the truth.  This bearded silver man was no man at all but a manikin.  It's owner would prop it on a bike and take it from site to site, posing it and putting a bucket labeled "tips" behind it.
I spoke with the manikin's owner before he rode off and he told me that he has been carting the manikin around for quite some time since he lost his job.  He said, "I make thirty to fifty thousand dollars a year -- all tax free."

What does this have to do with Business Coaching / Life Coaching?

Lots.  First there is a piece about  not taking unemployment lying down.  This guy and his manikin concept reflects definitely out-of-the-box thinking.  No marketing costs, no advertising, no employees, no MLMs, no credit card processing fees.  Just move the manikin every few hours and collect the money.
Second there is a piece about how we perceive and interact with the world around us.  The manikin routine is dependent on two factors:  people have to believe it is really a person sitting there.  Because of the street performers in New Orleans, it is easy to believe it is a person sitting there.  Then the more you start to think, "No way can this really be a person sitting there so still for so long," the more you are likely to either reward the manikin or go up and touch it to see if it is a real person.  But how likely are you to do the latter?