Avoiding “Annie Hall Syndrome”

I may not have captivated everyone with that subject line…I am well aware that many members of my online family aren’t aware of too much that happened before the Internet…and this reference goes back even further to the 1970’s.

But please stick with me.

Annie Hall is the movie that won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1977, and it is Woody Allen’s most acclaimed film.

I know…the same folks who were not captivated by the subject line are now asking:

“Who is Woody Allen?”

Suffice it to say it is a movie worth checking out if you have never seen it.

And whether you ever get to see the film or not, I would like to tell you about something I call a “syndrome” that I came up with inspired by Annie Hall.

I believe this syndrome can derail your emotional health and your career…and it is something that you can easily avoid with a simple shift in your mindset.

The trap begins when you think you have “learned enough” or that you have all the knowledge you need right now to go forward and achieve maximum success.

Here’s how the syndrome played out in Annie Hall:

Woody Allen’s character in the film is that of New York intellectual Alvy Singer…and Diane Keaton plays his flighty, naïve and a bit unsophisticated “la-di-da” girlfriend, Annie Hall. (Those who have seen the film know about that phrase).

Annie’s exposure to modern culture is virtually non-existent when she arrives in New York and meets Alvy– and then begins both a romantic and also a student-teacher relationship with him.

As their relationship develops, Alvy exposes Annie to classic books and authors she never heard of, cultural endeavors she has never experienced before, and inspiring films she has never seen.

There’s a scene early on when he takes her to see The Sorrow and the Pity, a four hour documentary about World War II which they discuss and debate…something that would have been impossible before Annie met Alvy.

And the relationship goes deeper from there…as Annie’s eyes are opened to a world she never would have thought imaginable…learning about so many things she didn’t know she didn’t know.

Without giving away all that happens in the rest of Annie Hall, at the end of the film when Alvy and Annie are no longer together, Alvy goes to see The Sorrow and the Pity by himself…and to his surprise, Annie is there, dragging her new boyfriend to see the film with her.

And the concept (and possible syndrome) is this:

Never underestimate what you have learned, are currently learning, and can still learn from those who are your mentors and teachers.

Or put more simply:

The day you stop learning is the day you can probably hang it up for good.

Now in the film, Annie left Alvy for a host of reasons…but I like to focus on this aspect, where the student becomes the teacher.

Obviously there is nothing bad about the student branching out and expanding…however, it’s when the student thinks they no longer need the teacher at all where the trouble starts.

Or at least recognizing the contributions of the teacher…forever.

I’ve seen this syndrome ruin many promising careers over my 35+ years in marketing.

So many people flounder later in their careers simply because they get to a point where they think they no longer need to learn new things– or continue to grow–because they had all that they needed…or so they thought.

I maintain that you will never have all the knowledge you need until the day you die…and it is the hunger to always learn more and continue to strive to be the world’s best at all you do that will fuel you.

Being a student for life will keep you passionate and enthusiastic about all of the things that jazz you the most in your life.

Case in point:

I am a member of 6 different mastermind groups…some cost me a lot of money to be a member, some have no direct costs involved…but all of them are a huge investment of time and effort.

That is, I approach all 6 groups with 100% focus and always play full out in each one of them as both a giver and recipient of knowledge and advice; and whether I pay for the mastermind or not is irrelevant.

The big mistake I see all the time: Assessing the effectiveness of your memberships or associations in groups simply on “how much money you made,” or “deals you made” with other members—or “what you got or didn’t get,” sometimes at the expense of the learning and sharing.

This is prevalent in high end mastermind groups where people pay a lot of money to join…and also in one-on-one relationships when no one pays a dime…and I use Annie Hall as a symbol for that.

And this is not a sales pitch to use for anyone with a mastermind group…but it is a sales pitch to avoid jumping to conclusions regarding the notion that “I’ve got what I need from this relationship and I can move on now.”

Of course you could be ready to move on from certain relationships…but I implore you to not jump too soon.

Life is always about playing the long game.

I’m not the first one to say this (or believe this) but it is worth repeating:

The best teachers are also lifelong students.

And the best students never jump ship too soon from their teachers and mentors.

Warmly,

Brian

P.S. I have never met anyone in my life who epitomized this hunger for learning than Eugene Schwartz…one of the greatest copywriters and marketers who has ever lived.

And he was one of the greatest at those things because he approached everything in his life, not just copywriting and marketing, as a student.

If you missed my post about this incredible Renaissance Man, please read, “Genius…Passion…and Building Larger Mice.”

And, if you have not yet bought a copy of Gene’s masterpiece, Breakthrough Advertising, you are missing out on owning what will be the most important book in your library…guaranteed.

It’s way more than a book about copywriting and marketing.

Used copies are selling for a minimum of around $200 and new copies are selling for $500+ on Amazon… but you can purchase it exclusively from me, a brand new hardcover edition, with additional material added from Gene Schwartz’s greatest promotions and ads, for a lot less.

Go to:

www.BreakthroughAdvertisingBook.com

It’s one of very few books that by itself, if you read it regularly, will eliminate “Annie Hall syndrome” sneaking in to your life–at least when it comes to copywriting, marketing and the study of human behavior.

And it will encourage you to yearn for more…

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