As each new day begins in most bustling cities across the globe, you’ll find a familiar pattern of repetition emerging, people will get up and go to work, children will go to school, shops and markets will open and close. All the regular day to day things that we expect and need to happen to carry out our daily lives. But just beneath that familiar veneer lies a darker world that many of us choose not to see as we go about our days.
I’m talking of course, about the people on our streets.
There were once two beggars, they both existed on the same intersection, but on diagonally opposite corners. The first of the men sat on the corner, looking disheveled, dressed in ragged clothes and with an old threadbare blanket covering his legs. He barely moved, begging courteously for anything he could get, he always tried to give a smile to those that helped him. On the opposite corner, the other beggar would beg in the morning, then go and use his takings to buy cheap and flashy goods that he could resell in the afternoon to the kids and impatient parents, as they were trying to herd their wards home after school.
Of the two you would think at first glace that the second of our beggars would be the more inspirational, the one trying to work himself to something better, the one you would want to help. But at the end of each day that beggar walks away from his corner, with his pockets full of cash, and is seen walking straight to the nearby multi-storey car park, where he shucks his beggars uniform, before getting into his car to drive home with his days earnings.
Our first beggar stays till the streets become dark, till there are barely any people around before he pulls away his blanket and struggles to his foot, the only one he has left, the other left in some distant sandy desert or forest, lost while protecting the freedoms and privileges we take for granted. He limps, sometimes drags himself to the nearby shelter for a meal, and if he is lucky a warm bed for the night, failing that it is to a nearby park for a not uncommon bed under the stars. He barely remembers his life before, his command of platoons of soldiers of a team that lived and breathed for each other, they are all gone now. He catches glimpses of them in his dreams sometimes, he thinks he sees them on the streets as he’s begging for enough for a cup of coffee. But then those comrades disappear again, before he can even recall their names.
At first glance two characters can seem much the same, but just by digging a little deeper you can find a completely different story. Which would you rather have helped now? The beggar who is just making extra money for himself but actually has a home, or the war veteran who has been forgotten?
This is a true story and the same is true in our businesses, often we will just see what’s on the surface, in our Internet Marketing campaigns we want to get everything across in that first glance. But people are evolving, and they are starting to look deeper, and the internet too is evolving, before a few keywords and some flashy graphics were all it took, but now the substance has to be in the content as well.
Don’t judge a book by its cover and don’t think others won’t eventually see what’s under yours.