In screenwriting there’s a term for when the hero pauses mid-dialogue, and reverses his opinion or direction. A screenwriter signifies this with one simple word: (beat).
Beat | Definition:
In the context of a screenplay, it usually represents a pause in dialogue. In the context of the timing of a film, a beat refers to an event, decision, or discovery that alters the way the protagonist pursues his or her goal. (Source: Wikipedia…I know…don’t tell my old professors…)
From the above definition, there are two fundamental elements to a (beat):
1) PAUSE: The character temporarily stops the direction they were heading.
2) REVERSAL: The character alters the direction in an opposite course.
This Black Friday, I think we need a (beat) when it comes to consumerism.
As I’m sure you’ve seen, REI is halting all operations this Black Friday and encouraging people to go outside. For a retailer, closing on Black Friday takes the resolve of Tiananmen Square’s “tank-man.” It represents millions of dollars they're leaving on the table.
I think it is our job to complete the (beat) and reverse the trend.
How? This Black Friday let's not just abstain from consumerism - let's free ourselves from some of our possessions. On a day characterized by the lie “more stuff will make you happy” let’s embrace the truth that “less stuff will make you free.”
I recommend you start with your clothes. 4 easy tips on how to do it:
(The example here comes from my website: cladwell.com - but you can do this exercise with any of your possessions.)
Pull out all your clothes and shoes, take hanging clothes off the rack and lay everything on the bed.
Separate your items into two piles:
Pile 1 — items you love & wear all the time.
Pile 2 — everything else.
Look through Pile 1 and note themes about the clothes that you love — colors, styles, fits, patterns, etc.
Move Pile 2 out of sight. Remove seasonal items from Pile 1 and place them in a designated spot for future use.
That’s it! Once you're done, go enjoy the things that matter most: beauty, connecting with others, and meaningful work.
Reversing The Trend
Someday we’ll see Black Friday as a time where we celebrate our freedom from consumerism. You know, there were no parades on the first Pearl Harbor Day. In fact, that day inflicted damage and fear in a way that rattled the whole nation. Today, Pearl Harbor Day is a day of parades, appreciation of our military, and celebration of our freedom.
Isn’t it time we do the same with Black Friday? Let’s take a day of empty promises of consumerism, and transform it into a day that celebrates what gives us true happiness.
Let’s pause, and reverse the trend this Black Friday.
Together, let’s (beat) consumerism.