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Fear and Trolling in Las Vegas

This happened last week at the Las Vegas Money Show.

I was sat next to a Youtube troll at the Peter Schiff talk on gold. In case you don’t know Peter Schiff, he’s one of the great ‘Doom and Gloom’ pundits on the U.S. economy. And it was a solid talk. He was in full swing.

“The economy is going down.”

“Here’s the proof.”

“When it happens, the dollar’s value is going to evaporate.” 

“Buy gold,” says Schiff.

Anyway, after an hour or so the talk was over. Schiff had said his bit, and the troll next to me started booing. He held out his camera and a sign with the words ‘Peter Schiff is wrong.’

I sidestepped my way outta there.

I didn’t want to be seen with him.

And it got me thinking…

He must have prepared his sign before listening to Peter Schiff speak. He was never open to new ideas – even from the start. Never willing to listen.

It’s the big problem I often notice when sharing ‘content.’

The way I see it, the vast majority of people are not looking for content. They’re looking for somebody to praise or condemn. Everything is measured against their own narrow view of the world.

As Peter Schiff also says (about Bitcoin’s die hard fanatics): “It’s too late for them, they’ve already drank the Kool-aid.”

In a way, maybe I was the same – only from the other side.

Maybe I just wanted Peter Schiff to make me smile and nod. I’ve listened to his podcast a long time. I know most of his general views. And I hate Las Vegas. It’s everything I despise crammed into one city. Why travel so far just to hear someone validate my own opinions?

If you’re a copywriter, or doing anything that requires empathy, this is something you must keep in check.

It’s an attitude you should fear.

I’ve written campaigns for all sorts of things I don’t agree with, but those always became the jobs I enjoyed most. When you see someone who disagrees with you, it’s an opportunity to see the world from their perspective. To exercise your empathy muscles and step inside their shoes.

If you’re a conservative, watching Fox News makes your empathy muscles weak.

Instead, watch one of the lefty late night shows, like Real Time with Bill Maher. He’ll dish you up a serving from the other side, and he’ll make it fun.

If you’re more liberal, the opposite is true.

Watch Greg Gutfeld, or one of the right-wing pundits.

Every now and again, you might surprise yourself.

You might say, “You know what, he’s right.”

This happens to me all the time and I LOVE it. Because I can feel the emotion behind the message that changed my opinion. It makes me a stronger writer.

It’ll do the same for you.