First off, it is Paris the person–not the city.
Huh? Well for anyone that knows me, I will jump at any opportunity to write about Paris. Madonna, not so much, but she is integral to the point I hope to make. No doubt, you probably snickered or considered clicking away with a mention of Paris and Madonna. Well, this next statement may throw you over the edge. Those two women are brilliant! There, I said it. It is in black and white. That is my story and I am sticking to it. Now I will tell you why.
Perhaps one word that most people use to describe either Paris Hilton or Madonna is “naïve.” I have heard it many times and I can’t disagree more. How many naïve people do you know that have been in the news every single year since 1983? How many naïve people do you know who have a perfume line, clothing line, book deal, and a recording contract? You may not care for either of those entertainers, but can you really call them naïve?
Madonna broke on the scene as a pop star. When her light began to fade, she broke the rules and wrote a sex book. Followed that up with a sex themed concert tour. Took a break, had a kid, and wrote a children’s book. Renewed her music career. And here we are, almost thirty years later and she has never been out of our minds. And no one can deny that she is a success for her naiveté and for breaking some rules .
Paris Hilton came on the scene for, well, being rich and hot. Sometimes that is enough for your start. She had a sex tape (perhaps not orchestrated, but perhaps), a reality show, a record deal, book deal, perfume deal. A stint in jail (and this while Lindsay Lohan preferential treatment really ticks her off) and recently, some brushes with the cops in Las Vegas. Again, like her or not, the woman’s naiveté and her breaking the rules have made her a success.
Cluelessness can be an asset. Let’s bring this back a bit to travel. While we all snicker at Madonna and Paris, how do we perceive Richard Branson? Branson spent much of his life doing things that were entirely clueless. Consider the following:
- He decided (while still at school at 15 years old) to launch a national magazine instead of focusing on his studies–clueless.
- He decided to start a record store when he knew nothing about retail—clueless. He followed it up with other clueless ideas like building a recording studio, a record label, and then international divisions of Virgin Records. All clueless!
- He decided to start an airline, a tremendously complex and risky business that he knew absolutely nothing about. Incredibly clueless.
- He gets kicks out of starting businesses just because the names make him smile–Virgin Bride and Virgin Snow come to mind. Clueless.
- He diversified the Virgin brand into more than 360 companies, without a common element. Clueless.
- His decision to create the world’s first “spaceline” wasn’t just clueless, it was considered downright loony. FYI, they are selling seats now through select Virtuoso agents called Accredited Space Agents at $200K a pop!
The common thread between Paris, Madonna and Richard is that they are willing to take a risk. They will try everything that sounds like fun, work like crazy to make it happen, and know when to walk away if it is just not working. Everyone laughed at all of them. But today, who is having the last laugh?
Sometimes, having a clue is vastly overrated; and naïve does not mean stupid. Being naïve means seeing a larger picture. It is about being courageous enough to ignore conventional wisdom that doesn’t apply to you, doesn’t make you happy, and may not even make you any money.
Being naïve does not mean you are willfully ignorant. There is plenty of room for curiosity, learning, experimentation and observation.
So, now with all things considered, are you naive?