How to be The Shiny Needle in a 60-billion-Needle Haystack

When I was a sixth-grader at Conway School in St. Louis, MO, my teacher, Don Moyle, issued the Chalk Mark Challenge:

During recess period, grab a piece of chalk, make marks on the board (in sets of five), and stop when you’ve made one million marks. You can spread the effort over multiple recess periods.

Anyone who completes the challenge will win an ice cream sundae from Baskin-Robbins!

“Raise your hand if you want to take on the challenge,” Mr. Moyle said. Ten hands shot up, including mine.

“Easy-peasy,” I thought. I could already taste that sundae.

When recess period started, I grabbed the chalk and began to make the marks.

For the first minute, I was flying. 110 marks in a minute. But my pace quickly slowed. After five minutes, I averaged 90 marks per minute. After 15 minutes, I averaged 75 marks per minute.

I could hear my classmates outside the window, playing kickball on the blacktop, laughing, having fun.

I began to do the math. I’d made 1,800 marks in 20 minutes. At that pace, I’d have 2,700 marks by the time the 30-minute recess ended (and that assumed I could keep up the pace — which I couldn’t).

2,700 marks per day. That meant I would need 370 recess periods to make one million marks on the board.

I dropped the chalk and announced to Mr. Moyle, “I quit!”

Lesson learned:

One million is a BIG number (far bigger than I imagined)

In his book “Hook Point,” Brendan Kane says there are “more than 60,000,000,000 messages sent out on digital platforms each day.”

That’s 60 BILLION (six-thousand-millions).

You know how many recess periods it would take to make 60,000,000 marks on a chalk board? 2.2 million recess periods!

No more kick-ball for you!

The real question is not “can you make that many marks on a chalk board?” (you can’t).

The real question is:

How can your messages stand out among the 60 billion others?

That’s one of many big questions Brendan Kane answers in his book. We’ll discuss that today when the Mastermind Book Club meets.

Every month, Ted Prodromou and I pick a great business book for Club members to read and discuss.

On the fourth Thursday of the month (today, June 27), we meet live on Zoom to compare notes and discuss how we can apply the book’s lessons in our businesses.

You don’t have to read the book to participate and benefit.

You just have to join the Club. Club members receive email notes with the Zoom link before the meeting.



Don't go away yet..

p.s. Coaches, authors, and consultants hire me to power-up their creative content and storytelling to captivate prospects, stand-out and book more business.

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Tom Ruwitch

Tom Ruwitch is the founder and CEO of Story Power Marketing. For more than 30 years, he has helped businesses grow by delivering powerful stories using a variety of different media.