by Scott Bourne
There’s a thing called muscle memory. According to Wikipedia - Muscle memory has been used synonymously with motor learning, which is a form of procedural memory that involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition. When a movement is repeated over time, a long-term muscle memory is created for that task, eventually allowing it to be performed without conscious effort.
This process decreases the need for attention and creates maximum efficiency within the motor and memory systems. Examples of muscle memory are found in many everyday activities that become automatic and improve with practice, such as riding a bicycle, typing on a keyboard, typing in a PIN, playing a melody or phrase on a musical instrument, playing video games, or performing different algorithms for a Rubik's Cube.
I’d argue that there is something similar — I’ll call it “brain memory.” For more than two decades I got up at 4:30 am and started making calls to photo buyers in New York. My strategy was simple. Most of the people doing that job started work between 8:00 and 9:00 am. Most of their receptionists didn’t come in until 9:00 am. If I started calling them at 4:30 am my time (7:30 am their time - west coast v. east coast) then I had a great chance of catching them at their desks. And more importantly I had a GREAT chance of avoiding the gate keeper, i.e., the receptionist.
This strategy paid off for me time and again, and rather handsomely. I got accounts that nobody else did because I was in the habit of starting my calls at 4:30 am every day.
Well old habits die hard - and that’s a good thing. The routine of placing those calls helped me earn a handsome living. And the fact that it BECAME routine is the key. Old habits die hard. So I was on the phone like clockwork.
I’m sharing this story now for two reasons. Now that I’m retired, I can’t sleep past 4:30 am :) That’s proof that old habits die hard. The second reason is that I want to suggest to you that marketing can be something for which you develop a sort of “muscle memory.” Most of you who make photographs every day already have a muscle memory relating to your gear.
Now I want you to develop a muscle memory (a brain memory if you will) that compels you to devote a certain amount of each and every business day to marketing. I suggest starting early, but that’s just me.
As always, Skip and I are rooting for you.