Get Busy Living, or Get Busy Dying. Or at Least Get Out of Your Pajamas.

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After nearly eight years of running my own small marketing consultancy out of my home office, I finally understand why putting Andy Dufresne in solitary confinement for two months in The Shawshank Redemption led him to tell his friend Red, “I guess it comes down to a simple choice: Get busy living, or get busy dying.”

I haven’t tried burrowing a hole out of my office through the garage to get to daylight, but then again, I have a front door that gets me outside a lot easier. The important thing is to remember to actually use that door. A lot.

Have there been days when I’m still in my pajamas at lunchtime, having seen neither human hide nor hair? Sure, but only in the winter, and never when I don’t have coffee in the house.

You can tell me the key to a successful business is fearlessly and ruthlessly networking, or creating a great social media presence, or learning new skills and adding to your resume, but I’m telling you right now that your business will live or die based on one indisputable unarguable thing: Face time. How often you physically get outside, plant your kisser in front of someone else’s, lock eyes, and engage in the age old art of conversation and connection.

Plant your kisser in front of someone else’s and engage in conversation and connection. Click To Tweet

It is, in the words of Andy Dufresne, the difference between your business living and dying. If you put yourself in solitary confinement, I can guarantee you, it won’t end well.

If you’re thinking to yourself, “This doesn’t apply to me, I’d never voluntarily shut myself in a dark windowless room where I’d have to pee in a little ceramic bowl and never get to read a magazine, let alone watch Netflix,” think again. Solitary confinement can take different forms.

Do you find yourself constantly working on projects that don’t challenge you enough? Working with the same clients over and over without reaching out to potential new ones? Hanging out in the same coffee shops with the same people? Eating the same salad (no croutons, dressing on the side)?

Those are all different versions of the same thing when it comes to maintaining a thriving business (and an active, creative mind).

At Twist, our guiding principle is to caffeinate liberally and sit across from anyone who’s willing to share a good story, joke, infographic, article, or a qualitatively or quantitatively fueled tidbit of information that could spark a good conversation or a big smile, which usually leads to enlightenment and opportunities, and if nothing else, a not-too-hot cortado or a not-too-healthy salad. Nothing bad can come from feeding each other with food and possibilities.

If you’re feeling the least bit confined, get out of your pajamas, whether they’re literal or theoretical. Don’t get stuck in a same-old same-old hole. Start living. And thriving.


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Who wrote this masterpiece?

Danny Schuman


Danny Schuman is the President and Head Twister at Chicago-based brand marketing consultancy Twist. You can find him at here and @twisturthinking. Michael Jordan once called him “peanut-butter-jelly-boy,” but that’s a story for another time. He’s finished his first book The Worst Business Model in the World and is looking for a daring and brilliant publisher to help him bring it to life.