Last night Nerissa and I watched the movie, The Rookie. We loved it. It's the inspiring true story of an older man who gets a chance to pursue his dream of playing major league baseball. It's a great movie.
The ads for the movie all say it's about going for your dreams. They're right. The movie certainly nudges you in that direction. But that's not all the movie has to offer.
Every movie—every book, play, article, sales pitch, or anything else that might be called a story—has what I call a turning point message. You can call it a TPM, for the sake of sounding cool.
A TPM is usually one line that causes the story to almost completely turn around. It might seem like the motto of the movie. Or the main message of the story. Or even just a mental stumper to get you to think. It will often feel like the philosophical foundation for the entire story.
A TPM is the central message of the story that causes the lead character to rethink what he or she is doing, or even to cause you, the witness to the story, to rethink what you are doing.
It's usually given at the point of dramatic transformation, when the entire plot changes or the main character changes.
Last night, while watching The Rookie, we heard the TPM two-thirds of the way through the story. The main character has a chance to pursue his dream of playing baseball again. He's troubled. He doesn't know what to do. Does he leave his family and his job and go on the road playing ball again? He goes to his father, whom he has a strained relationship with, to get advice. That's when you hear the TPM.
The character's father says, "It's fine to do what you want to do, but sooner or later you have to do what you were meant to do."
There it is. It's the turning point in the movie. It's the line that makes the character angry at first. And it's the line that stayed with Nerissa and me long after the movie had ended. We even talked about it over breakfast this morning.
Take the movie Good Will Hunting, another one of my all-time favorite films. The TPM in it occurs when the troubled youth hears his counselor repeatedly tell him, "It's not your fault—It's not your fault—It's not your fault."
Without a TPM, a story lacks heart. Your story might have character, conflict, and even humor. But without the TPM, it lacks a core that will make it unforgettable.
Let's say you are creating a story about how someone used your product or service and made a difference in their lives. Any story will do. You might even tell about your own experience with your product or service.
But add a TPM and your story will plant itself in your reader's or listener's mind and virtually never disappear.
Take this very chapter. It, too, is a story. I told you about watching the movie, The Rookie. I told you about watching Good Will Hunting, too. And I told you I believe all truly Hypnotic Selling Stories have a TPM in them.
Well, what's the TPM in what I've said here? Think about it for a second.
I think it is when I said, "Your story might have character, conflict, and even humor. But without the TPM, it lacks a core that will
Your Turning Point Message make it unforgettable." That, to me, is the turning point message in this very chapter.
I'm telling you about the need for a TPM to help you create hypnotic stories that sell people. How do you create a TPM?
You don't. You let them evolve from the telling of your story. The trick is to *let* them evolve. Don't try to control them. When you do, you kill them.
In other words, don't be too ruthless in how you edit your stories. It's tempting to take out all of the lines that I said are TPMs. But if I had, the essence of this chapter would be gone. Think about that before going to the next chapter.
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