Don Draper Discipline

Mad Men is undoubtedly one of the best shows ever to hit television.   It’s well beyond most of the shows being produced today, and quite frankly it surprises me that such an intelligent show has such a wide audience.   And there is no doubt that Don Draper is one of the coolest guys to ever grace the small screen.   But what makes Don so damn cool?

Being a marketing consultant, I take some pleasure in watching the show from a business perspective.   The scene with the airline meeting was all too familiar.   I have been in those meetings where you have the deal lined up, and then your point of contact leaves the company, and you’re now a legacy vendor, or worse, a legacy near-vendor.   All you can do is smile and put your best foot forward, knowing you’re not getting this deal.

I started to think about the traits I may have in common with the people in the show.   I would love to think I’m just like Don Draper (played to perfection by Jon Hamm), but the truth be told, I’m not even close.

There are some things we have in common.   I too can get passionate about what I do, and on occasion, with the right client, get them pretty jazzed up about their marketing campaign.   Hell, if you can’t get them jazzed up, you are not the guy to market their product.   And of course we are both ruggedly handsome, with our Rock Hudson like good looks.   (everyone who knows me should stop laughing at that).

But where Don Draper and I separate is on an issue I really need a better grip on.   Draper is much more disciplined than I have ever been.   He has mastered the art of always being cool, no matter what the situation.   If Don Draper woke up with his bed on fire, he would walk to the bathroom to retrieve water with the same urgency and facial expression as if he had to pee.   If Don Draper won the lottery, he would smile about as wide as if he had found a good parking space.   Simply put, Don Draper is rock steady at all times.   He shows just enough emotion to not be confused with a mannequin.

And of course there is the ladies.  Just about every other episode could be titled, “Don Draper Gets Laid”.  Beyond the chain smoking and alcoholism, what makes Don Draper so damn cool?

Truth be told, when it comes to my personal life, I’m much more of a Roger Sterling (played equally well by John Slattery), and I may have a little Bert Cooper in there as well.   And I’m semi-okay with that.   Sterling and Cooper crack me up.   I have that flakey side like Cooper, and it just may be my life’s ambition to die in the arms of my 20 year old girlfriend, at least that’s the accusation from my current girlfriend.

But I do wish I had more Don Draper discipline.   I talk too much, and my emotions are far to manic.   I need to take things more in stride, and not get too high or low on issues that in the end don’t mean all that much.   So for the next month, I’m going to try being more Don Draper like.   It will have to start after this post, because there is no way Don Draper would ever admit to this level of weakness.


  1. I love Mad Men. The whole cast does such a wonderful job that it is hard to think of these people in modern day. Betty, Joan, Roger and Don all seem to have been plucked right out of 1962. Quite frankly, if you really want to be a success… find yourself a Joan. She is the office manager who is on top of everything.

  2. Don Draper is cool because he chews on his failures and hides them away from the outside world. If you think about it clearly, being so cool automaticly means that you are unhappy as well.

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