09/23/2014 10:18 am ET Updated Nov 23, 2014

We're All Marketers: Living On Hope

Each year is filled with beginnings.

It's not simply the first of the year when we hope for change.

It happens in the spring, when the gray of winter softens into green. It happens at the end of May, when the prospect of summer leads us to dream of repose. It happens again at the beginning of September, when autumn brings new theater, film, books, music and we seek to get out of ourselves through entertainment. And it happens again in December, when the holidays promise festivity and family (even though the promise is often more enjoyable than the actuality).

We live, then, in a state of constant expectation throughout the year.

We're always looking ahead to something we don't yet have, or anticipating an event that we haven't yet experienced, or looking forward to a movie or show we've yet to know much about or enjoying a visit with a person we haven't seen in a while.

We rarely stay in the actual moment of any actual day at any actual time during the 12 months of a year.

We sometimes look back -- the endless end-of-December yearly wrap-ups of the preceding year -- but we more than not peer into a future we cannot really experience until it arrives. And by then we're no longer in that future moment but looking ahead toward another imminent event and then another.

It's as if we've accustomed ourselves to being marketers and being marketed to. We always want what we don't have, and are lured by the promise of something just over the temporal horizon.

Advertising and marketing thrive on whetting our appetites for anticipated sensations. I'm a book marketer, and I'm guilty of that. I hope that the work of my clients delivers what it promises, of course.

But in order to get readers for that work, it's important to promise something: a better system, a new method, a way of doing better.

Because we can't sell anything that promises that things will stay the same. We tell ourselves we need to change, and we live in hope that we can and will change. Even if we spend our time hoping for changing rather than actually changing.

But that's human nature, isn't it? We live in hope and exist in vague disappointment. Which is why we always live in hope: there's always something better just beyond our reach.