The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


Why Ignorance Is Bloody Beautiful Bliss …
February 26, 2014, 6:14 am
Filed under: Comment

One of the things I love about my job is the opportunity to continually do something that can fundamentally – and positively – impact culture and commerce.

Of course, it doesn’t happen every time – or even much of the time – but every time I talk to a client or get a brief from a client, I get excited about what we could end up doing.

What we could end up creating.

What we could end up changing.

In some ways it’s a curse, because I get stupidly excited about stuff only to end up being slightly disappointed when we end up doing something that – while great – is a shadow of what I thought we could have done together.

And it’s all my own fault.

Because somewhere along the line, I’ve failed to explain why the bigger opportunity is better … how it can drive commerce, culture and creativity … how it would be an investment in their future, rather than just their present.

But despite that … despite more failures than successes … despite putting too much of my energy into things that are probably best left alone … I always begin every project as if all the shit of the past never happened and end up getting stupidly excited and enthusiastic about the possibilities and potential of where every single brief could take us.

I should point out, this does not mean I ignore the clients needs and wants, it’s just that I want us to respond in ways that are bigger and better than they ever expected or imagined. Than we ever expected or imagined.

Sure, that sometimes means we will have to go back and ask them to invest huge amounts of time and money into something they originally thought was going to be a ‘quick fix’, but even when we do that, we always [1] have a business case for it and [2] offer something that solves their immediate problem … because we know that if you don’t do that, then you’re become a hinderance to their business, not a help.

But as I said, more often than not, I fail to get them to buy the bigger plan – or at least how we hoped they’d embrace it – and as I said, I take responsibility for that, because getting them to dream bigger is part of my job and while I continually try to learn and adapt from the situations I’ve experienced in the past – both good and bad – the reality is my enthusiasm for what ‘could be’ always trumps the reality of what ‘probably will be’ and despite that often ending up being frustrating as hell, I like that I’m like that, I like it a lot.

I know I once started a company called cynic, but I’ve always been of the belief naivety, mischief, optimism and ambition are good traits to have – at least at the beginning of the journey – because they help you get past the past and see way beyond the short-term deliverables and obstacles. Sure, along the way you will have to embrace objectivity, context and countless other issues – and that may require you to rethink or readjust your original plan – but going into everything with the ignorant belief that this could be the project the client buys that ends up changing the rules for everyone and everything forever is hugely important … if only because enthusiasm is infectious and your excitement can influence and encourage colleagues and clients to go on a journey that ends up taking them to a place that’s much bigger and further than they would ever have otherwise achieved.

Yes, it helps if along the way you have the occasional ridiculously amazing ‘win’ – which I am very fortunate to have had, which is probably why I’m so happy to stay stupid – but the reality is, if you don’t aim high, then how the hell do you think you’re ever going to get off the ground?

Of course it’s hugely important to remember no one is going to buy enthusiasm if you don’t do the due-diligence to make it logical, acceptable and buyable – both for their current needs and their future ambitions – however whereas many people start each brief looking for – and at – the realities and mandatories, I believe this is the exact moment where you have to throw off the fear and blindly believe in the improbable, implausible and impossible because as my smart friend George once put it:

“Nothing great happens if you follow the rules”.


38 Comments so far
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This is a great post Rob, with really great advice. I was always amazed how you could be so enthusiastic about opportunities, even when no one else could see them. You may say you have not got clients to do as much as you hoped, but you have achieved a lot more than most and I include companies in that comparison, not just people. This is a really valuable post and reminds me why I enjoyed working with you so much.

Comment by Pete

He still won’t leave you anything in his will.

Comment by DH

for fucks sake, get a room and put yourselves out of your gay planner fucking misery.

Comment by andy@cynic

Thanks Pete. If I say anymore, I’ll look a smug git … but then I have the other comments to bring me down to earth, and I haven’t even read any of them yet.

Comment by Rob

“Of course it’s hugely important to remember no one is going to buy enthusiasm if you don’t do the due-diligence to make it logical, acceptable and buyable – both for their current needs and their future ambitions – however whereas many people start each brief looking for – and at – the realities and mandatories, I believe this is the exact moment where you have to throw off the fear and blindly believe in the improbable, implausible and impossible”.

Wonderful.

Comment by Pete

I like that you ignored the last sentence of that quote. The bit George said. You know, George, your boss. That’s a career limiting move if I ever saw one.

Comment by DH

I need to bookmark this post for review time.

Comment by George

For a cynical, grumpy, atheist who is paid to make reduce the noise down to its beating essence, you do a great job of being completely the opposite.

Comment by DH

he has mastered the art of being fucking contrary in everything. he likely breathes in a way that fucks off the lungs.

Comment by andy@cynic

“Scratch a cynic and you’ll find a disappointed optimist.” wise words from another George.

Comment by John

the better george.

Comment by andy@cynic

Idealist not optimist – can’t believe I got my favourite quote wrong.

Comment by John

I can.

Comment by DH

John. How could you make such a mistake?

Comment by George

if ignorance is bliss you make the happiest place on fucking earth look like a warzone. if this post was 95% shorter, i might like it. its not, but at least youre not talking about birkenstocks, queen or your best friends donkey cock.

Comment by andy@cynic

and i agree with you, everything that didnt happen was your fault. just like its your fault youve not got nike to make a car yet. loser.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’m not sure, but are you complimenting this post … even 5%?

Comment by Rob

Forgive me for saying this Robert, but this is your best post in quite a while. I enjoy reading about your humour and mischief, but these posts leave me thinking and questioning my own approach to my work. This is a good thing. More like this please.

Comment by Lee Hill

Just so you know Rob, Lee is saying all your other posts are shit. He’s being too generous to you as usual.

Comment by DH

Thanks for helping me read between the lines Dave. Thanks a lot.

Comment by Rob

Always trying to please.

Comment by DH

I don’t know if I was the originator of that quote Robert, but I know I wish I was the originator of this post. It’s excellent for all the reasons Pete and Lee have stated.

Comment by George

Well take the association, it’s better than what it could have been. ie.: The infamous ‘birthday cake’.

Comment by Rob

I like this post a lot. It makes me think about my own approach, and reminds me to aim high and dream big every time (even if one doesn’t get there nearly as often as one would like). “Don’t be afraid; just believe” – Powerful words. I wonder if this is the first time you’re quoting the bible on here?

Comment by fredrik sarnblad

He’s represented hell pretty well.

Comment by Billy Whizz

“Represented”, or would you go so far as to suggest he has defined it?

Comment by fredrik sarnblad

Freddie!!!! Hello lovely, so nice to have you on here, even if you’ve come in and joined in the bashing, ha. We need to catch up, let’s sort it out.

[Note I don’t invite the rest of you!]

Comment by Rob

Wise, you know how you’d take rejection to heart.

Comment by John

Not the first time Fred, but possibly the first time he’s done it from a positive perspective.

https://robcampbell.wordpress.com/2007/04/10/the-meek-shall-not-inherit-the-earth/

Comment by Bazza

Ah…thanks Bazza. I remember that post now. Though I would say that’s a reference rather than a quote.

Comment by fredrik sarnblad

John Dodds would be proud at that pedanticness Freddie.

Comment by Rob

Pedantry. FFS.

Comment by John

I can’t stop laughing.

Comment by fredrik sarnblad

i like it🙂

Comment by sintamailanda1

excellent post. I love that you refuse to moan like most of the other older people in the industry

Comment by northern

i fucking love you called him one of the old people in the industry. thats fucking excellent.

Comment by andy@cynic

Gold.

Comment by DH

Sensational.

Comment by fredrik sarnblad




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