The Eternal Pursuit of Unhappiness

11:12:00 PM


I had enough time this morning to keep my lazy ass under an incredibly soft comforter while thumbing through this tiny red book by Ogilvy & Mather. I snitched it from the office the other day haha - it's Emarrah's, but she quit before I did and left it at her old station. (I'll give it back, promise!)

The Eternal Pursuit of Unhappiness shares and expands ad legend David Ogilvy's philosophy of "divine discontent". In the simplest sense, that means good enough ain't enough. And in the short distance I've walked so far, I've already proven this to be true. "Good enough" never wins any pitch. Smugness is a creative's demise.

The handbook reveals eight good habits of highly creative communities: Courage, Idealism, Curiosity, Playfulness, Candor, Intuition, Free-Spiritedness and Persistence. These virtues are presented in bite-sized pieces for busy souls to easily digest. I tried to decide which, for me, is most important to have and realized that in this business of ideas, one can do well practicing all.

It takes courage to step out of complacency - "the comfort zone". It takes idealism to create something big. Curiosity leads to discovery. Playfulness cultivates creativity. You can't solve a problem if you keep avoiding the truth. Some of the best ideas come out of intuition, rather than the conscious mind. To be free-spirited means to not be "servants of the system". And persistence will lead to better ideas, if not the best damn one.

My favorite part of the book is found in the prologue, which carries a few lines of interpretation for "divine discontent":
"Don't bow your head.
Don't know your place.
Defy the gods.
Don't sit back.
Don't give in.
Don't give up.
Don't win silvers.
Don't be so easily happy with yourself.
Don't be spineless.
Don't be gutless.
Don't be toadies.
Don't be Gollum.
Don't go gentle into that good night."
I am a big believer of the "stay hungry" mantra. That is, ironically, the key to survival in this industry. Of course, it doesn't mean starve yourself. Feed it but don't store energy, sweat it out.

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CS Lewis

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