VOICES: Musings On America’s Obsession With Winning
Posted by Tom Ritchie on April 13th, 2011
Luke Sullivan is an award winning Copywriter and Creative Director at GSDM in Austin, TX. Luke is also the author of the best selling book “Hey Whipple, Squeeze This”, a book found on the desk’s of creatives around the world. His contributions to the world of advertising are immeasurable. Articles posted on Ad Buzz are republished from Luke’s blog, Hey Whipple with his prior consent.
Musings On America’s Obsession With Winning.
by Luke Sulivan
Apr 12th, 2011 by heywhipple
SUBTITLE: “OH GOD! WHAT IF I DON’T GET INTO GOODBY??”
Having been around the ad schools over the years, I’ve overheard conversations in the hallways and the computer labs.
“Dude! You know Bill? Yeah, he got into Goodby and I didn’t even get an email back from them. God, I suck.”
People, here’s the thing.
You probably don’t suck. It’s just that you’ve been raised in a culture that places a lot of emphasis on winning. “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” “Winners never quit…” and all the others.
Fact is, America has been obsessed with winning ever since we won first place in WW II. We copped a silver in the ’50s space race (damn Sputnik), but we came back and nailed the gold with Apollo 11. Ever since then, we’ve been all, “Who even remembers the second man on the moon?”
It seems we’ve left the grading system and become a pass-fail society; in fact, more like Winners/Failures.
“What? You didn’t get into Harvard? Just Notre Dame? Duuuude.”
“What?? You didn’t win the Super Bowl, just the AFL title? Ouch.”
So, students. Repeat after me:
“I did not get a job offer at Goodby.
But I did get a job offer from (say) Shelby & Hammerstein in Chicago.
And they want to pay me for my ideas.
I am not stocking Bic pens on the shelves of Wal-Mart.
I have landed my first job in a creative industry.
From here, I can probably go anywhere.
Because I have a career now.
It has begun.”
So let us bless our friends who’ve landed jobs at the high-profile agencies. (The jobs come with some extra stress. Sure you want that?)
Let us be kind to ourselves and become “recovering perfectionists.”
Let us leave winning to Charlie Sheen.