Make it count
Nike have a new ad campaign for 2012, the year of the London Olympics.
They’ve moved on from their slogan of ‘Just Do It’ to ‘Make it Count’.
I love that.
As creative people we’re often told to just do something: just write, just paint, just start moulding that piece of clay. Start moving and you’ll at least get somewhere.
Sometimes that can be really good advice. Sometimes the only way to figure out what it is you want to write, to paint or to sculpt is to try something and discover that wasn’t it.
But it’s easy to get sucked into always doing that, and to accepting the results of your creative attempt no matter what they come out like.
I don’t think that’s good enough.
I’m utterly convinced that one of the key reasons that the English are notoriously bad at sports is because we don’t really think it matters that much. I heard an interview with a rugby captain one time after a crashing defeat – his team had been completely annihilated in every match in the tournament, and his comment to the sports reporter was “Well, we’re injury free…”
It was hard to miss the pictures of Novak Djokovic after he won the Australian Open recently; they were all over the papers. Every muscle in his body proclaimed ‘I just did something that matters’ – and you can be sure that Nadal didn’t go away shrugging and saying ‘Well, at least he didn’t hurt me’!
Just showing up, just doing something isn’t good enough for them. They are champions because they refuse to just have a go. They insist on giving their all every day, and if they lose, they go back out and give it their all again the next day. Just as they do if they win.
Creative people should not – must not – be satisfied with just having a go. Yes, you need to flex the muscles and warm up and practice, but there has to come a time when you create something that matters.
If you’ve got a creative gift, cherish it, nurture it, develop it. You can speak to the world in a way no-one else can. You can grab people by the heart and not let them go until their heart has won over their mind. You can communicate messages that matter right into the core of people’s emotions where they can bring joy and healing, hope and courage, life and light. You have an amazing power at your fingertips. Don’t just use it; make it count.