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


The Importance Of Dreaming Bigger.
July 12, 2011, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

So a couple of weeks ago I held – what I call – a pizza–dinner party with a bunch of my colleagues.

What that translates to is that I bought some pizza and booze and invited some guys from different departments in the agency to ‘have a chat’.

The things I’ll do to be liked eh!

OK, that’s not why I did it – which is handy, because let’s face it, if I did, we all know it wouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference – however while we were chatting, I asked them all what the highest job title they would like to attain in their career.

There were 2 things that I found especially interesting.

1/ Quite a few of the guys said “Founder” … which indicates their desire to one day start their own company, something I’d recommend to anyone.

2/ One person gave a title that – in all honesty – would be no stretch for them to achieve within a few years at all.

This second point fascinated me.

Here was a person who is very smart … conscientious … diligent … eager to learn … and yet they were aspiring to a job and title that they could probably achieve in a few years without any additional effort whatsoever.

It didn’t make sense.

However, with a bit of probing, I realised this ‘goal’ wasn’t because I’d completely misread them or they were lacking in ambition and drive, it was because of uber-practicality and a total lack of awareness of just how good they could be.

In some ways it was quite refreshing – especially when I meet so many people who seem to have a ridiculously out of proportion evaluation of their own capabilities and brilliance – however their answer bothered me, because whilst I have no right to dictate what a person should – or shouldn’t – be aspiring to, I didn’t want them to set their goals so low simply because they failed to grasp how good they could be.

I remember a few years ago being in a similar situation with another colleague.

They mentioned to me that they’d be interested in one day working overseas.

When I asked where they’d like to go … rather than giving me a place, they responded with, “You mean I have a choice?”

Sure in both cases they were young and relatively new to both the working life and the advertising industry … but also, in both cases, they were/are fiercely bright and passionate about doing things that interested them and had real meaning which is why I hope they end up in a far more interesting, exciting and challenging place than they originally thought they were capable of reaching.

But here’s the thing, they needed to hear it.

They needed to know they were clever and capable of taking control of their own destiny … not in terms of moving higher up the advertising ladder, but in terms of wherever they ended up wanting to go … even if that ambition keeps evolving or changing.

This isn’t about being Paula Abdul and giving false hope or copious amounts of overpraise to all and sundry … it’s about letting people you feel have something special, understand that with hard work, good guidance and a bit of luck, you believe they could end up wherever they want to be – even places they never thought about.

I’ve written previously how I’d received this sort of support from both my parents and people I genuinely looked [and look] up to, so I can tell you first hand how much of a difference it can make [especially given a careers advice officer once said I should focus on a career in catering management!] so next time you spot someone who you think has that special something – especially if they don’t realise it themselves – make sure you tell them they have the right to dream bigger because you just might just find you can make more of a difference to how their life turns out than you could ever imagine.


68 Comments

Your therapist had heard this all before.

And I bet you got them talking so that you could eat all the pizza.

That said, you make a good point. Arguably the best thing education/parenting can give you is a sense of entitlement – or more pleasantly a realisation that those who exude entitlement aren’t actually any better than you – they just think they are. And that’s a powerful leg-up.

Comment by john

Your comment makes you sound like that supernanny bird. With some paula abdul thrown in.

Comment by Billy Whizz

thats fucking disturbing because you once told me you wanted to be spanked by the female terminator kiddy teacher.

run doddsy. run fucking now.

Comment by andy@cynic

You are a deeply troubled soul Billy.

Comment by john

youve just worked that out?

Comment by andy@cynic

fatists.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Or is it because she’s a Brit?

Comment by Billy Whizz

“I’m not fattest, she is.” Jimmy Carr 2007.

Comment by john

you know campbell better than i fucking thought doddsy, so why the fuck do you still keep coming back here. and make the first fucking comment. the samaritans are just as free, nicer and dont fuck up your cred anywhere as bad as this fucking blog.

Comment by andy@cynic

The samaritans have blocked me.

Comment by john

Not the good samaritans, the clever samaritans.

Comment by Billy Whizz

You never said this sort of shit to me and I was the best person in the place.

Comment by Billy Whizz

For the life of me Billy, I can’t understand why that never happened with you. You were definitely the best in cynic. You told us that every day.

Comment by DH

maybe because you werent hot and female. or because he had fucked up taste.

Comment by andy@cynic

except he didnt because he spotted my genius on day 1 at hhcl.

Comment by andy@cynic

That’s how Rob judges if someone has amazing undiscovered talent.

Comment by Billy Whizz

no its fucking not, i always made sure i took the hotties under my wing. campbell and auntie had the dregs.

Comment by andy@cynic

Catering management? Is that a posh way to say “a man who puts bread in the microwave to defrost?”

Comment by Billy Whizz

either the careers officer was a fucking lunatic or they just wanted campbell out their office and said the first thing that came to mind. whatever, as nightmarish as campbell is in adland, the damage he would do in anyfuckingthing to do with catering is nuclear bomb standard destruction. plus hed eat all the food and put the bastards out of business before hed had a chance to poison all the customers.

unless catering management was code for maccas drive through checkout chick. have to be drivethrough or his face would put you off your food before youve ordered.

Comment by andy@cynic

I always thought that their choice of career made careers officers a dubious source of guidance.

Comment by john

would you take advice from someone who has a job telling spotty fucking 15 year olds what job they should be doing. good call doddsy.

Comment by andy@cynic

Aren’t those photos in the wrong order?

The top one is Shanghai now. The bottom one is Shanghai when you’ve finished living there.

Comment by DH

wheres the fucking like button? good one dave.

Comment by andy@cynic

so youre back. fuck up people around the world then come back and act like nothings wrong. thats some serious bastard shit skills youve got there campbell. peter fucking sutcliffe had more fucking remorse than that. id be proud of you if i wasnt one of the fucking victims.

Comment by andy@cynic

Chinese people are raised the other way around. Parents tell you that you prob can’t make it to protect you from failing. Maybe that was well-intentioned, but now I have fucked up confidence.

Comment by phoebe

It’s not just Chinese families who undermine their children’s confidence Phoebe. I was lucky I ended up working for 3 guys who saw something in me they liked and their encouragement, advice and support literally changed my life.

Still trying to work out if it’s for the better. 🙂

Good post Robert.

Comment by Bazza

you came to us with references from fucking clinton, mandela, annan and jobs. and you say your family had fucked up your confidence? fuck me, what the fuck would you have been like if theyd actually fucking supported you.

and the thing we liked about you most baz was you were cheap. hope that puts your fucking mind to rest.

now what about this iphone 5 bollocks?

Comment by andy@cynic

Aside from Andrew’s comment relating to your (initial) salary and the impending iPhone release, I agree with him.

Comment by George

When George agrees with Andy, I know I’m in trouble.

Comment by Bazza

dont worry phoebe, the chinese are going to run the fucking world so youll be alright. remember my kind words when you decide what jobs you want to hand out to the white fucks.

Comment by andy@cynic

What do you mean by “going to”? I have already decided that some white fs need no jobs. But I will remember your kind words. 😉

Comment by phoebe

All this from a man who started a company called cynic.

Comment by George

started but let us do all the fucking hard work. correction. let me do all the fucking hard work.

Comment by andy@cynic

All this from a man who supports Nottingham Forest and Queen.

Comment by john

thats like being told you should have a career in catering management.

Comment by andy@cynic

33 comments already? Have you all been that bored?

Comment by Rob

no. weve just been desperate to kick you in the fucking head again.

Comment by andy@cynic

And Im still waiting to hear about Amber.

Comment by john

one of lifes gravest fucking travesties. not amber but what she did with campbell. must have been clinically fucking depressed. if she wasnt, she was when she finished with him.

Comment by andy@cynic

You’re right Andy … but her self esteem problems were my self esteem benefits. Ha.

Comment by Rob

Rob, can we please replicate you about 30 times and stick you in key positions in Sydney? You’d change the shallow culture of this city faster than any amount of small bars with hipsters would any day….

Cue comment from Andy

Comment by Alex

fucking sadist idiotic twat.

Comment by andy@cynic

Oh Andy, you warm the cockles of my heart…

Comment by Alex

Yes. As Johnny Mercer wrote: http://youtu.be/4IP9h40z0sk

Comment by Carol L. Weinfeld

I see the comments have disappeared into la la land again.
One comment, it’s also dangerous when no one tells people to be realistic, or to stop being such a smug idiot.
There’s also too much living in the future, rather than living in the now, it’s great being twentysomething and tragic when it’s wasted in the pursuit of big positions and salaries, only to find it’s not as fun up there as you thought it would be.
The thing about people who don’t know they’re great is that that kind of makes them as good as they are, while the people who think they’re the best thing since Queen split up are usually all mouth and no trousers.

Comment by northern

Absolutely … but then I did sort-of say the same thing which means I’m agreeing with myself. Kind-of.

And for the record, Queen haven’t split up …

So there. Hahaha.

PS: I’m in London in 2 weeks. Are you there? Mind you, if you are, I’m assuming you’re desperately changing your plans as I type.

Comment by Rob

Queen ended in 1991.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I’ll find an excuse to be there, give me dates

Comment by northern

You’re not challenging me on Queen trivia are you Mr Mortimer? Trust me, officially they have never split up.

As for London NP, 27/28 July looks like being the day/s I’m there but I can’t confirm for another 24 hours so you still have a chance to make your excuses.

Comment by Rob

who the fuck cares if or when that bunch of music vandals split or that youre going to fucking london, apart from the metrofuckingpolitan police that is.

actually, why the fuck are you going to blighty? youre not going to that poor bastard version of the royal wedding are you? did you get a fucking invite? how? why? who the fuck did you blackmail? if you are that makes me fucking sick. im calling you campbell and i dont give a fuck if it wakes you up.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’m challenging you on your implied statement that Queen post the Freddie Mercury tribute show have been Queen in anything but name…

Hit the North Mr C.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

check mate.

game to mortimer.

Comment by andy@cynic

The Chinese people I know all have goals, not dreams. Practical, achievable goals. I think its partly culture, and sometimes because they don’t presume what it out there to achieve.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Yep … though what tends to be the case is that the dreams people have are kept to themselves because apart from the fear of ridicule, once they are verbalised, it means they are almost compelled to try and achieve them – which could lead to failure and more ridicule.

Comment by Rob

I think Rob M is assuming that at least some of the people you asked were Chinese – but being a generalising planner you didn’t specify that. The post would be better if you clarified that.

Correction: one way in which the post would be better.

Comment by john

It was partly assumption, partly random relevance!

RobC – I agree

Comment by Rob Mortimer

i like kicking campbell in the face as much as the next fucking man but we all know he lives in a country with over a fucking billion bastard chinese so its pretty fucking likely some of the people he bored to death were from commie central. in other fucking words that was pretty bastard pedantic even for you doddsy. well fucking done.

Comment by andy@cynic

Not pedantry on this occasion – the only photos I’ve seen of his office seem to have a disproportionate number of non Chinese in them, so I wasn’t sure if the reasonable assumption would prove to be correct.

Comment by john

what is the official non chinese ratio these fucking days?

Comment by andy@cynic

and why (forget fucking how) are you looking at where campbell pretends to work 5 days a week.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’ve no idea – that’s why I asked.

Is his post an indicator of Chinese attitudes or those of a bunch of people who’ve fled their home countries for various reasons?

Comment by john

worse. theyre people who will sit with campbell even when they dont fucking have to. freaks.

Comment by andy@cynic

when i hit the reality of my life as it really is, i can see why some people dream of something that’s achievable. if you don’t have 3 generous fuckwits like andy, rob and george in your life (or references from clinton, mandela, annan and jobs), working hard towards your dreams in a culture that prefers nice, easy achievable goals – especially ones that earn you money and a nice house – IS fuckin’ hard work.

but, something that keeps me dreaming is a quote that i am going to paraphrase badly and not credit (mostly ‘cos i can’t remember who said it):

“a tragedy is when a man cannot achieve his greatest desires. a greater tragedy is when he can.”

thanks for this post rob. i may not become great, but at least the constant drive saves me from settling for a depressing mediocrity.

Comment by lauren

i was wondering where the fuck youve been lauren. hiding from campbell during his trip to convictland i presume.

anyfuckingway, for clarity, campbell was generous with shit that belonged to me and auntie which means im much more fucking generous than him and hes a thieving little bastard.

Comment by andy@cynic

the fact that you were thinking of me terrifies and thrills me at the same time.

fortunately or unfortunately, i was on the opposite side of the country when he was here. and i have been fuckin’ hella busy.

i’ll be back soon enough. probably.

Comment by lauren

sky’s the fucking limit, was it blue?

Comment by aaronaldo

thank you:)

Comment by sue

Good.

Comment by Rob




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