Stop and Think.

I once saw a poster on display in the “creative pen”, at an advertising agency that had retained my superior abilities, and knack, for running errands. At the time, I passed the poster everyday without regard, a proverb without much meaning, as seen on walls anywhere and everywhere, generic and typically ignored. The poster was that of an art director sketching feverishly, at a drawing board (yes it was THAT long ago), crumpled paper tossed about. A few pieces had made it into a trashcan beside the art director; most however, were dashed about haphazardly on the floor. Floating above a few of the discarded crumples were illuminated light bulbs; some brilliant in their color, some fading into the ether. The headline simply read, “Haste Makes Waste.”

To this day, that poster still stands out in my mind. As I’ve progressed in my advertising career and gained many experiences during my journey to become a creative director, I’ve seen more examples of that poster than I care to admit. At times, I’ve been that art director with great ideas scattered about due to my full panic in the moment. Other times I’ve been a silent witness to many wonderful ideas’ slow demise.

The one element all occurrences had in common was a lack of ability to focus due to, what at the time, was a crushing pressure of an oncoming deadline. A deadline that overwhelmed an ability to think properly. And yes, deadlines are real, even necessary, but if only in those times of panic we‘ll remember to slow down and imagine our idea a little further along we might just save ourselves some time and bring to life an idea otherwise lost to the ether.

In the end, there are lots of exceptional ideas out there, dazzlingly brilliant light bulbs just wanting to be brought to life. Unfortunately, most of their lights will be extinguished simply because in times of self-imposed panic we tend to lose sight and focus on the wrong object.

Einstein once said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” He was a much smarter man than I…

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