My Morose, Teenage Alter-Ego

I have two teenagers: a literal teenager, who is cheerful, well-adjusted and wonderful; and a teenage alter-ego, who is cynical and loutish. I never really noticed the latter until July or August of 2020, when the exhaustion from the pandemic and the civil unrest (etc.) started to set in.

I’ve named my inner teenager Julian. Here’s how a conversation with Julian might go:

Julian: “This is pointless. You should go draw, or hike Greyrock (mountain) or something.”

Me: “Wait, I just got to work! I enjoy my work! Why would you say that?”

J: “Because you annoy me. You chronically overthink things and you don’t accurately gauge how long most projects will take.”

Me: “But I do have cool clients. They do purposeful work that makes people’s lives better.”

J: “True, but would it really make any difference in the grand scheme of things if you spent one day lying on your back looking at clouds? There are 7 1/2 billion people in the world!”

… Well, you get the picture. Julian is a lazy bastard, but last summer I came to realize I was legitimately overdue for a break. So I gave Julian a “Yes” day. Except it was about five weeks, not a day.

In that time, I focused a lot on art, and thought about the difference between what’s profitable and what’s sustainable.

You can do something well, and profitably, for a period of time. Could be years. But if you’re not engaged in it, it’s not sustainable.

I want my business to be sustainable, which means working with people who feel, as I do, that even if being boring were a good business strategy, thinking about credibility and decorum all the time crushes your soul.

So, in deference to Julian, I came up with a new slogan:

DON’T BE BORING.

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I take boring personally, like Woodie Harrelson takes zombies personally in Zombieland.

I’ve seen too many examples of people doing amazing work and describing it in a super risk-averse, tooth-achingly boring way. I’m not going to push back anymore. I’m just gonna lay it out: My job is to make you not boring. All of my other work kinda falls under that umbrella. Storytelling? Not boring. Clarity? Strategic messaging? Copywriting? Marketing strategy? Websites? If you want it to be boring, I can’t help you.

Julian will fade into the background a bit after July, I expect, but he’ll always be there. If I do boring stuff, he’s gonna tell me I’m being lame—and I’m going to tell my clients, in much more diplomatic terms, the same thing.

See you in 2022!

Peace,

Johnny

P.S. – DON’T BE BORING.

P.P.S. – You probably didn’t know this, but I’m the world’s most prodigious and sought-after T-Rex acrobatics artist. My Instagram tag is @CreativeFollies.

 

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Posted on: December 28, 2021