Farewell, Matric

“Get out of my classroom!”

The words foamed out her mouth and may as well have had “you insolent little shit!” affixed to the end of them. The year was 2000 and I was in grade 8.

RESPECT MA AUTHORITAH!
RESPECT MA AUTHORITAH!

I always loved mathematics. It was one of those subjects that appealed to both my creative and logical natures. Some, as experience enlightened me, were not content merely allowing young minds to grow, however, but took to the “molding” concept of edification a little more seriously than I would have deemed necessary. Or healthy, for that matter.

As for most, my life since school diversified: I went off to study new skills; to live in a new country; met a lot of different and differently-minded people; found, grew and lost my longest, most complicated relationship to date; and made a lot of self-discoveries along the way. This is what people mean when they list “School of Life” as their education on Facebook.

thug life white kid
I crush candy AND bitches!

Yet I always think back to that day. I recall realising in that moment how it didn’t matter how “right” or “wrong” I was. All that mattered was that she was the “teacher” and I was the “student”. This suspicion persisted for the remainder of my internment – the thought that school is not so much about raising great thinkers as it is about raising people who do as they’re told and remember that information really really well. Like, A+ well.

Today marks the ten-year anniversary of my matric farewell. It’s also my late grandmother’s 90th birthday (Happy B-Day, Oumi! I miss you!). Both of these factoids come compliments of my mother, who remembers every single date since the big bang. I dropped history first chance I got. But it got me thinking…

What have I learned since high school?

If you weren’t one of the “populars” (read: untouchables), you may have tried your best to forget that you even went to a place called “school”, but I’m sure you, too, have your very own list of things you’ve learned since escaping. Feel free to share them in the comments section below.

Here a couple things I’ve learned along the way:

There are no grades, just your ass

In school, it was all about the grade: “Oh no! Tommy got 80%; I got 78%. By definition he’s more successful than I am!” Well here’s the big boy lesson: Real life don’t give a shit about your grades, son! You got an A in chemistry? Here, unclog this toilet, Heisenberg. Won the regional prize in art? Better get crafty filling out those tax forms*!

In life, there is no B- or A+. There’s only, “you get that shit done yet?” Because if life had an actual grading system, people would be forced to be evaluated on merit, and I’m sure you know how often that happens.

The people “educating” you were just as misguided

In school, teachers were hailed as the grandstands of supported authority. Their dogma touted as the be-all of information – “Seek no further, children. All answers lay hidden within these walls, beneath these rules.” And while it’s easy to get angsty and start screaming “fuck the system!”, it’s important to remember that they too were just people… Some had failed marriages, some were suffering financially, some hated being there every damn day as much as you did. As a child we are so captivated by this concept of being “an adult”, that it becomes difficult to see a figure such as a teacher as being anything close to human.

But they are, and are as completely and hopelessly flawed as you sit here today. Now imagine good ole, messed up YOU carrying the responsibility of helping to raise a nation on your back.

ms-frizzle
Today’s lesson, kids: Cocaine!

The most practical lesson was recess

For the most part, the old adage of “it’s not what you know, but who you know” holds true. The simple fact is that regardless of how hard you studied, how well you did on that test or, overall, how much you deserve that job/position/raise, unless you can back up your shit with a crafty mouth and leading personality, it won’t get you very far.

I’m not saying that nobody gets by on the merit of hard work. I’m just saying that, in reality, there are much more important factors to consider, such as: Does your boss like you?

Being likeable is good. And I would generally put “likeable” ahead of “great education” on the list of important life skills to have because in the long run it’s likely to get you further. Having a solid set of social skills and a wide network of friends is how most influential people left school. Probably wasn’t enough room on the syllabus for social interaction facilitation with all the algebra and Mao Zedong trivia to learn.

mao zedong
“Haha! You funny! I kill you last.” – Mao Zedong

Life is not a competition

I think this was the biggest one for me. I’ve always been a pretty competitive person and, if you are anything like me, school may have at times brought out the worst in you. There’s a great deal of pressure, both from above as well as from our peers, to be “the best.” They gave out medals to the best, and certificates and gold stars and favourable words and degrees of latitude. And those not at the top had to be careful to not allow this to negatively affect their self worth.

But, in reality, everyone has their own truth in life, and being the best almost always comes secondary to experience in terms of “the soul”. Nobody has “A+ student” etched proudly into their tombstone, yet we grow up with this mindset of happiness coming  from displaying superiority in some way over others.

“He scores well every test.” “She only wear designer clothes.” “He sleeps with all the hot chicks.”

These were actual benchmarks when I was in school. We were valued and evaluated on and by everything besides the contents of our hearts and the circumstances we were growing up in. I believe any attention to this at all would have kept a lot of children from feeling alone in their problems. But it wasn’t about compassion back then. It was about dominion. How much of the pie could any one student accumulate before their time was up? And we went out into the world to perpetuate that exact same way of thinking.

BeerPong
Not pictured: The future

Baz Lurhman famously said, “The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.” He also passionately taught us the importance of sunscreen… An incredibly valuable life lesson I don’t recall being covered even once during my years of formal study.

I guess there were more important things to learn…

###

* Do art majors even pay tax?

A Meeting of Microexpressions

Wayne's World

“I’m not here for the radio ad or the brochure. I’m here to build your brand to what I believe it can be!”

A barely perceptible twitch caught the corner of his mouth and curled it up for the briefest of moments. It’s called a microexpression and (mostly) all people demonstrate them.

What it told me was that this guy takes the name of his business to heart. And he should. After all, it’s his livelihood. And while this may not seem like anything special to some, to me it makes all the difference.

“Oh, he’s just so passionate!”

Ever heard that said about someone? What it basically describes is someone who puts their whole heart into what they do and who they are. It also describes a characteristic I look for in potential clients.

ON BEING BOLD

I’m a dreamer. When I was a kid my parents called it “Wayne’s World” – that magical place I would disappear to where I could recreate reality as I pleased. I ended up never leaving Wayne’s World. Instead, I chose to rather find people who were interested in joining my dreams. Nothing’s changed.

When deciding on a client to invest significant time and energy into, it makes sense to do so with one who shares the same passion and ideals as yourself. To overlook this most basic of requirements is to whore yourself for a date neither of you is truly interested in; the fruits of which are often unsatisfying and riddled with worms.

If I’m going to do great things – or any of us, for that matter -, then I need clients who not only believe in what I do, but who also believe in my passion for their brand. The simple fact is that the work I do for them carries my name on it. Literally. And I take this point seriously. It’s in my best interest to supply them with the best work I possibly can, which can only happen with complete faith and trust.

I spoke about his brand like a dreamer and it made him happy.

Wayne's World
Party time! Brand excellence!

It really did! I watched him light up as I explained how social media could be used to engage his audience and keep his profile current. We all want to believe in something better. I think a lot of times life just makes us jaded to the thought something better exists. But he saw what I felt. I told him I care about his brand first and foremost and that, I believe, is what any good business owner wants to hear. Especially when it’s the truth. And he knew what it meant in the bigger picture.

I wasn’t selling a 30-second radio slot or a three-page brochure. I was selling an idea: The idea that his brand is the most important thing in the world of his business. And it deserves originality, integrity and love.

I don’t know if I’ll ever hear from him again. I’ll make my follow-up call, but there’s only so much one can do. I’m not looking to strong-arm anyone into anything. If a client is willing to pay me for the services I offer, I hope they do so because they believe both in me as an artist and business leader, as well believe in my passion for them, the valued clients I humbly serve.

Only time will tell if we’ll work together professionally, but the way he appreciated what I had to say about his beloved brand made me happy at the thought of working with him at all.

Happy Monday!

Back to the Future (of Advertising)

Business Cat

“What the hell is this?” I asked like an uncultured brat, holding up what I know now to be a leopard print catsuit.

“It’s a catsuit” replied my mom.

“Is it dead?” I inquired further.

“For now,” she said. “But don’t worry; it’ll live again.”

What she was implying, I learned, was that fashion is cyclical. Something is dope for the moment, then loses its presence. And the only thing that can give it any presence again, ironically, is its absence.

Fashion Cat
I can haz dignity?

We are creatures of progress: Opposable thumbs, the Magna Carta, stem cell research, Nicki Minaj. My point is that as we create, so we set the foundation for new creations in the future. What started as chemistry experiments resulted in effective batteries, which in turn resulted in the concept of “electronics” becoming an actual possibility. This is something we now all take for granted.

So what is it, then, which compels us to retrace the timeline? To resurface what has been buried? To partake in what has already been enjoyed? Is it nostalgia? Is it something more? Seriously, I’m asking, cause I don’t know…

I came across this ad today promoting the new Ikea 2015 catalogue. It’s a parody on the current state of digital marketing – specifically the iPad. It’s a throwback to the beauty of the old – of the humble and noble book: The Champion of Alexandria.

Featuring “zero page loading time”, “tactile touch technology” and an “eternal battery”, it’s clear that the bookbook by Ikea is the next big thing.

Here’s the ad below. Let me know what you think of it. Personally, I love it. Then again, I might just be old-fashioned. Enjoy!

TIME for #DopeQuotes

DopeQuotes Once Upon a Time

This is the youngest you will ever be ever again.

Even now, that moment has passed and you will never get it back. Sad, right? Not really. That’s life, and time is our most precious asset. Some have a lot of it; some not so much. What matters, however, is not how much time you have before you expire, but what you do while you are still a living, breathing being limited only by the mind.

I’ve been busy lately. Really busy. Equal parts ambition and the desire to improve my current living situation have left me with a lot to do, which of course means I’ve been needing to prioritise somewhat. This post will be the third consecutive #DopeQuotes in a row. Now, I don’t want potential (or current) followers to feel like this is all they should expect from this blog in the future, as I feel I have so much variety to offer. Like I said, I’ve just been really busy.

DopeQuotes-each-day-tick-tock

Therefore, to the point of time spent, wasted or guarded by each and every person alive, I present to you my theme for this edition of #DopeQuotes.

Enjoy!

DopeQuotes-time-roald-dahl

DopeQuotes-time-is-free-Harvey-Mackay

DopeQuotes-Buddha-time

DopeQuotes-waste-it-wisely

DopeQuotes-the-fire-of-time

 

DopeQuotes-first-time

DopeQuotes-don't-waste-my-time

DopeQuotes-on-my-way

DopeQuotes-new-beginnings

DopeQuotes-regret-wasted-time

DopeQuotes-time-is

DopeQuotes-Snow-Patrol-this-is-your-time

DopeQuotes Time