By Sam Beaumont
The big ‘Why?’
On the second day of SCA, a guy called Ben the Buddhist came in and told us a story. He told us about how, at the end of WW2, after years of fighting, thousands of British soldiers came home. They were exhausted. They were mentally broken. They were men and boys who’d experienced unimaginable things and now – in a time when caring for mental health mainly consisted of a slap on the back and a stiff drink – they had to get back to living normal lives. Recovery really should have been impossible. But they managed it.
Ben told us that the reason they’d been able to carry on was because they knew why they’d put themselves through the trauma… They loved their country and they loved their friends and family, and both were under threat. So whenever they were woken in the night by memories of what they’d seen and done, they could find comfort in knowing that they’d seen and done them for a reason. They had their ‘why’.
Then, with a sincerity and gravity that only someone who’s added ‘the Buddhist’ to their name can, Ben told us that we’d need to be a bit like these soldiers. That, while fighting to help your ideas survive can’t really be compared to war, over the year at SCA we’d all still need our ‘why’ to fall back on when times got hard.
Nine short months later, with weeks slipping away and portfolio day looming, times have definitely got hard. I’ve stopped enjoying myself because I’ve forgotten why I’m putting myself through the stress. And from talking to a few people around the studio, I don’t think I’m alone.
So yesterday on my megabus home, I did what any student of Marc’s would do… I settled into my grubby seat, and I reflected. Hard.
And after 3 long hours of introspection I realised I’m here because I’ve made a conscious decision to do work that I love. And I bloody love good ads. I love telling interesting stories. I love finding out new and interesting things. I love the feeling of making someone smile. I love the fact that chatting to a mate can be classed as work. And I love hanging out with people that push me to be better and nicer and more creative.
So that’s my ‘why’, and that’s what I’ll look back on when I next feel overwhelmed. If the thing that’s stressing me out is somehow helping me on the way to doing work that I love, I’ll have a reason to suck it up and carry on. And if it’s not… life’s to short and sanity is too precious to do something you hate.