The World's Leading Independent Agencies 2010: Creativeland Asia

Forget about advertising, marketing and recession and focus on living, Sajan RaJ Kurup says.

The World's Leading Independent Agencies 2010 is a Campaign advertising supplement published for thenetworkone.

I quit working three years back. If I had my way, I'd personally convince everyone to do the same. I mean, come on, haven't you noticed? Having to work is such a dirty job. Who in the right frame of mind would want to do it? And why? Have you ever looked at a working person? Or if you are one, have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror?

You look ridiculous. You've stopped being yourself a long time back.

Because you'd rather be what a situation demands. You don't know how you feel about things because you are constantly worried about what everyone else feels. You've forgotten what it is like to be intelligent because you are more worried about looking intelligent.

You work hard, but it gives you no satisfaction. Gut-feel opinions lose their battle to a safe backside. You'd do anything to please the client. And when the market turns tough, you are the first one the client doesn't want to see. The higher you climb at work, the worse it gets. Your family sees less of you; you are worried your spouse may leave you. You have lost the ability to have a point of view. And nobody seems to like you. By the time you realise what's going on, the mortgage is high. You've become a slave to your lifestyle. And you are so scared that you learn to live with all the stress. In fact, you live with it convincingly.

So, before I got there, I quit working. I started doing something new. Living. I embarked upon on a journey of self-discovery; of learning, seeing, experiencing, believing, knowing, loving and respecting. And it changed the way I looked at the business of creativity.

Suddenly, it didn't matter where advertising, digital media, network agencies or recession were going. For I knew where I was headed.

Here are some things I have learned on the way that have really changed the way I approach the business of creativity and communication. I'd really like to share them with you. They have nothing to do with our business. But they are all about our business. It's not rocket science. But I'm on the moon. They are simple things that we often tend to forget amid the jargons and numbers. If they touch you, they will at least make you smile and maybe think. And if they bore you, they should at least make you yawn and take you a step closer to that much needed sleep. Either way, read to the end. I'm certain it will help.

Accept nervousness and uncertainty. Nervousness is the first feeling anyone experiences. And uncertainty, the first thought. If you aren't nervous, you're not feeling. If you're not uncertain, you're not thinking enough. Learn to accept them both. The greatest things in the world are built on nervousness and uncertainty.

Collaborate, don't compete. You can't be good at everything. One mind is good. Two minds, great! Learn to co-exist with other minds. Minds that are completely tangential to yours. Relatively faster, or deeper or simpler. Handpick them and mentally adopt them. Stimulate each other. Magic will happen.

Believe in something. God. Self. Destiny. Magic. Santa. Aliens. Hope.Mobile. Digital. Design. Something. Anything. Believe. You'll feel less dizzy if you fix your eyes to the horizon.

Channel emotions. In a lifetime: There will be happiness. There will be despair. There will be depression. There will be times you'll feel stupid. There will be times you feel like you're on top. Don't waste these emotions doing nothing. Create something out of it. Blues came out of pain. R&B came out of oppression.

Faith and respect. Continue to emphasise on good old words like faith and respect. Everything else is transient. Money, fame, good times and bad times will come, go and come back again. As long as you have faith in yourself, in your people, in the work you create, in goodness and in magic, you'll continue to be in business.

Be a student. Be a teacher. Judge less. Experience more. The world will change. The world will evolve. Sometimes we'll contribute to the change and evolution. But most times, we'll experience it. Accept it. Learn from all. From the right. From the wrong. From the foolish. From the strong. I have had some of the most amazing lessons on communication from taxi drivers in Mumbai, some great business tips from office boys and I've often got my best ideas from clients.

Don't abuse your mind. Drugs can't make you think better. They can't calm you down. They can't make you happier. Not in the short run. Not in the long run. Breathe correctly. Meditate. Eat on time. Drink responsibly. I don't know if it will help you think better. But it will help you think longer.

Don't let things go to your head. Sometimes you'll succeed. Sometimes you'll fail. Some days you'll be a genius. Some days you'll be stupid. Don't get stuck on one. Never underestimate stupidity or overvalue intelligence. In correct measures, they can both create something magnificent.

Stay humble. Consistently, I have observed that the genuinely talented minds are also the most unassuming, simple and humble people.

Travel. Nothing comes from nothing. Nothing ever does. See places. Read. Listen. Watch. Meet people. Be open to cultures, influences and experiences. The more we see, the more ideas we'll get.

Leave early from work. If people around you are happy with you, you will make people around you happy. And vice versa.

Be honest with yourself. The more honest you are with yourself, the more you'll accept yourself for what you are. And the faster you accept yourself for what you are, the sooner your work looks original.

Think, don't worry. Most of your hard work should go into minimising complications in your mind. Beyond that, creativity and life are both simple. The less space you keep for worries, the more space there will be to think.

How long will you run? How long will you run someone down? How long will you stay big? How long will you stay small? How long will you stay on top? How long can someone keep you down? How long before they call you a fool? How long before they discover you are good? How long before they give you a gold? How long before they think you're too old? How long before you start living? How long before you stop?

Stop working. Play. Change. Try.

Invent. Reinvent. Push. Do. Build. Create. Share. Don't waste your time. You only live once.

Sajan RaJ Kurup is the founder and creative chairman of Creativeland Asia





Sajan RaJ Kurup, founder and creative chairman; Vikram Gaikwad, partner and executive creative director; Anu Joseph, senior creative director


Mumbai, Kochi, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, Bangkok

What would you like to see more of in 2010?
I'd like to see more people from the world look at India. And more people from India look at the world

Which country's creativity (other than your own) do you most admire?
Japan. They love inventing, doing things their way. And they are unabashedly Japanese about it