A is for Apathy – B is for Believing – By @lucyannp_
By Lucy Pennock
A is for Apathy
It’s the beginning of Term 2 and the studio is sparser than usual. The French have left and so has my motivation to do anything productive or meaningful with my life. The Christmas break was thoroughly restoring. And for that I am eternally grateful. The bags under my eyes have somewhat faded and my waistline expanded. I have grown into bad habits like sleeping through any sort of alarm, forgetting to brush my teeth before bed and spending more time in a dressing gown than I do in my own clothes.* I am officially a hibernating hamster. Emerging out of my cocoon only to grab snacks and to pee. I firmly draw a line when it comes to the latter. Bathing in your own urine is something I will never do unless intoxicated.
Anyway getting back into the school routine was a bit of a shock to the system. Well, my system anyway. I didn’t turn up on Day 1. Brilliant start to the year Luce! *Sarcastically pats self on back, whilst self-loathingly smacks head on table.* But I did turn up on Day 2. Hoorah! You could safely say I was struggling with apathy. A feeling of complete indifference, a lack of caring, emotion, interest, or concern about anything of great importance. When you’re in this zone you are basically a big insensitive slug creature that has no desire to do anything for others let alone yourself. You hate yourself, you hate everyone, and everyone hates you for being in this pessimistic bubble. Which I must mention now – only you can burst. For those of you who don’t know what apathy means let alone feels like here is a colourful wheel chart explaining it for you.
What I found interesting was that ‘Apathy’ is the complete opposite to ‘Flow’. A state of being that positive psychologists may refer to as a “creative wet-dream”. It’s basically a mental state where you’re completely energised, fully involved, and extremely enjoying the process of an activity. Before you know it, 2 hours has passed and you’ve smashed the task you set yourself. Being in the state of ‘Flow’ is like running a marathon without even realising you’re running. You can take on challenging things with ease and a higher attention span. You are as any Instagram influencer would call “a boss bitch”. Your best self. A performing, producing, creating genius.
So you can see why the antithesis of this state isn’t helpful when attending the cult that is SCA – somewhere you need to constantly be on your A-game, otherwise you’re throwing away potential and a load of money. In my state of apathy I decided to look up the etymology of the word on Wikipedia (as you do), and found this explanation which I liked:
‘Christians have historically condemned apathy as a deficiency of love and devotion to God and his works. This interpretation of apathy is also referred to as Sloth and is listed among the Seven Deadly Sins.’
Even though I’m Agnostic and don’t believe in religion per se, I found the analogy useful. If you replace the word ‘God’ with ‘Marc Lewis’ or ‘SCA’ or ‘advertising’ or ‘creativity’ or ‘your career’ it may make a bit more sense? Apathy is a vice because it’s extremely unhelpful to you as an individual human being who has desires, dreams, ambitions and goals. It stops you doing stuff. And I think that is the most important thing to take away from this rambling SCAB. Making, doing, creating is the most essential thing we do as young unemployed creatives, and as humans in general. We’re not a position to analyse, overthink, stagnate, let things mull over. We’re not creative directors (yet) who can judge other people’s work and feedback in due course. We need to do brilliant, weird, wacky things now, now, now.
I’ve just read one of those Campaign articles looking ahead to 2019 and apparently the industry needs creativity now more than ever. I swear I read that every year but whatever, apparently it’s true? With the demise of traditional agencies like JWT and Y&R – creativity is being cut left right and centre. It makes us all here at SCA fear for our career paths ahead. “Oh god, why are we investing all this money into a job that is basically disappearing in front of our eyes?” We sit on our hands with our fingers crossed, worried about the future ahead and our lack of skill sets, but not doing anything about it. Well at least I am anyway.
I guess the conclusion I have come to is that problem solving via creative thinking will always be at the heart of good communication and needed by society as a whole? As I worry about not being able to code, film my own commercials or being up to date with the latest AI – what I do know is that I love being able to think creatively and come up with ideas. It’s where my mind is happiest. It’s my flow. I watched ‘Brexit: The Uncivil War’ last night and Benedict Cumberbatch said something that is reiterated to us a lot here. If you’ve got to win people over, go for their hearts over their heads. Storytelling, feeling, emotion – all that jazz, will beat hard facts, statistics any day. Just don’t lie to people and you’ll be OK.
In the article half of London’s hottest creative duo Tom Corcoran and Tom Bender said: “There are always new avenues in what we do and how we can apply our creativity that will create amazing opportunities for everybody.” An I agree with it fully. Not just because they’re ex-SCA students but because creativity won’t die or fade away. It just transforms into different ‘things’. I need to stop worrying about trying to fit into old moulds of creative archetypes and start creating my own. If we’re turning into a portfolio society, what’s going to be in my portfolio? What do I really care about and what sort of work do I want to make?! What NOT Nils Leonard or Ian Tait wants – but me!? Yeah they may give me a job ((a) if I’m fucking lucky and (b) if I fucking pull out all the stops and really work hard this year) but what is it that I really want to do, make, create, achieve?? Well…that’s for me to figure out. Stay tuned. As I write this SCAB I’m starting to feel the wave of apathy I’ve been experiencing lately lift from my shoulders. Ideas pop up in my head like kernels jumping around in a saucepan. However crap you may feel on one particular day it’s important to push yourselves, bounce back and just show up. Whatever the outcome of this year, whatever happens, I think I’m slowly starting to find my flow again. Let Term 2 commence.