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Doubt yourself and steal, if you want to be great!

I attended the Loeries last week and one of the speakers at the DSTV Seminar really inspired me with his talk and the lessons he shared with us. Keith Cartwright is currently Executive Creative Director at BSSP, the largest independent advertising Agency in California and quite an inspirational person.

Cartwright started off by sharing a little bit about his childhood, how he grew up in the church cause his dad was a pastor. He says a lot of times his friends always thought he was so restricted having a schedule that consisted of him being at church 6 days a week, yet when he grew up he realized how much it helped shape him into the successful and disciplined person that he is today.

Cartwright then went on to share 5 tips that he picked up on his journey to success.

  1. Doubt Yourself

This was the first lesson. Cartwright says it’s very important to doubt yourself in everything that you do. The moment you think you know, that means you will stop being curious and stop learning.

This is a great lesson because the moment you admit that you don’t know, you seek help from people in front of you already. It’s important to have the confidence and courage to admit you don’t know something

“Perfection is the enemy of good, but good is also the enemy of great.”

2. Steal 

The second lesson Cartwright shared was the art of stealing. He says the greatest creatives are thieves, they the ones who have succeeded.

Cartwright says it’s important to have people you admire in your industry, look at what they are doing and take lessons from their techniques. These are the people who are doing amazing work, that have mastered processes that are successful and we need to look at those and try to master the same in order to be successful.

‘Good artists copy, but great artists steal.’

3. Be Stupid

Cartwright third lesson is be stupid. Here he says we need to admit we don’t know anything, that one of the smartest men admitted at knowing nothing.

He goes on to make an example on how you walk into a brand briefing already with an idea of what you think you know about the brand and knowing what they already need. He says this is such a mistake. We need to walk in as people who know nothing, people who are there to learn.

He says the greatest ads he has ever done were based on stupid and unusual ideas that brands were reluctant to even approve but ended up working and the most successful

‘Think of the most responsible way of doing it and then do the opposite.’

4. Fail Harder

Cartwright says we need to embrace failing and failing harder. But what is important is failing fast and moving on with the lessons learnt.

This has to be my favorite lesson on his list. We learn by auctioning and if we fail along the way you learn so much and you never ever repeat that mistake. This is one of the biggest processes one goes through in life but most importantly in their career and business journey.

5. Give it all away

The art of giving it all away is so important. Cartwright believes that we are given opportunities to be able to pass it on and teach people who are coming after us.

Cartwright says we must never hold back in sharing lessons and doing great things for people who need it, to make their journeys a lot more easier.


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