The Power of Positive

On March 9, Agency Spy ran a piece announcing that I was undertaking a charity/documentary project called, “Free Throw.”  The comment in the thread below the article which had the most “likes,” (11) started with the words, “How utterly horrendous.” Four months later, on Monday, July 11, I appeared on CNN with one of the eight students in our event, capping a week of PR that included appearances on ESPN, Fox and the Los Angeles Times.

Here’s a personal account of what happened in between.

Those who have worked alongside me have seen the word I taped on my laptop years ago: “Positive.” I did this to help myself through moments of frustration and insecurity when I’m not writing particularly well. But I also did it because it’s probably the guiding principle of my creative life. Whether I’m producing my own work or leading the department, I always strive to focus on the positive and the upside, rather than dwelling on the obstacles and shortcomings of any situation. This is not due to any sort of morale principle. It’s simply because I believe cynicism and negativity, while often glorified in our business, are the death of creativity.

But that doesn’t mean the comments didn’t get to me. So, as I sat waiting for a client meeting to start in Orange County, I typed a message saying something to the effect of, “I understand your skepticism, but here’s what I’m trying to do, here’s why it’s not ultimately going to be about basketball, and here’s why I’m hoping you’ll give me the benefit of the doubt for just a few months before you publicly slam the idea and my motivation for developing it.” But each time, I erased the message, fearing any comment would just fuel the firestorm of negativity.

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