“Your mission is not to sedate, but to awaken, to disturb, to communicate, to command, to instigate, and even to provoke.”

Cultural Provocateur
The Passion of Muhammad Ali – created by George Lois

These are the words of George Lois, a hero of mine. Not only a remarkable business man, ad man and family man, he wore with pride the label ‘cultural provocateur’. George was the creative force behind the design of 92 covers for esquire magazine. Amongst other cultural movements, George was part of the movement to free Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter – his motto “To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men” Abraham Lincoln.

To think is not enough, it is our actions that define us! It is time to follow the cultural provocateurs of our time. George Lois has some Damn Good Advice (for people with talent) to unleash their creative potential and ultimately take control of their reality, through peaceful action, provocation or even agitation. Have a look at his website here.

Why just be a Creative Thinker – when you can be a Cultural Provocateur!

“Great graphic and verbal communication depends on understanding and adapting to the culture, anticipating the culture, criticizing changes in the culture, and helping to change the culture. Any entrepreneur, inventor, artist, graphic designer, adman, fashion designer, architect, editor, doctor, lawyer, politician – anyone who instinctively feels the way to go is against a conservative, indoctrinated society and bucks the trend, and who understands the zeitgeist of the time – has the passion and capability to become a cultural provocateur. So if you’re a young person with an entrepreneurial spirit who aspires to succeed, not only in business, but in life, your mission is not to sedate, but to awaken, to disturb, to communicate, to command, to instigate, and even to provoke.”

Follow your bliss. That which you love, you must spend your life doing, as passionately and as perfectly as your heart, mind, and instincts allow. And the sooner you identify that bliss, which surely resides in the soul of most human beings, the greater your chance of a truly successful life. Work somewhere that thrills you, with talented people. Better to be reckless than careful. Better to be bold than safe. Better to have your work seen and remembered, or you’ve struck out There is no middle ground. Be bold!

You can be Cautious or you can be Creative (but there’s no such thing as a Cautious Creative). A creative thinker must be fearless, If you’re more tentative than decisive, if you’re more cautious than creative, you’ll never be an innovative business leader, and certainly not a great visual communicator.

A quote that truly inspires me: “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.” – Steve Jobs and cultural provocateur

So where do I start?

Always go for The Big Idea:

“The Big Idea in advertising sears the virtues of a product into a viewer’s brain and heart, resulting in a sales explosion. To be a master communicator, words and images must catch people’s eyes, penetrate the minds, warm their hearts, and cause them to act! Great advertising, in and of itself, becomes a benefit of the product. As an entrepreneur; in a new business start-up; in any creative industry – always go for The Big Idea.”

Every big idea of a Cultural Provocateur must provoke a solution. That is the point:

What is wrong?

What is my big idea?

Where can I get support and help?

I plan to explore these questions and what they mean to me. What is wrong with the world today, the human condition, are we happy etc. I plan to look at the main cultural provocateurs of our time; Mandela, Gandhi on one side with George Lois sandwiched in the middle with the more modern agitators like Russell Brand on the other side of the spectrum. Watch this space for the next entry.

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