SINGAPORE – In the world of advertising, talent, obviously, is overflowing but the one thing that not everybody has or has figured out yet happens to be very crucial–passion.
In his session, “Passion Trumps Talent,” Matt Eastwood, Worldwide Chief Creative Officer of J. Walter Thompson couldn’t emphasize enough how talent alone can’t always take you to where you want to be.
“Talent can somehow make people comfortable and not have to try as hard. So, when they face adversity, they’re not sure how to cope with it. Whereas if you’re not the world’s most talented person, you have to face adversity your whole life. It becomes a skill that you’re better at,” explains Eastwood. “Now I’ve learned to look for that in people.”
Hearing this, it’s easy to deduce that what the worldwide chief looks for in an employee is someone who comes in the office first and goes home last. But it turns out, Eastwood’s definition of passion is not like that at all.
“It’s kind of a myth that you have to work from 7 in the morning until 11 at night to be successful. I think if you’re doing your job well and effectively, and working hard during those hours, then you shouldn’t need to do that. I don’t think time spent equates to success at all.”
As a top creative in a global agency, Eastwood admits that he’s never been the kind of person who wants to give his whole life to his job. “It’s because I’m so passionate with all the things in my life. So, I think it’s the other things in my life that creates the balance.”
Being passionate about a lot of things, Eastwood is one of the few bosses who understand the way millennials act, think, and feel, and why some think this generation is self-entitled.
“I don’t think millennials lack passion at all. I think they’re in a position in their lives where they’re probably passionate about more than one thing and for other people it can look like they’re not committed to one thing,” Eastwood shares. “They want to chase different dreams, different passions. I think it’s just a matter of understanding that you don’t have to be passionate with just one thing in your life. You can be passionate about five things and you can work on all of those. Some people interpret that as a lack of focus but to me that’s the perfect life where you get to indulge all your passions.”
Talking about juggling passions, we ask Eastwood, does a worldwide chief creative officer have the time to be passionate about many things?
“Obviously, I’m passionate about advertising. It’s what I’ve done my whole career. And I have wanted to do that since I was 13 years old. I’m also passionate about architecture and design. I’ve designed quite a lot of houses. Many of which have been featured in magazines. It’s a lovely kind of balance, doing that and working in advertising as well.”
For Eastwood, having multiple things to be passionate about gives you a fallback for when you have become too old or no longer able to do some of the things you have been doing.
“When I’m too old to be in advertising or they decide I’m too old to be in advertising, I’ll just probably go and design and build houses. It’s nice to have that second passion.”