There’s something rotten in the Kingdom of Advertising. No surprise there. It’s advertising. But this specific phenomenon has taken more casualties than the opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan and is now more common than Lesbians Who Look Like Justin Bieber. The rotten something I’m talking about is called burn out. Burn out has entered my world and it scares the living daylights out of me. Friends, colleagues, people in the bloom of their advertising lives. Snapped. Broken. Sitting at home, staring into nothingness. Sleeping, crying. Living behind closed curtains. It takes months, sometimes years to recover. Some people don’t and quit the business forever. What a waste.

Burn out has entered my world and it scares the living daylights out of me

Of course there are loads of factors involved in any case of burn out. But a lot of times it seems to happen to ambitious people, perfectionists, with a strong sense of responsibility. A dangerous combination in a world that’s far from perfect. Now, I’m not a psychiatrist, nor do I have any degree in medicine. I just take multi-vitamins and pray nothing bad happens. But to me it seems a little bit of relativisation might go a long way. That’s why I would like to add step 8 to the 7 Steps of Becoming a Very Successful Person: Applying the Gentle Art of Not Giving a Fuck.

Like all great things in life, Not Giving a Fuck should be enjoyed in moderation. Apply with too much enthusiasm and you end up downing half-liter cans of Schültenbrau in the park with your toothless new BFFs on a daily basis. Not good. Use with caution. How does it work? Well, say it’s 7:30 pm, you’re sitting behind your desk staring at a lukewarm pizza (again) because, you know, you HAVE to get this last thing done and yes, it’s the third time this week you’re eating at your desk, but this is, like, REALLY IMPORTANT!!! Right. Time to add some Not Giving a Fuck.

Poof.

Like all great things in life, Not Giving a Fuck should be enjoyed in moderation

All of a sudden, that ‘last thing’ doesn’t seem that important. And you know what, there’s always tomorrow. So you turn off your computer, go home and hug your children, make sweet love to your sweet love or order sushi and watch a whole season of your favorite show that you of course didn’t download illegally because that’s like totally wrong and stuff.

Or, even better, go to Knijn and roll like you own the place. Because if a gazillion times of watching The Big Lebowski has taught us anything, it’s that Not Giving a Fuck and bowling go hand in hand. Unless you go over the line. Because this is not Nam. This is bowling. There are rules. So, work hard and get that career going. But every once in a while, when it all starts to feel a bit too much, apply a healthy dose of Not Giving a Fuck. Gently. And remember that great mantra the wise Walter Sobchak gave us: “Fuck it dude, let’s go bowling.”