Prasoon Joshi is the Executive Chairman, CEO of McCann Worldgroup India. He is an award-winning lyricist (Chittagong, Taare Zameen Par, Rang De Basanti, Fanaa, Hum Tum) and dialogue writer. But his roots are firmly entrenched in advertising. Prasoon Joshi who was nominated the number one creative director in Asia Pacific is the recipient of more than 200 advertising awards including the prestigious Golden Lion at Cannes. He credits his creativity to keeping the child in him alive and being observant of life. Take a peek at a few Joshisms

  1. I never discard any ideas just because a client doesn’t like them. I save them for later because I believe in my ideas. Self-belief is important.
  2. Success deems that you use all the tools that you possess. In the ad world when everything fails one resorts to the dog-child trick. You put a child or a dog in a commercial, and nobody rejects an ad.
  3. Nothing can be achieved without risks, and you cannot take risks without convictions. If there’s conviction in your eyes, the client will believe you.
  4. It is important to give people examples of your success stories if you want to get their attention; they will even pay you more. Then scale it up by excellence. Drive excellence and market excellence. We need to create a culture of excellence.
  5. There is a scene in Baagh Milkha Bhaag. Milkha often looks in the mirror and talks to himself. There is a lesson there — you are answerable to yourself; you have a responsibility towards yourself. You are in competition with no other.
  6. I am inspired by my grandmother. She lost her husband when she was 19. She was an illiterate widow and a single mother. Later she went to school, got an education and retired as a principal of a school. Now that is inspiring. She lived alone; she used to grow her vegetables. She ate what she farmed. A lot of stories that I tell now, I had heard from her. These are the kind of people who inspire you and not the ones that say: You can do it and you will do it. You don’t get inspired by 10-minute talks, but by life around you.
  7. I have always been clear about my creativity. I am not the electricity. I am just the wire. I am lucky that electricity passes through me and there is light out there, and I get credit for that. Ideas choose me. My role is to become a conductor. And I do that by energizing myself through keeping an open mind; I also strive to reduce resistance in me. I am willing to learn from anyone. Anybody can teach you. Be receptive. Let the electricity flow through you. And remember, you are always just a wire.
  8. Contrary to what people think, technology is making us more human. For example, you watch a video on Youtube, you comment, the maker of the video responds and soon the whole exercise becomes participatory. Entertainment in rural India has always been participative — watch any tribal performance, and you will know what I mean.
  9. What’s the sign of aging? Getting bogged down by limitations. You have learned so much that the mind tells you, it can’t be done. Why do you think every civilization believes in youth? Because youngsters are not aware of limitations. He/she always asks: Why not? And Children are completely unaware of limitations. They paint the sky green and question why can’t it be green? As adults, we get worried when they do that. During the making of Taare Zameen Par, I explored the world of children a lot. I discovered that adults are lazy. But a child’s mind is always ticking. Observe a child and an adult looking at a tree — the child’s eye is roving; it doesn’t stop for a moment. The child is ‘looking’ at the tree. Whereas the adult has already decided that he is looking at the tree. That’s the difference between a child’s eye and an adult’s. Never let the child’s eye in you go blind or die when it does innovation in you dies.
  10. At the workplace, live by example; it builds a culture of excellence. If you have to do something, do it, don’t waste time and energy getting experts, booking rooms in exotic locations and indulging in ‘meetings.’ That kind of thinking is a disease. The action is important. Taking notes is not, being in the moment is.
  11. Don’t create a template for success. It cannot be ‘templatized’. Formulas are dangerous. The culture of innovation and creativity is important, and that needs to be encouraged.