Why I Am A Cow

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In 1996 a creative director at Hallmark named Gordon MacKenzie published a book entitled “Orbiting the Giant Hairball”. It describes the necessary, but prickly relationship between corporations and the creatives who work for them. The creatives need the corporation so they can make a living, and the corporations need the designers to constantly produce beautiful, innovative products and ideas.

One part of the book I’ve always loved is when MacKenzie writes, “Designers are like cows”.

The idea is that if you constantly keep a cow in the barn and milk it, eventually the flow of milk will stop. For a cow to continue to produce it needs to get out of the barn and walk around in the pasture, feel the sunshine, eat grass, drink from a stream. From the outside, it may not look like a productive activity, but then you realize: this is where the milk is really being made.

The “24/7 entrepreneurial hustle” mentality has buried itself in the collective business consciousness over the last few years. But as we start the new year it will serve us to remember we aren’t machines. 

Every creative, every entrepreneur, every one of us needs time in the pasture.