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Just Do It

Dan Wieden penned Nike’s world-famous “Just Do It” slogan the night before W+K’s big pitch to the sportswear brand.

Worried that the collection of ad creative lacked any unifying message, Dan came up with the iconic call to action the night before their presentation.

In 20 minutes, Dan not only created one of the most powerful slogans in the history of advertising, he also defined a mission statement that can be applied to all aspects of our lives.

What’s ever-so-slightly troubling is Dan’s source of inspiration… the last words of a condemned man, sentenced to death by firing squad after being convicted of a double murder (don’t believe me? Watch Dan’s confession right here), but we’ll leave that to one side for the purpose of this blog post!

What’s so special about “Just Do It”?

It’s not the brand association, although I’m sure Nike are delighted with the power those 3 words have had in defining and championing their brand values these last 25 years. Rather, it’s the slogan’s relevance to every day life that makes “Just Do It” so extremely powerful and life-changing…

Have no fear

The Problem with Perfect

I’m going to keep this short. It comes down to this… The pursuit of perfection breeds impotence. The solution? You need to get ok with imperfect and JUST DO IT.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t strive to be the best you can be. The pursuit of perfection is important and in many cases will lead to greater success in your endeavours, just so long as you understand that absolute perfection is an unobtainable state. Thus delaying your future based upon a self-imposed benchmark of “perfect” will always result in less-than-optimal life outcomes.

In fact, the pursuit of perfection can lead to a complete failure to launch; your business, your career, your life… Being too self-critical is one of life’s biggest pitfalls and a healthy acceptance that you can never achieve perfection is a valuable lesson that will help you reap rewards.

It is one of the basic principles underpinning agile, iterative and incremental development and The Hacker Way – ensuring rapid deployment of code, speeding up the process of creation and avoiding bottlenecks, dead-ends and time wasting. Facebook even coined the motto “Move Fast and Break Things” to hammer the point home. It is the process equivalent of JUST DO IT and it is a philosophy that can be applied to all aspects of your life.

You’ve always wanted to be a writer, but you’re scared how your work will be received?

Desperate to start a family but want to wait for the “perfect” time before you go for it?

Sick of your job but too scared to resign?

Keep putting off the launch of your new business, whilst you polish it to death?


Anjali Mullany shares a similiar anecdote on FastCompany in her post “Is Perfectionism Holding You Back?

Ask yourself this – Is there something you’re putting off until conditions are “perfect”, but never seem to get there…? Do your deadlines keep getting pushed? Is self-doubt creeping in and your goals looking ever more doubtful…?

There is never a better time than now.


There are certain situations where “JUST DO IT” should not apply…
Should I run for it?

Do you agree? How do you deal with your own desire for perfection? What tactics do you employ to get sh*t done? Please share your thoughts and advice in the comments.

Rick PalmerIs this your first time here? If so, thanks for stopping by! If you’re looking for my Tumblr blog, you can find that here. I’m a Digital Strategist, entrepreneur and Head of Digital Business at Advertising M&A, the specialist Mergers and Acquisitions consultancy exclusively for the advertising, digital, media and marketing services sectors. I am also the Founder and Editor-in-chief at advertising industry blog Inside MarComs, featuring Q&As with brilliant people in advertising and marketing, as well as Founder and Principal of Rick Palmer Consulting, offering my personal expertise to private clients. You can find out more about me by reading my biog or connecting with me on LinkedIn.

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