The one phrase my kids learned never to use around me was “I can’t be bothered”.

So, to my question “Why are you watching the telly indoors, why don’t you go outside and play in the sun?”

The correct answer wasn’t “I can’t be bothered.”

If they wanted to do that, the correct answer was “I’m having a really, really great time relaxing on the sofa right now and watching this amazing programme.”

That’s the correct answer because it’s a choice.

It’s not just lazy.

It doesn’t matter what you do.

Watch telly, smoke dope, go to the gym, get drunk, read, sleep, work. Either way your life is ticking by.

So what matters is that you actively choose to do whatever you do.

So you put energy into whatever you’re doing.

That’s the sort of people I want to be around.

People who are buzzing, interested, engaged with being alive.

I don’t want to be around lazy people in case I get infected by it.

It’s like being in an old folk’s home, whatever age they are.

I have the same response to students.

Most of them are lazy.

Waiting for someone else: the teachers, the college, the advertising industry, to give them a brief, put their book together, find them a job.

So when a student asks me to lecture at their college my response is usually the same: what’s in it for me?

You’re about to go into advertising, what we do is persuade people into doing what we want.

You want me to come and lecture, so do something to persuade me.

But most of them don’t.

Because they can’t be bothered.

It’s too much like hard work because it involves thinking.

The level of response I’ve got so far is as follows.

One lecturer said his students would buy my book.

One student offered me a free coffee.

One student offered me a free beer.

Another student sent me a £20 note.

That’s the level of effort they put into investigating what might persuade me, that’s their level of creativity.

Give him something free.

The first thought.

The first cab off the rank.

And when that doesn’t work they give up, because they can’t be bothered to think any further.

And they expect to be successful in advertising with  ‘we can’t be bothered’ level thinking.

That’s why I don’t lecture to students much anymore.

They can’t be bothered, I can’t be bothered.

But there was one ex-student who joined the debate.

He wrote to me on Twitter and quoted me back to myself.

“When you teach others you teach yourself” – Dave Trott.

If he had still been a student you bet I would have gone along to lecture at his college.

Because he demonstrated he cared enough to research his subject.

He persuaded me I could make a difference, to him at least, by showing he was listening to what I was saying.

He was paying attention, showing me I wasn’t wasting my time.

If he’d still been a student that would have persuaded me to go along to his college and lecture.

But he wasn’t a student anymore, because he had a good job at a good agency.


See, unlike most students, he had a job because he was the sort of person who could be bothered.