I heard this line more than once during my first couple years in the advertising business, right out of college.
I soon found out that it wasn’t enough to produce, to just do your job. To really get ahead, you had to soak up everything around you. Books. Movies. Music. TV programs. Museum shows. It was never ending.
It was also exhausting. I rarely slowed down before midnight. After a couple of years, I was a wreck.
But hey, it was worth it. I learned a lot. While my colleagues stayed in and watched the ball game on TV, I was becoming acquainted with Stravinsky, Picasso and Norman Mailer.
Not that I ever used Stravinsky, Picasso or Norman Mailer in an ad, of course. But all that exposure gave my work a certain depth, which still informs it to this day.
We human beings are sponges to the world around us. That is what we do. That is our nature. And if we lose that, life dries up.