In this interview, we discuss why “creativity is the new literacy” and how you can unlock your own creative genius to create the life you want to live. Most people are completely wrong about what they think creativity is and how to be more creative. We dispel the myths about creative work and show you how to build your creative muscle so that you can create breakthroughs, find your calling, and live your dream life with our guest Chase Jarvis.
Chase Jarvis is a photographer, director, and social artist. He is the CEO of CreativeLive and works with major brands like Nike, Pepsi, and more. His personal and fine artwork has caught the attention of everyone from mainstream audiences to art critics across the globe. He is the author of the popular books Seattle 100, The Best Camera Is The One That's With You, and the soon to be released Creative Calling.
Why “Creativity is the new literacy” and what that means for your career and life
The transition between the Renaissance and the Dark Ages
Creativity is everything. Creativity is not just art. It’s not just painting. Creativity is the driving factor behind being successful today.
What is creativity? Putting two things together to form something new and useful.
Fundamental lessons of creativity:
(1) There is creativity in every person
(2) Creativity is learnable. It’s like a muscle. The more you practice it, the better you get.
(3) By creating in small ways every day, you create a compounded skill set that can apply to anything in your life.
You have agency over creating your own life.
Humans are naturally creative machines.
Creativity is the #1 most sought after characteristic of world-class CEOs
Creativity is a superpower and it’s something that we all possess.
Creativity is such an important skill set - in today’s world there’s so much noise, so much new information - stepping back and applying creativity is more important than ever
The more that you study people who have become successful, the more you realize that you can’t follow the traditional narrative of business school
The school system has failed us - it’s a modern-day factory that hurts creativity.
4 Step Process To Live Your Dream Life
Imagine what’s possible
Designing a system that can deliver that imagined result
Executing against that goal
Awareness: spreading the results and helping others understand what you did
Find your calling, find your path, and make your life effortless
Once you become creative, you start seeing creative opportunities everywhere - you can’t unsee them.
Never tell yourself “I’m not creative” - everyone has the ability to be creative
“Creativity is an infinite resource, the more you use the more you get” - Maya Angelou
"Shitty first drafts” are the path towards creativity
There’s so much untapped reactivity in the world, so much untapped potential - you have to realize your own untapped potential and unleash it.
To uncover your calling, start pulling threads - it’s not a direct journey, it’s an indirect adventure
Become creative is about a mindset shift - and it’s a shift you’re capable of making right now
Don’t be the next "so and so” be the first YOU!
Entrepreneurship is alchemy, part science part art
Science, productivity, achievement etc - they all boil down to developing the skillset of creativity
Your brain evolved to keep you alive, NOT to keep you happy! Your mind short circuits into fear in situations where it shouldn’t
Homework: Find something that you can make a habit for 10 days that would meet your own definition of creativity, and do it!
Homework: Think of more things in your life as CREATIVE ACTS
"Make art, and while everyone else is judging your art, make more." -Andy Warhol
Success is not a map. It’s a compass. You have to walk that direction, navigate the obstacles, and figure it out along the way. Just start.
Thank you so much for listening!
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This week's episode of The Science of Success is presented by Dr. Aziz Gazipura's Confidence University!
You can learn to confidently connect with others, be bold, feel proud of who you are, and create the life you truly deserve!
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Want To Dig In More?! - Here’s The Show Notes, Links, & Research
The Tim Ferriss Show - “Fear-Setting: The Most Valuable Exercise I Do Every Month” by Tim Ferriss
FStoppers - “Chase Jarvis Shares His Inspirational Photography Journey” by Tim Behuniak
Get in Media - “Sharper Image: Photographer Chase Jarvis” By Christina Couch
The Evergrey - “5 tips from Seattleite Chase Jarvis on winning Seattle’s creative scene” by Sara Gentzler
Forbes - “Skin In The Game: Chase Jarvis, CEO Of CreativeLive” by Jordan Bishop
“Chase Jarvis: How He Became The Photographer Everyone Wants To Work With” by Dan Schawbel
Berman Graphics - “Chase Jarvis Interview” by Chris Maher and Larry Berman
Geekwire - “Photographer Chase Jarvis partners with Apple to create Photo Lab to teach the craft in 500 stores” By Kurt Schlosser
Austin Kleon - “Going to church with Chase Jarvis” (would he be a good guest for the show?)
[Podcast] Unmistakable Creative - Reconciling Your Creativity and Your Identity with Chase Jarvis
[Podcast] Design Matters - Design Matters with Debbie Millman: Chase Jarvis
[Podcast] The School of Greatness - CHASE JARVIS ON CREATIVITY AND THE ART OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Chase’s YouTube Channel
CreativeLive YouTube Channel
Accidental Creative - “Create Work That Lasts (Interview for Chase Jarvis LIVE)” by Todd Henry
Tom Bilyeu - Chase Jarvis on the Dangers of Playing it Safe
DigitalRev TV - Chase Jarvis, Lego Camera - DigitalRev TV
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
[Book Site] Creative Calling
Seattle 100: Portrait of a City (Voices That Matter) by Chase Jarvis
[Study] IBM 2010 Global CEO Study: Creativity Selected as Most Crucial Factor for Future Success
[00:00:04.4] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to The Science of Success. Introducing your host, Matt Bodnar.
[0:00:11.8] MB: Welcome to the Science of Success; the number one evidence-based growth podcast on the internet with more than four million downloads and listeners in over a hundred countries.
In this interview, we discuss why creativity is the new literacy and how you can unlock your own creative genius to create the life you want to live. Most people are completely wrong about what they think creativity is and how to be more creative. We dispel these myths about creative work and show you how to build your own creative muscle, so that you can have innovative breakthroughs, find your calling and live your dream life with our guest, Chase Jarvis.
Are you a fan of the show and have you been enjoying the content that we put together for you? If you have, I would love it if you signed up for our e-mail list. We have some amazing content on there, along with a really great free course that we put a ton of time into called How To Create Time for What Matters Most In Your Life.
If that sounds exciting and interesting and you want a bunch of other free goodies and giveaways along with that, just go to successpodcast.com. You can sign up right on the homepage. That’s successpodcast.com. Or if you’re on your phone right now, all you have to do is text the word “smarter”, that’s S-M-A-R-T-E-R to the number 44-222.
In our previous episode, we discussed how our traditional education system has given us the wrong perspectives on how learning actually works. It's so easy to fall into the trap of looking for and waiting for the perfect step-by-step formula, but it's actually the ability to flexibly experiment that empowers you to be successful in learning and really anything in life. We share exactly how you can apply these lessons and much more with our previous guest, Scott Young. If you want to hack your learning and become an ultra-learner, listen to our previous episode.
Now, for our interview with Chase.
[0:02:13.0] MB: Today, we have another awesome guest on the show, Chase Jarvis. Chase is a photographer, director and social artist. He's the CEO of CreativeLive and works with major brands like Nike, Pepsi and many more. His personal and fine art work has caught the attention of everyone from mainstream audiences to art critics across the globe. He's the author of the popular books Seattle 100, The Best camera Is The One That's With You, and the upcoming Creative Calling. Chase, welcome to the Science of Success.
[0:02:42.4] CJ: Hey, thanks a lot for having me on the show. Excited to be here.
[0:02:45.1] MB: Well, we're super excited to have you on the show today. I love the theme and the ideas around Creative Calling, and I can't wait to dig into this. One of the ideas that you open up this conversation with that I think is such an interesting concept is this notion as you put it, that creativity is the new literacy. Tell me a little bit about that.
[0:03:04.6] CJ: I think in order to understand that, let's look back at literacy, right? Literacy, there was a time when literacy, or the training of the ability to read and write was just reserved for clergy, for the wealthy and royalty, for example. What they found after years of that was like, “Wait a minute. This population is smarter. They're able to communicate. Their infant mortality is lower and longevity is longer.” Basically, they got a bunch of good data to talk science terms that said how powerful literacy was.
It created things ultimately like science, because prior to then, you had no way of writing down your experiments and checking them, validating them. In short, it was a huge catapult for human culture. The funny thing about it was that because it had been limited, there was like, “Okay, well what's going to – how do we change this?” Typesetting was very laborious. A book would take years to make. There normally would be one copy of them, because it was all handwritten.
Then when typesetting and the Gutenberg Press came out, what happened? This was the catapult for literacy. It made literacy infinitely more widespread. The benefits that I'd mentioned for that small population then were extended to so many people. In a sense, prior to the Gutenberg press was literally known as the Dark Ages. After, it was literally known as the Renaissance. Now you can only connect these dots looking backwards. People weren't in the Renaissance calling it the Renaissance. Now that we have this perspective that we have on history and science we can say, “Oh, my gosh. Look at the human flourishing that happened as literacy expanded across the globe.”
When I say creativity is the new literacy, I think we're at a time right now, a cultural paradigm shift where creativity has historically been just associated with art, right? Creativity equals painting. What we know to be true is creativity is everything. Look around everything you see, has creativity in its manufacture and as its basis for being in the world; the chair you're sitting in, the shoes on your feet, the car, the plane you're flying in. Wherever you are in the world right, now, you're surrounded by human creativity.
In fact, if you look at the definition of creativity, the one that I use in the book and one that's reasonably assumed in most circles is that just, it's putting two things together that used to not go together to form something new and useful.
If you start to think of creativity in that broader sense, not creativity like art, I call that small scene creativity, but creativity big scene, like the connecting of ideas to make new and useful things. First of all, that definition starts to go okay, cool. Then there's a whole new set of people who can identify as creative. A fundamental principle that I believe in the book, it's actually there are three ones that's pretty simple to follow. It's a very simple logical argument.
Number one is that there's creativity in every person. If you can assume that definition that I just shared with you, you just ask any first grade class, right? Who wants to come to the front of the room and draw me a picture? Every single hand goes up. That's our native state. We are creating machines, right? It's what separates us from all the other species on the planet. It's why we can make tools and create things like computer and space travel and even just simple fundamental things. Step one is we're all creative.
Step two, it just so happens that creativity is not some special skill that only a few people have. It's a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. The stronger it gets, the more connections and richness you're able to cultivate in your life and bring to bear. Then if you believe one, that everyone's creative and you believe two, that the more you use it, the stronger it gets, then three starts to be self-evident, which is by creating in small ways every day, whether it's a meal, playing the guitar, building a family, putting a presentation together at work, all these are creative acts that in doing those on a regular basis and thinking of them as creative, what you start to do is develop this muscle that helps you understand that you have agency over your own life. That this is, you can create your life.
Yes, writing a song, or making meals and thinking of them as creative literally helps you unlock the creativity that's possible for your life. If you go back to your opening question, creativity is the new literacy, we're at a time where creativity is becoming recognized for the thing that's basically starting to have its day in the sun. This is not about moving to Paris, it's not about wearing a beret, it's not about painting, it is about identifying that this isn't faculty that you have, and that you can use it to cultivate the agency in your life to create the living and the life that you love for yourself.
[0:08:18.5] MB: So many great points. I can't wait to dig into a number of these different ideas, because there's so much value in all the things that you just shared. Even this meta-point, I think is so important to just reiterate, which is this idea that in today's world, there's so much noise, there's so many things going on, there's so many new pieces of information. At the same time, you have so many people who live in these silos, where they only know about, or focus on a few narrow things, this ability to be a creative thinker is in many ways in today's society almost a superpower.
[0:08:52.9] CJ: It is. I think, somebody did a global survey of CEOs and creativity was the number one most sought-after characteristic. Not three, not 10, not 84. Number one. It's because again, we're starting to understand we've been sold this lie basically and there's no evil genius selling us this lie, but just it didn't fit for the last cultural paradigms of production and manufacture and we didn't want creative people. We wanted people who were going to go to work at the factory.
Now that we're in a complete different era, we're starting to understand that this creativity is it literally is a superpower and it is something that we all possess. Part of our getting reorienting, not thinking and the culture narratives around it are – that's one of the reasons that I had to do the book. I had the book in my mind for a long time, but aggregating elements and pieces of it, but it just – I had to put it out in the world, because A, it was driving me crazy. B, it's great timing for people to recognize that they can harness this power. It's not about giving up anything in their life to get all of the benefits of creativity.
[0:10:07.9] MB: You make another great point a second ago about CEOs as well, right? You're obviously a successful entrepreneur. It's funny to me, the most important business skills and this is a belief that I fundamentally have and that's really what drives this entire podcast is that the most important skills to be successful in business are not things that they teach you in business school and in business textbooks. They're things like creativity.
[0:10:31.6] CJ: Yeah. That's part of what I'm trying to call BS on, honestly, is that – look, that these cultural narratives that they feed you in business school, or that are just the idea of a starving artist and all these things that are tired clichés, the more that you talk to people who have become successful, this pronounces itself, the more you realize that the people who have been giving you guidance all along; your parents, your spouse, your career counselor, your peer group, whatever, they're not trying to not make you be creative, they are scared for you because they don't actually understand what is good for you. They don't have a lens, the same lens that you have for yourself, which is your intuition.
It's understandable. It comes from a place of love. It's easy for us to see when we're looking at our child, or someone we care deeply about, doing something that we don't understand, or we think is risky, we try and talk them out of it. When we start to change the cultural narrative and you start to realize that, “Wait a minute, all the people I look up to, all the people that inspire me, or that motivate me, or – what did they do?” You start deconstructing the lives of those people.
I started doing this with my own life when I was like, “Wait. When am I jazzed and energized and it's like, when I'm in tune with what I'm supposed to be doing in the world, when I'm truly living my calling and I’m listening to who I am, the unapologetically me.” Then I felt this flow. I thought things start to happen for me, not to me. Just so happens when I looked at my life and the life of a 150, or 200 of the world's top performers that I've either had on my podcast, or that a part of CreativeLive, there's a really simple pattern, which is that this is actually the dominant trait. What we're living in is a culture that is telling us stories about what was required for the last era, that the school system it's not really trying to be best for everybody, it's an average, right?
It's a factory. You put widgets in one end and you need to move them through, not because it's what's best for kids and not throwing stones at this as an evil thing, it's doing the best that it can. The reality is it's not organized around maximizing what it's like for you, Matt. It's taking an average. The average number of people feel the average of this. If we get people an average job with average lives and average salaries, an average – that's what it's trying to spit out.
Most of the people that I know, they don't want to be an average of everybody else's data. I'm not advocating for that. I'm advocating just the opposite, that you should be a 100% you unapologetically. For you, there is no average, because average requires a data set of more than one. When you start to recognize that there is just one you and that you know in your intuition, you've felt it before you've heard this call, what I call the calling and you've been on your path at a time where life felt effortless and what was that like? It was amazing.
I'm here to say that that's available to you all the time. In fact, the world's most successful people, what they're doing is they're tuning into that calling and they're listening to what's inside of them and they're following a very simple paradigm that I lay out of the book, which is this basically a four-step process; they're imagining as possible, whether you're Richard Branson, or you're building businesses, or nation states, or a science experiment, or anything, you're imagining what's possible, you're designing a system that can deliver you the results you imagine, whether it's a set of daily habits, or an experiment plan, or a workout regimen, or anything, you're executing against that goal and then you're spreading the results and helping other people understand what you were able to do, or recognizing it yourself.
That's basically the framework of the book is four principles idea. IDEA. I just deconstructed my own success and the successful people around me and was like, “Oh, man. Everybody's doing this thing and none of it looks like what we’re counseled to do.”
[0:14:30.6] MB: Yeah, such a great point. We talk a lot of on this show about how our school system in many ways has failed us and really hasn't set people up to be creative thinkers, to think outside the box, to be innovators. You're right, it's not necessarily a malicious thing, it's really just a byproduct of the way we designed our educational system. It's a 100-years-old. We have to take that agency into our own hands and start to cultivate these skill sets and these abilities ourselves.
[0:14:58.4] CJ: Yeah. Basically, like you said, there's no evil genius that's trying to keep you down, although that the best-kept secrets when people find them, they tend to hoard them, which is something I think that the internet is changing and that's why information is now moving faster than ever. That's why you're seeing a lot of change in the world right now. We can't just throw rocks at the school system. We can't just throw rocks at our – I mean, It would be easier to throw rocks, but wait a minute, if you go to school and you get a good job, or if you go to a good college and you get a good job and if you get a good job, you work 40 years, you get the gold watch. That was the dominant paradigm for 60 years, 90 years, during the start of the Industrial Revolution to basically not all that long ago.
If you ask any scientist if that's true, it's very clear that that's not the future. That is certainly, and that's not to say that that's bad, because there are lots of ways to have a rich existence in that similar paradigm. There are jobs that are still built around that, but it's a fiction to think that it's good for everybody and that you, because you're part of everybody, should follow that path.
[0:16:07.4] MB: I want to come back to and unpack a couple of things you said earlier, because I think they're really important. Tell me a little bit more about this idea that everybody innately has the ability to be creative.
[0:16:20.6] CJ: Again, just go to any first grade classroom, who wants to come at the front of the room and draw me a picture? Every single hand goes up. The introverted kids, the extroverted kids, because we are creative machines. It’s in the same way that we are programmed for language. We're programmed for creating. It's literally one of the key differentiators between us and all the other species. When you start to acknowledge that, “Wait a minute. If I can expand the definition of creativity where I can unequivocally see myself in there, versus being a cork in the tide, versus being told what I am, or what I'm not, or that –”
Of course, you can have different strengths. I go back to my second grade classroom, “Miss Kelly, I'd loved –” In second grade, I loved performing for the class. I used to perform magic tricks. I did a comic book that I released every week, a comic strip rather to the kids in my class. I had a little stand-up routine, a stand-up joke routine that I used to do.
Then one day in a student-teacher conference I heard miss Kelly tell my mom that, “Chase is way better at sports than he is at art.” As a second a second grader, what do we do? Well first of all, we’re social animals. Then you layer in the second grade part and it's like, it just becomes obvious that, “Oh, I just want to fit in, so I'm going to do whatever the people around me tell me I'm good at or not good at and we get labeled.”
Remember in the previous universe of education and learning and employment, it was very counterproductive to be “creative,” right? Because that means you're going to challenge to the status quo, you're going to ask like, “Wait a minute. I don't learn like this. I'm a visual learner, or I am a tactile learner.” There's different learning modalities. Just to be creative and to not just sit in your chair, or sit down and shut up and use a number-two pencil.
It just wasn't good for the system and it starts to be pretty easily discovered, or uncovered rather that what's good for the system is not necessarily good for the individuals in the system. It's just easy, because that's the way we do it around here.
Revisiting that same big cultural paradigms at work and around school, if you can start to harness this creativity, acknowledge that there is this creativity inside of you, and you start to put it to use in small ways, again, this is not like it's a surprisingly simple ask that I'm proposing. It’s just start creating small things on a daily basis. You're already doing it. Just call it what it is and call it creativity. Then when you start to see that it – you start to see it once or twice, then you can't unsee it. You start to see it everywhere. When you realize the chair you're sitting in was first a drawing in an artist's brain, before it was ever engineered, before it was ever built, there was a drawing, it was a concept, it was a creative exercise that someone went through.
The same thing is true with literally everything around you. If you can start to look at that, it's a pretty – it's not a leap. You no longer have to say like, “I'm not creative.” I give an example of my mom. She was 65, had been believed her whole life that she wasn't at all that creative. She’s like, “I’m really disciplined and I'm focused and I can get a lot of things done.” More of a producer and a doer and a little bit more left-brained say, and which is also not true. Well, I won't go down that path.
Many people in our culture, they believe that they weren't, because they were labeled something, or got a handshake, or a grade, or a high-five, or something for doing one thing and not doing it early in life, and that helped shape their view of themselves and a narrative and a story that they told themselves. It was useful, because we do have different strengths, we have different learning modalities, so you lean into that.
What gets toxic is when you start believing that you're not creative, especially in this next era where creativity is the new literacy as we just talked about. It can be really, really dangerous to not be able to invent and reinvent. If you go back to my mom and she started – I gave her an iPhone and I developed an iPhone app in 2009 that went on to be the app of the year. Put that app on her phone and she started taking pictures. She didn't have to get a bunch of oil paints, or moved to Paris or anything. She just started taking pictures on her morning walk.
She went in a matter of weeks, not days, but not months, weeks. Saw herself as creative and realized, “Oh, my God.” I’m like, “These are great pictures.” She started sharing them with her friends, getting amazing feedback. I watched it changed how she cooked. I watched it changed where she wanted to travel, how she dressed, he way she moved day-to-day through the world. Not everyone is going to have this pronounced effect. For those of you who believe that you're not creative because you're identifying creativity with your ability to draw. I am a terrible driver, but I'm a world-class creator. It's just we got to find the thing that we're supposed to be doing.
If you can understand that in doing small things that are creative, that you get to then use your creativity to create your life, it's just creativity at a larger scale. Same muscles, different output, different outcome, it starts to get really exciting.
[0:21:53.1] MB: That's such a great point, this notion that just because you don't paint or create music or whatever, doesn't mean you're not creative. There's so many avenues, whether it's business, or –
[0:22:04.8] CJ: Coding. Coding. I’ll list it.
[0:22:07.4] MB: Yeah, that's great. I mean, that's a perfect example. All these things that seem very analytical are really incredible opportunities to be creative.
[0:22:15.6] CJ: One person who's writing code, are they putting new ideas together to form something new and useful? Again, this definition that I'm putting your own creativity is not claiming something radical. It's really just an undoing a simple undoing of a cultural narrative that became like, “Oh, starving artist,” all these toxic beliefs. I'm just undoing those things, even just for a moment to be able to shine the light on what it really is. Then when you start to look at everything around you, everything, no exceptions, was designed and created by someone probably not smarter than you, it starts to get interesting.
[0:22:54.0] MB: I want to talk a little bit more about some of the – I love the analogy you used earlier that creativity is like a muscle. The more you practice, the better you get. One of the big breakthroughs that I had in my life a couple years ago is I was feeling stuck in my business and feeling I couldn't do anything and that nothing was working. I started to realize that I needed to hone my own creative muscle and built a daily creative routine that I try to do three to four times a week, to just jumpstart my creativity. I'm curious, what are some of those things that people can do to start to build that muscle every day?
[0:23:25.5] CJ: Well, I think you would be able to answer this as well as I could, so I'd love to hear what you went on to do. I'll go first. It really is just a simple daily habit, like the example that I gave with my mom, or writing whatever. You can often look backwards on what inspired you as a kid, was it drawing? Was it painting? Was it playing music? Did you give up the guitar, because that bully told you you sucked and now the guitar is in a closet? Dust that thing off and just strum a few bars. You're going to suck, but it's really the practice of practicing that begins to unlock all these things.
In the book, I talk very, very crisply about a set of things that stimulate your creativity. It's no surprises here, it's a lot about taking care of yourself. Words matter. When you say that I'm not creative, you really need to start undoing that. You're saying like, “I'm not very good at drawing,” that's fine, but you're not not creative. Wait. Yeah, you're not not creative. To me, this daily practice, even if it's five minutes of writing in the morning before you move on to your day, or as the example I gave with my mom, just taking pictures at lunch time, it's usually a few things in your past that you can look back on and say, “You know what? I got a lot of joy when I did that.”
Just start to pursue your curiosity as much as anything. Lo and behold – I mean, again, we've already given the example of writing code, or there's a million ways to practices in small lightweight ways. I'm really just juxtaposing this with this again, this tired cultural narrative that you need to move to Paris, you need to change your lifestyle, you have to downgrade X or Y, you have to get a beret, have a new set of creative artsy friends, none of that's true. You just have to start creating.
Even if you're going to make dinner tonight, why not use a different? Why not drive home a slightly different way than you used to drive home? Why not just infuse a couple of twists in something that you're already doing to create maybe a slightly different outcome. Then repeat. When you start to do that and you start to realize again, this agency that I'm – that's the macro deal there is of course, it's fun to draw and paint and write code and cook and a lot of these things, but the real unlock is that and you start to see how simple activities like that can awaken the fact that, “Wait a minute. I don’t have to be in this job. I don't need these people around me that are toxic. I can do anything I want.”
The fact of the people that I admire, that I respect, that I want to be around more, this is how they are doing it. Their lives didn't just happen. No, they had a vision for this out. They imagined it. They designed a path to get there. They executed on that vision. Now you know about it, because they're very happy to share their successes and failures and tell a story, so the rest of us can get onboard with wait a minute, this is available to me right now. It doesn't happen overnight. It wasn't overnight for my mom. It also doesn't have to take 20 years. In small daily ways, you start to realize you have agency over your life in the biggest way possible.
[0:26:49.5] MB: For me, it was such a simple exercise. I would basically keep a list of – and this is a great example of how some – it can be something that's completely non-artistic in a traditional sense. I would basically keep a list of business problems, or challenges I was facing. They could even be things in my personal life. When I get up in the morning, I'll just put one of those problems there and try to brainstorm 10 ideas to solve it. I don't care how bad those ideas are. Over time, you start to really refine that and get so much better at creating all kinds of novel and interesting breakthroughs that you would never have thought of before.
[0:27:22.3] CJ: So true. That's a great example. That's the part that I mentioned, when you do it a little bit, it's like, Maya Angelou has a great quote, ‘Creativity is an infinite resource. The more you use, the more you get’. I’m paraphrasing that a little bit. She priced that prettier. When you start to look at it as a muscle, it's not – it's a habit, not a skill. It's a way of thinking. It's a way of operating, in the same way that you just pointed out that, “Oh, my gosh.”
Then when you have a breakthrough, you realize that the only reason I had that breakthrough was because I told myself I was going to wake up in the morning and write down 10 ideas. It's the process, right? It's not because you were struck by lightning. Then a funny thing happens, you start doing this process every morning and it starts happening, more lightning.
That's to me, it's working out, right? First couple times you work out, how do you feel afterwards? You feel horrible, just over, hurts, you felt awkward when you were doing it. That's the same way it's going to feel the first couple times you – if you haven't thought of yourself as creative. Do it for 10 days in a row, just like the gym, right? If you can get through that 10th day, what's the New Year's resolution concept is 90% of people quit after eight and a half days or something like that.
Just allow yourself as you clearly did to express yourself. At first it's going to feel stupid. Then I'll turn to a quote from Anne Lamott, who wrote a book called Bird by Bird, which is ‘I only get good writing, because I write shitty first drafts’. Shitty first drafts, that's the path. If you can write a shitty first draft, as we all can, a second draft is going to be a little bit better, next draft is to be a little bit better and voila, you start to both uncork this superpower that you have. You also can look backwards and say, “Wow, I'm getting better.”
[0:29:25.7] MB: Hey, I'm here real quick with confidence expert Dr. Aziz Gazipura to share another lightning round insight with you. Aziz, how can our listeners use science to get more dates with people they really want?
[0:29:39.5] AG: I love that question. The answer is the science of confidence. Whenever we're struggling, we want a date, we're afraid to put ourselves out there, we're worried on some level that we’re going to get a negative response. If you didn't have that worry, if you knew that this person you're going to ask out was going to say yes and be excited to go out with you, we'd all be doing it without hesitation.
The thing that stops us is anxiety, is fear, is self-doubt. That is a confidence issue. If we build our confidence, all of a sudden, we'll have way more opportunities to put ourselves out there and to date. Sometimes we think, “What's the pickup line? What's the thing I should say? How do I approach the person?” We get so focused on the how and what we want to do is we want to take a step back and say, “How do I actually change what's going on inside of me to feel more confident?”
There's so many ways we could do that and I have a course called Confidence University. We have a whole course on dating mastery. One major tidbit out of that one is right now, you have a story in your mind about why you're not attractive, why someone wouldn't be over the moon to go on date with you. You want to find that story and take it out, uproot it.
Right now, think about why are you not attractive and how can you change that story to see yourself as someone who's actually highly desirable? What are your qualities? What do you bring to a date or a relationship that would make someone love spending time with you? If you get more clear on that, all of a sudden, a lot of your anxiety and fear are going to evaporate.
[0:31:06.1] MB: Do you want to be more confident and get more dates? Visit successpodcast.com/confidence, that’s successpodcast.com/confidence to sign up for Confidence University and finally master dating.
[0:31:21.3] MB: It's funny, Dean Simonton, who’s a psychology researcher who's done a lot of work on creativity and a lot of his research was popularized by Adam Grant, talks about the eminent creators, people like Mozart and Einstein and all across various different disciplines and the single biggest thing that differentiated them was not the quality of their compositions. It was just the quantity. The Mozarts of the world would have 500, 600, 800 compositions, where the average composer would have – I think, the actual, the mode was one composition, but then the average was four or something.
It's the same thing, right? You have to start with these shitty first drafts. You have to be willing to just produce bad ideas, put yourself out there to be okay with that and that's how you start to really flex that muscle and build that skill.
[0:32:07.3] CJ: Yeah. Believe it or not, this is – you can approach this reasonably scientifically, reasonably from a process, right? You're putting work out every day. You're sitting down for five minutes to write, you're sitting down – you're taking a few photographs on your walk, you're cooking a special meal every week. It's very simple to start to employ this and the results are –they catch it a little bit by surprise. If you think of it in terms of the volume, there's a pocketful story that about a ceramics teacher that did a all right, half the class has graded on volume, not quality, volume. Literally, the number of pieces that you create.
The other half of class, you have one chance to make a masterpiece. Your entire grade is on one pot. As the legend goes, you know where this is going to end up, right? Not only did the group that was created by volume, not only did they create whatever, 20 times more work, but that work was better. Of course, right now you’re going like, “Okay, great. Yeah, yeah, I get it.” Why don't we apply that to all this stuff that I'm talking about?
We look at our first halting attempt at figure drawing, or writing a poem, or that short story and then we go, “Oh, my God. I'm terrible.” Think if we applied that to other areas of our life, like walking. Okay, if you're a able-bodied child and you're walking, at what point you fall down your 26th time and your parents go, “Yeah. Yeah. Just guess she's not a walker.” It just doesn't happen. It's absurd, right?
To me, this book and this philosophy, it's very much the same. I'm not asking it to be a world-class sprinter, but I know you can walk. You're an able-bodied child. If we apply that to other areas like cooking a meal, building a business, solving some of these business problems, for example as you did, it starts to get cool and you start to get a little confidence. You don't need to trade in your set of friends, but you do need to acknowledge that you have this superpower and that the superpower is capable of some pretty impressive things, because it's the foundation roughly of everything.
I could be couching this material in personal development, or self-help, or even science. I just chose it to couch it in creativity, because I look at the current paradigm of creativity is so far from accurate and just toxic, honestly. That let's reframe the narrative and understand it for what it really is and empower the largest possible population to take advantage of this gift that we have, this ability to create. At the end of the day, go back to my second-grade teacher who told me I wasn't very good at art.
It was only through some real serious tragedy in my life that I'll just say someone very close to you died and I was given their cameras, that I ended up getting back into my tapping into that creative part of me that I'd given up, largely given up as a second grader. It just so happens that these big traumatic moments in our life, the death of someone close to us. Or it could be positive, like the birth of a child, they cause us to reflect and whatnot. They can be useful and those moments were useful for me. I would love it for us to not have to go through that trauma, not have to have a big life moment to look at this, like what are we doing with our lives? Just recognize that this is a muscle that we're all creative. This is a muscle. If I use this muscle, then I started to unlock potential.
[0:35:52.6] MB: There's so much untapped creativity in the world. There's so much untapped potential in the world. I think in many ways, that's what we're both trying to do with our various projects and this podcast, the book and everything you've done is to help everybody realize that you have this amazing potential within yourself. It's all about unleashing it.
[0:36:13.7] CJ: Mm-hmm. You nailed it. It's not really complicated. It's funny, I go back to just having to get this idea. I'm not a fast writer. I've done a couple books, they're largely photo books, but I knew this had to be a book, just because of the depth of the idea. Also, it's a great vehicle, a little bit of a Trojan Horse for getting into pop culture and getting to put your ideas in a way that was regularly – people regularly consume these ideas. You talked about Adam Grant and others.
It's like, gosh, this is so simple, but it really is so powerful. I'm seeing it being put to work everywhere. It's ultimately not radical. It's very timely, but it's not radical. All the people that you respect and look up to that have carved their own path and done cool things and you're like, “Wow, if I could just whatever.” This is all they're doing. They're finding that voice that we all have inside of us. This is the metaphor I use in the book is the calling. It's not some calling to necessarily like, “I'm going to be an astronaut.” It’s like, “I'm more inclined to this than that. Despite my aunt, or my brother, cousin whatever wanted me to do the other thing. I'm going to listen to my gut.”
You start pulling on this thread or as the other metaphor is walking on this path, again you start to realize that these, even if I go two steps forward and one step back, nothing is wasted. All of these things you start to feel in your own – you start to settle into who you really are. The ability to unapologetically be you is just a very powerful vehicle. There are people out there right now are like, “Oh, man. It sounds nice, but I got a mortgage and I'm behind on two car payments and I got two kids and I got –” Awesome. I'm not asking that you put yourself in a position where you can't continue to provide in the way you have. I'm just asking you to carve out, not even necessarily time, because in the example that I gave with my mom, this was on her daily walk that she started taking pictures.
Really carve out both language to talk to yourself, a mindset and a belief and a practice. It doesn't have to be life-changing. You don't have to put all your chips in and take out a second mortgage on the house to start this business. In doing these small things, you'll realize the power that I'm talking about. It's not radical at all. It's pretty simple.
[0:38:46.6] MB: That dovetails with something you touched on earlier, which I thought was really powerful and insightful, which is this notion of being unapologetically yourself and not trying to be the next Chase Jarvis, or the next so-and-so, but being the first you.
[0:39:04.5] CJ: Why is that surprising, right? Of course, it's not surprising at all. When our culture looks at folks, they – Bill Gates just taking them out of the blue, didn't go to school, or dropped out of school to do the Microsoft. If you're going to tell your parents you’re dropping at Harvard, are they're going to go, “Sweet. Go for it.” Bill Gates did it. Now if you're Sara Blakely and you’re like, “Look, they've rejected the ideas for Spanx so many times. Why are you still continuing to make these undergarments?” That's normally what you're going to hear, but she continued to press on.
When we continue to see this paradigm, people just want you to be safe, they want you to be more like them, they want you to be an average, because they know it's predictable. When you say you're going to go make your first film, or you're going to drop out of college to pursue a career in fill in the blank, it sets people Spidey-sense off, because even sometimes they couldn't do it and they were shown a particular path that they know and that's how they're trying to steer you. It doesn't come from a bad place.
Again, it's not a radical idea, especially if you look around for evidence. Again, the idea that you have to bet it all in black to be the next entrepreneur that only you can be, when you start studying entrepreneurship, the science of it, because it is – it's alchemy, right? Part science, part art. You realize people like Richard Branson, .oh, he was actually protecting the downside. He didn't bet it all on black. He bought the first 747 that he bought used from Boeing, he pre-negotiated the ability to sell it back to them, so he wasn't betting a 100 million on a new airplane. He was, “I'm just making these numbers up.” He bet 90 million, or sorry, bet 10 million, because he had it pre-negotiated, so it was going to cost him 10 million. If you're saying, “Yeah, but who's got 10 million?” You're not Richard Branson. That's fine.
It’s like, there are these dominant myths and paradigms that are in our culture and I'm trying to debunk them, make a very simple point and get you to start to – you can start today. That's the number one thing that I'm trying to get people out of is that this is going to happen later, or tomorrow, or sometime in the future.
Now for the people that know that they're creative and they might just not double down on it, then great, you already know what I'm talking about, great. For the people who are like, “Ooh, this is new. I'm going to lean into that.” For the people who still don't understand, look, I get it. It's going to take some undoing. Just start to look around the number of people that have a side hustle, 50 million Americans are going to have a side hustle by 2020. That's half of the working population of our country. This is not a weird thing, this is mainstream.
If you're building a business on the side, that's wildly creative. You start to see these things coming out of the shadows, it starts to make more sense to you and that's fine. Sometimes we need social proof. It's just you've got to kill the narrative that it's risky and that you need to be a second-rate Richard Branson, instead of being a first-rate you. You have this stuff in you. You were talked out of it. I'm just saying go back to the source. It's all in there.
[0:42:22.1] MB: The funny thing about that is if you come all the way back to this whole in a very meta way everything we've been talking about, the excuses, the things you're telling yourself now, somebody who's listening that you can't do it, or you don't have the time, you don’t have the resources, whatever, the solution to all of those things is creativity.
[0:42:41.8] MB: Yeah. That's again, you could couch this in science, or human productivity, or potential, or whatever. To me, those are all actually layers that are on top of creativity. When you just boil it down to its most basics, it is we're creating machines. We do it all the time. Let's just acknowledge. Can put your own polish on it, your own spin, put it in your own words, or your own way, but just don't say you're not creative, because that's like saying, “I'm only 1/3 human.” It's just not true.
If we can get ourselves, like I talk a lot in the book about the creative mindset. It assumes that you believe that you can change the outcome of your day-to-day, that if you change your behavior, you can create a different outcome than the one you're getting right now. That's also again pretty fundamental assumption. If you don't believe that, I'm not quite sure what you're doing.
If you start to realize that you are the quality of your thoughts, if you're not programming your brain to be able to have the thoughts that you want and to pursue the life that you want, what have you got? You don't got all that much. You start to acknowledge that you're the sum of your thoughts.
You start to realize and I get, I know where all these impulses come from. To root it in science, we're struggling to overcome our biology, right? We have say, a million-year-old organ in our skull called our brain and I call it the brain. It's not your brain, it's not your mind, it's the mind. It's an organ and its job is to keep you alive, not happy. It's confused, because for the past 999,900 years, or whatever whenever Saber-toothed tigers were extinct say, it was gaining the horizon and danger was the Saber-toothed tiger.
Now what it looks like for danger is risky business venture, or likes on Instagram, or if I publish this, I'm going to get laughed at. That's not real fear. You start to do a little what Tim Ferriss calls fear escaping. You say, what's the worst that could happen? Things get pretty silly pretty fast. You realize as you're in this paradigm, mostly because that's what's culturally acceptable, has very little to what you're actually possible, or the real downside, most of which is actually controllable. When you start to look at it through that lens you're like, “Okay, I got this.” That's what the book is trying to do.
[0:45:12.8] MB: For listeners who want to concretely implement some of the things we've talked about today and start to step into having a creative mindset, what would be one action item, or piece of homework that you would give them to begin this journey?
[0:45:28.0] CJ: What's something that you can make a habit for 10 days that you acknowledge, that meets your definition of creativity? I would like it if it was mine, but let's just give you yours. What's something you can do? Just write 10 lines of a story, or a journal that orients you, like morning pages, or whatever, or add some new ingredients to the meal that you've prepared the same way for – and think of it as a creative act.
When you pull your phone out to take a picture of your kid, think of it as a creative act. Then do another one tomorrow. Take 10 pictures ten days in a row of your kid. Think of it as a creative act. That will just awaken this part of you. Wait a minute, this is a – the small shift is actually starting to create a different mindset for me. That's the way to start.
Again, the book will chronicle how to accelerate those things. I like to talk about community and sharing some of these experiences, because as I've said several times, we’re social animals, so there's some good reinforcement there. Stop judging your work. Andy Warhol’s got a great quote. ‘Make art and then everybody else is judging your art, make more’, because it doesn't really matter. What you're trying to do is awaken and strengthen that muscle. The tactic is start.
I'll say one other thing is that we've all got something in there, in our past, or maybe it's even right there on the tip of your tongue, or at the top of your heart, or whatever, that you're not doing that you want to do. Maybe it's transitioning to a new job, maybe it's starting a restaurant, maybe it's trying to teach your kid how to backcountry camp. I don't know what the thing is. Probably what's happening is you're seeing the full realized version of that path.
The thing that I'm talking about, it is not a map. Because a map, what happens with a map? You look at where you are here and then you get the big dotted line that goes around the mountain, blah, blah, blah, and then it ends up this is the big red X is where you want to go. None of the things in life that you look up to the other people who've done them have a map. What it's way more of is a compass. A compass just shows you a direction, right? What's required is you start walking that direction. If you bump into something, you go around it.
It's not about today how do I build the restaurant. Sure, that may be the eventual outcome, but how do I start cooking different, interesting meals? How do I throw a dinner party and instead of just cooking for my family and invite 10 people over? What does it feel like to cook? What does it feel like to cook with a little bit of pressure and can I make it joyful? It's way more a compass than a map. Again, it's just start. Don't have to have the full realized vision. You'll get some information along the way that you might find. I guarantee, you’re going to find it interesting and helpful.
[0:48:28.5] MB: Love the analogy of the compass and a map. Also, the notion of just starting to notice small creative acts in your life that you may not even realize you already exhibiting creativity and starting to shift your identity, being somebody who's more creative.
[0:48:44.4] CJ: Yeah. It's a good way to start. Of course, the book lays out it more, but you don't need that much more to get started. At the end of the day, there's no hokey like, pie in the sky. I'm not trying to sell you three steps to a richer future, or whatever. Just like, okay, this is look backwards in our biology, but look at the people, look left and right, dissect the things in your life where you felt you've been on a path.
You have heard your calling, whether you called it creative, or you called it whatever, you know and you felt good and you're around people that you love doing something you love and it felt good, you felt in that flow state, that's all I'm asking for you to do. Did you want more of that? You should, because it's good stuff. It's powerful medicine. It is the fuel to get you where you want to go.
[0:49:34.6] MB: Chase, where can listeners find you, the book and your work online?
[0:49:38.9] CJ: Oh, gosh. I'm just @ChaseJarvis on the internet, everywhere. C-H-A-S-E-J-A-R-V-I-S. I'm also really excited about CreativeLive which is an online learning platform for people who identify as creator, or entrepreneur, these kinds of ideas. There's tens of millions people on that platform. Creative calling is the website for the book. If you preorder the book, there's a couple of really cool things. There's a class that is normally a 100 bucks that you get for zero at CreativeLive. That's at again, at creativecalling.com.
You’d get the book just anywhere books are sold, all the online retailers and whatnot. I'd love to give any feedback. Shoot it to me online. My ears are open and I'd be excited to find out what your experience is. Again, just some of these very, very simple fundamental steps.
[0:50:28.6] MB: Well Chase, thank you so much for coming on the show, for sharing all this wisdom and knowledge with the listeners. Been fascinating conversation.
[0:50:36.0] CJ: Thank you so much for having me on the show. Big fan. I know we've been talking for a while, been internet friends for a while. I just want to say thanks and I'm super excited about this book. I hope to see some people get some real value. Thanks for having me on the show, man. It means a lot.
[0:50:51.4] MB: Thank you so much for listening to the Science of Success. We created this show to help you our listeners, master evidence-based growth. I love hearing from listeners. If you want to reach out, share your story, or just say hi, shoot me an e-mail. My e-mail is email@example.com. That’s M-A-T-T@successpodcast.com. I’d love to hear from you and I read and respond to every single listener e-mail.
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