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30 Days of Genius

Lesson 22 of 30

Austin Kleon

Chase Jarvis

30 Days of Genius

Chase Jarvis

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Lesson Info

22. Austin Kleon

Lesson Info

Austin Kleon

Hello everybody how's it going I'm Chase Jarvis, welcome to another episode of Chase Jarvis Live, and this episode, specifically the series is the 30 Days of Genius Series. In this series I sit down with the world's top creatives and entrepreneurs and we extract actionable insights from these people not just some fluffy thing, we get in the real nitty gritty and give you a ton of value. If you're not familiar with this you can learn more at, the number three zero days of genius and we'll tell you everything we need to know. But today you are so lucky because I'm sitting down with the New York Times bestselling author of Newspaper Blackout, Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work and we're gonna sit down and talk about his new project. None other than the amazing Austin Kleon. (upbeat music) (audience applauding) Alright, so good that you're here. I'm so glad to be here, there's no kids screaming. But the weird thing is-- It's like a comfortable couch. We're ...

sitting here, usually, you came up to Seattle to film a show but we're actually in your home town. I wish I was in Seattle, but, Next time, because you're one of my regular go-to inspirations. Can I pick your brain? Yes. No. Yes, sadly. Well I mean it's funny cause you're someone who I know, you put out so much, you put out so much. Can you contextualize that, I put out so much content. Well no I mean content but you're also showing your work right, you're sharing what you do, you're sharing your ideas and stuff and I think sometimes when you're so generous at putting stuff out there, people get the mistaken idea that you're flush with time all the time. Yeah this guy doesn't even work? Where do you think this stuff comes from? And I think it was Derek Sivers who was saying I could go have coffee with you or I could write a blog post that like a bazillion people could see, and so at a certain point you get to this moment, where you're like, what's gonna, use that word scale. What has the most impact? Yeah what can I give that's actually gonna scale and it's gonna mean the most to the most people. The irony is that if I returned all the emails and had coffees, then I wouldn't actually be able to do the thing for which you care about me and my work, which is the work. You wouldn't get so many emails. But I would, this is about you not about me, come on. This is us whining about our email. No whining, there's no whining in Texas. Right away it's us whining. We're in Texas, We can't whine. We should order some barbecue at some point so that we can have some lunch after that but I want to talk about you. So Newspaper Blackout got you going, just so you know, that was a part of the 28 to Make stuff we did on Creative Live, we did a Newspaper Blackout thing and it was awesome. That's awesome. People loved it and if you check out the hashtag 28 to Make, there are a bunch of things that we stole from you and used as inspiration. About your book Newspaper Blackout then Steal Like an Artist, which the last time I had you on the show x years ago we were talking about that book, huge success. I don't think Show Your Work was out. It wasn't. Yeah, yeah. So for those folks who are new to you and your work, why don't we start, Newspaper Blackout's awesome, just go there. It's like the first album, you know. It is. It's like Bleach or something like Nirvana, just kind of like it's weird. I heard of that album. It's kind of noisy, messy, you know, but Steal Like an Artist, yeah, it's the one that people know. Should we go back to the Picasso quote, which is I think certainly influential in that, right? Yeah the funny thing is in all the research on Steal Like an Artist I never found any evidence that Picasso ever said that. Got it. It was TS Eliot. Good artists copy great artist. I know TS Eliot said bad poets copy great poets, steal, and the thing I loved the reason the book starts with the TS Eliot quote is the thing he said that's so important that everyone forgets is the good artist, he welds his theft into a thing which is completely different, he takes these things, but then he transforms it into something of his own, and that's the like an artist part, 'cause a lot of people hear the steal part, oh cool it's good, I'm gonna steal stuff and copy it, no the book is really about the ethos of you take things from the culture around you and you borrow these little bits and pieces but you're like George Lucas, you rip off westerns you rip off Kurosawa you rip off Flash Gordon and then you make Star Wars. Star Wars is this thing that comes out into the culture and really, I mean it changes everything right, he's adding, so Steal Like an Artist was about starting out as a student like George Lucas was. You start out as a student and then you pay tribute or homage to these people who have influenced you and the way that you flatter them is not through imitation but it's through transformation you make it into your own thing. I do like the idea of giving credit, also, I like the sort of overt, what's the other quote, it's like if you steal from one person it's stealing if you steal from everybody it's research. Right, you steal from one author it's plagiarism, steal from 100 authors, it's research. But that's, I feel like most of the, there's a lot of folks that are watching this or listening to it, and they are either trying to go from 0 to 1, or 1 to 10, and they're not at the 10 to 100, sure there's a lot of established artist listeners, but there's a lot of people who are trying to find the courage to get their first step and the thought of stealing, I remember early on in my career like gosh do I have an original idea, I came from white, lower middle class but positive happy family, I have nothing to say, what's my problem, was this, how did you, why stealing, how did you arrive at that being your first book? I just, part of how I got started, we're at South by Southwest, so a lot of what I did at South by Southwest in the early days was I brought my pen and my sketchbook and I would go to panels. The first pass I ever got at South by Southwest was a really good friend of mine, Janet Pierson who runs the film part of South by Southwest, she said, you know, she had seen me drawing at another event, she said why don't you come to South by Southwest and draw the movies and panels and stuff. And so I started out as a fan, I would go to these panels and I would draw people and I would try to listen for the sound bitey stuff that I could copy down and I would try to watch these kind of live events, these panels, and sometimes I'd draw movies too and I was trying to extract the really good stuff out of there that I could use later, and so a lot of my early life as an artist was about studying as much as it was about making stuff and then taking what I was studying and then sharing it like on my blog or Twitter or whatever, with other people. So a lot of people got to know my work because of the drawings I was doing of other people not my own ideas. So I've always been a guy who loves to research and one of the things I found, one of our friends Ryan Holiday he's the same way. Love him yeah. He's just collecting quotes and writing them on index cards and he's got his big file. One of the things I kept noticing, and this is part of the artist's job is pattern recognition. I kept noticing how many of these people I looked up to used the term steal, used the term theft, talked about how oh I had to steal stuff man. You've got David Bowie, someone asked him, are you an original, he said oh no no no, I'm more like a tasteful thief. The only the art I'll ever study is the stuff that I can steal from. You've got people, these giants, and so I thought something was there, and then over the years I just wrote a lot of blog posts and I was just trying to figure out how to be an artist, and then the book Steal Like an Artist started because a community college in Upstate New York, they wanted me to give a talk to students, and I thought it was more highfalutin than it was, I thought it was a commencement address, it turned out just to be like-- Class of 28 people. Yeah I thought it was like, oh let me send you off on your way with all this knowledge, but it was really just like a convocation, it was just in a gym and there are a bunch of, the students were there, and I'd prepared this ten things nobody told you and I gave this talk and it went really well, but. All 82 people were just floored. Yeah it was one of those things where it was like wow this was really good, I put a lot of work into this, what should I do with it? And I turned it into a blog post, and that was the thing that really took off, and then it became clear that Steal Like an Artist needed to be a book, and that's how it all kind of. That's a beautiful story, I love something you said in there, when I was teaching myself how to become an artist. For the folks that I said earlier we're going from 0 to 1, they're sitting there, and you might be in a cubicle working for the man or you're inside a company and you want to figure out how to be more entrepreneurial or you're in a job that you don't love and part of the series of these talks that I'm having with you and others like you are about how to help people live their dreams in career hobby and life, and this it seems to me going from 0 to 1, you have to be intentional about it, it doesn't actually happen. Yeah. This is a journey, did you sit down one day and you say like, I no longer want to work in the library, I want to write books. That's a great question, I had no aspirations whatsoever to be a professional writer. What I decided very early on, I had a very good professor and you know we're here with this mug that says do what you love, so I'm like about to tell the story about how I never really believed that, but what happened to me was, I had this really great writing professor in college and he taught this course called the publishing marketplace, and he looked at us all and he's like look the majority of you will never make a living of writing. Welcome to class. Welcome to class, day one. The majority of you will never make a living writing short stories or poetry or whatever, so you gotta get that clear right away, but you can have a life of writing, a life full of this thing that you love, no problem. And so very early on I decided, I'm gonna try to get the most decent day jobs I can and then I'm just gonna like, the internet was really taking, this was like 2004 or 2005, everyone's blogging, so I got out of college, I was like I'm gonna start a blog, get a job, and I'm just gonna like do my thing, you know, and I started out working in a library and that was a great, as someone who loves books and wanted to be a writer, best job ever, not for the reasons most people would think though in that one of my jobs as a librarian was to weed, and in librarian terms weeding is like taking the books that no one checks out and stamping them and putting them in the book drive. Got it. So I got a real clear picture. What's not working. When I was working in the library of the books that people take out. And the books that I loved and the stuff that I wanted to do was not necessarily the stuff that people were reading, so that was like. That's pattern recognition though, it goes back to, I think that was probably helpful. So my whole thing in the beginning, and the reason I'm having such trouble with our cultural moment right now, in that, we're in this era now where everyone is, okay, so like you have a friend, she comes to you and she's like Chase I made you this bracelet. Thank you. Right and she gives it to you and you put it on. This is amazing, Jessica, this is just beautiful. God, you know what, you can have an Etsy store, that's like the first, what's the first thing we do in this culture the minute anyone shows any. Has a decent idea. Any creative promise or idea, oh you could start an Etsy store, that's the moment we live in now. But for me I was just like I was looking at people like I was really into poetry so I was looking at people like Philip Larkin who like his whole career kept his job as a librarian. Wallace Stevens, Vice President of an insurance company. Poets are really instructive because poets have never been able to make a living, maybe if you're Billy Collins or something, but I think even he like teaches, so I always thought I'm gonna have this day job and it's gonna be like Bruce Wayne and Batman, right, I'm gonna have my Bruce Wayne gig, and then I'm gonna have my Batman nights, and it was just very clearly delineated for me, and I just thought that was very, it seemed very clean. Did you have a job, the J O B that you loved, or was the job in service of your career or your passion or your hobby? Did you intentionally link those? It was like middle road, I took jobs that I felt like I would be, I mean first of all I took jobs that I could get, I got real lucky with the library job, 'cause like library jobs, it's interesting, it's like a county job so it's a really good job with like benefits and you'll have hundreds of people that take the little librarian test and stuff. I think what worked out for me is I was in my 20's and I would take a really low salary and it was like no problem, and I would work part time, so I got the job, but I always kind of had this middle road. The thing I did with my day jobs is I always wanted to take a day job that would inform the stuff I was really trying to do, so like the librarian stuff taught me how to get that information I needed. I spent a lot of time teaching senior citizens how to use computers, and I realized how poorly designed most of the internet was and what a big deal design was and I learned that there's such a thing as design and information design. User experience. That kind of thing, got interested in that, and then my next job after that was I got a job as a web designer at the law school here in Austin, at the UT, and that's where I learned how to make websites, and that was always in the back like, so it was interesting 'cause I got that web design job because I have my own blog that had like Monkey Breath and played with the template and stuff, and like my future employer I was like, hey I've already been, I can do this work. Yeah got this. I want to take this job and learn how to really do it well and that's how I got hired. And then those three and a half years at the law school were all just like picking up web tips and just building my blog, making it better and better and putting more out and then my last job I had was in advertising, 'cause what I would do is I'd build these really nice sites for people and then they'd just die a slow death 'cause no one would ever update them, and then I'd do a really ugly site for a really smart person at the law school who was really into keeping the website up and it would be great. And so I realized like, oh it's content, it's about what you put on the website, and so a buddy of mine got me a job at a digital marketing place down the street here, and I did that for a while, and that's why I did Steal Like an Artist, but every step along the way-- Was contributing. Yeah and it wasn't totally Bruce Wayne and Batman, it was like they informed each other. Basically I would take a job that made me better at my side project, and then whatever I did on my side project would help me amp up to the next job. This is fascinating, 'cause not only is it 0 to 1, but it's also the 1 to 10, 'cause you're in there you're doing work and you're figuring out like I've got, if I did this and this that might inform my other thing. I get asked that question all the time like how have you made this work and I say one of two things. One, either do the thing that's informing the thing you want to do, like if you can be paid, you want to be a high end commercial advertising photographer and you can get paid to shoot a wedding, great. Do that, I wouldn't actually promote that too heavily, because what we want you to do is we want you to be able to ultimately put the work out there that's gonna get you the kind of work that you want, but holding a camera every day is very relevant to becoming this thing so it's either that, or I recommend something which is very different which is, what can you do so that you maximize your time or freedom. And that's a lot of wait tables, can you valet cars, can you drive an Uber, whatever to facilitate the freedom and the free time and you can go there and do a job and not overly obsess about it. How much can you do that job just so you cover expenses and then spend the rest of your waking life focused on the things that matter most. And I see there are two paths and they both have pluses and minuses. And a lot of it depends on the work you want to do, what you really want to do, but what you said is so, to go back to the South by Southwest stuff that I was talking about earlier, I stopped doing that, going to an event and drawing because people started asking me to do it for money and they'd be like come to our conference and draw these people and then we'll give you how much money. And then you looked down that path, he's like ooh that's gonna be a place where I don't actually wanna be. And there's actually a friend of mine, Sunni Brown in town, she's got like a whole business doing that and it's great but to me I was just like, that sounds really stressful and like it would take this thing I actually enjoy doing and just make it awful. There is something about thinking about the end in mind, 'cause if you went down that logical thing of doing event photography or like you said drawing the talk, that might actually compete or like you said burn out. And work begets work right, the work that you do leads to other work so you have to be kind of careful about what you share of yours. Whatever work you want to do you just have to do that because work begets work and so I made that decision very early on, like I gotta stop. I went from drawing other people's ideas to drawing my own, basically, 'cause I was like. Can we talk about that for a sec? Sure. There's two things, this is the perfect transition to Show Your Work, but what I wanna do is the transition of when you started doing your own stuff, because there is a time where you're either doing other people's stuff or you're art imitating, you're like I want to deconstruct that person's, or I want a design like this person, I want to build my first internet business like Tim Ferriss or Louis Howes or someone who is great at making online businesses. And yet there's some point where you flip that switch inside you and you start doing your own stuff. Talk about that. So the idea at the heart of my third book, Show Your Work, is our traditional notion of creativity is genius. There are these superhumanly talented people, Jimi Hendrix, like they drop him out of a spaceship, he falls to earth, he plays Purple Haze, sets his guitar on fire and then he shuffles off, that's it, like it's done. To his next show where he parachutes and does the same thing. And then he dies and we're all just like, oh my God what happened, Jimi Hendrix, you know, and that's how we think about it, like oh he's just like this, but the thing, the idea that kind of counteracts that, the kind of healthier notion of creativity. Of genius or creativity? Of creativity. Sure. Is, or how culture gets made, usually it's genius, someone just drops down, plays Purple Haze and then brings everyone up to their level, but the other way of thinking about this is what Brian Eno calls Scenius and Scenius is a collective form of genius. So when you're thinking about Jimi Hendrix then, all the sudden you stop, like oh here's this superhumanly talented guy, you know. He is superhumanly talented, but what were the environmental and social factors that led him to be this thing, and you start digging into Jimi Hendrix you find out like he played on the Chitlin' Circuit for god knows how many years, backing up the Isley Brothers and all that kind of stuff, you learn and Jimi is soaking up all these different influences, he's connected to all these different people like Chas Chandler, the Animals, you put that story together and you realize that a lot of creativity is about a network and it's about being, having an impact on the culture is not so much about being this lone genius and it's much more about being this person that's connected to lots of different things and positioning yourself in a way in which you can have that impact. I mentioned David Bowie before, one of the things I loved about-- Incredible artist. So incredible. So sad to lose him. And I felt like the only good thing to come out of him leaving us was that we got this wealth of amazing material, all these people coming out and talking about his work, and he's a classic example of a guy that just like, whenever he needs a new idea, he just sets himself down in the right place and sits for a while. Looks around. And soaks up and just gets the feelers and so we talked about starting out, I think if you can stop worrying about being that genius, being that original person and start thinking about more, what other people are doing and then what they're not doing and then you find that Venn diagram of what people aren't doing and what you could possibly take on, and that little sliver in the middle, that's your work, that's what you should get on. And I was sitting there, it's funny 'cause when I was drawing stuff at South by Southwest, there wasn't anyone else really doing that. There were like a few other people and we met each other and we got together and we said hey let's do a panel about drawing at South by Southwest. So we got all together and did this panel and then all the sudden, all these people drawing at South by Southwest so we almost made ourselves obsolete. There's a fear of sharing your work which I think we should get to. But then I realized, well wait a minute all these people are doing this now so I can go do something else. So constantly doing that as an artist. I think David Bowie is another great example in that Bowie does work and he does it for a while, so he does Ziggy Stardust, you know and then everyone gets into glam rock, like everyone's into it and then he's like wait no, I'm gonna jump over here, and he makes his next move and he keeps doing that throughout his life. I think Bob Dylan's another great example. There's a lot of great reinvention, you said so many things I want to touch on, let's visit the genius concept, so we're in the series 30 Days of Genius where people sign up and they get a little one of these things in their inbox every day, these talks like that you and I are having right now and what I believe that Creative Live stands for in fact is that there's genius in all of us. And when you're sort of doing the thing that you're supposed to be doing, that genius inside of you has the opportunity to more easily express itself. Sure. Michael Meade do you know that name? I've heard of it. Just talks about how genius is sort of being aligned with your true authentic self and then. Yeah. The hope is that people realize that there is a genius or I think we can substitute creativity in every single person and it's about trying to tap that looking around in the marketplace and looking inside your soul, what is it you're supposed to be doing and you put that out there and it's the act of putting it out building this community that will make you, to use Brene Brown's words that make you rise. Yeah but I mean and there's also there's all this genius brings this idea of pressure, I haven't actually, I've read one thing of Elizabeth Gilbert's, I feel really bad about saying this but Elizabeth Gilbert, before she did Eat Pray Love and all that she was an amazing journalist and there's a great, great profile of Tom Waits that she did in 2002, and she talked about how Tom Waits would be driving along in his car and he'd get this idea for a song, and he finally started like-- I read this. Looking up and saying can't you see I'm driving? You know and it would just go away. I remember this. And Elizabeth Gilbert gave this TED talk, it was after Eat Pray Love and I don't know a lot about her but I love this TED talk so much. She just got up and she was just like, it's very possible my best work is behind me, I'm 40 years old, I've probably got another 40 years. Yeah she sold a million books Eat Pray Love. It's very possible this is it, but I love this thing and I have to keep going, and what she talked about in terms of genius was kind of the old school Greek way of thinking about genius which is genius was more like the muse, it was something that visited you. That you weren't a genius but you had a genius, you had something that would like visit. I love the distinction, I love the distinction. And to bring it back around to the Tom Waits thing, the way your genius visits you is that you sit in a certain place at a certain time every day or you do some sort of activity. Doing the work of practice. And you let that in, right? And that's where your practice comes in. That's holding the camera everyday. Every day. That's playing the cello. That's the 28 to Make thing, doing this exercise, the daily praxis of putting something out. So this is like, we're going back to the natural shift in the conversation right here, to show your work. Right. So Steal Like an Artist is this 0 to 1, I'm gonna start gathering this stuff looking inside myself, what do I have to add to this conversation to this narrative and how can I make it my own? Yeah. You said you're collecting these things and you weld them together into something new, and you get the Star Wars example. Now what? Right. Now what, you've got this thing that you made, and even ten years ago you'd have to get permission from the gatekeepers from the galleries to show your work, from the editor to get your work whether they're visual or words or whatever in the magazine or a book deal, any of those things you'd have to have permission. Today is a different day. So Show Your Work, it's funny, the books have to be out for a while before I figure out what they're really about sometimes. It's your fifth press tour you figure it out finally, right? So there's this tension with creative people and everyone out there listening to us knows what it is. You've got your thing that you're really good at that you love to do, and then there's all the admin stuff, but more than that, there's the self-promotion. Show Your Work was really a book about self-promotion for people who hate the very idea of self-promotion. That's what it was really trying to be. I think you have to be two different people in those modes sometimes because as an artist, you have to be very open and wondering and very unsure, you have to kind of not know what you're doing, you have to have that amateur spirit, and then when you're self-promoting, it comes from this place of confidence, I have this thing, hey I'm Austin Kleon. Buy the new book. Buy the Steal Like an Artist, and what I wanted to do was to get people who were really uncomfortable with self-promotion, hey let's just shuffle that aside and let's rethink this in terms of sharing, let's think about sharing and let's think very hard about that word and let's figure out if there's a way that we can integrate the making and sharing in a way or somehow bring them together into some kind of balance and so traditionally, the way that you think about your craft is, your process is private, what you do, like how you get the work. Making your magic, your mojo. That's your thing that you keep hidden away from people and then the product, the painting, the photograph, the whatever, that's what you share to people and you only poke your head up when you've got this finished thing. Now what you just said that works great for that system. Back in the day when you had a publisher that you were trying to pitch to, here's my finished book, here's my finished proposal, here you go, right, or oh gallery, please, here are my finished beautiful paintings, whatever right? I'd like to have a show please, if you think I'm worthy. That works in a world in which the only way you get access to an audience is going through one of those gatekeepers. Well now we're in this world where you can reach anyone, anytime anywhere and so the only healthy way I could figure out how to do this stuff is to turn sharing into as much of a daily process. So you sort of flip the script basically. The thing. This is my work. And I think we're in this very interesting time culturally where people are just as interested in how work gets done as they are in the actual work. That was my experience. Which you've experienced. Shooting behind the scenes videos, the term didn't even exist when I started doing it. And very rapidly, sure a client would hire me to shoot a print campaign and the ad buyer for the print campaign would be instead of Gigantic, Global, all of these magazines, it's gonna be everywhere all the time, they were making that smaller and smaller and smaller, and they were putting more of that time and money and energy into filming the behind the scenes, filming the story, the narrative about making the thing. So yes you were still working on this campaign, but the jewel wasn't necessarily the finished thing, the jewel was the process to getting the finished thing. So this is what you've done. So yeah, so Show Your Work is a book about how to figure that out, it's about how you can balance, and it's not just about how you can self-promote or share, it's about how to build a sustainable system in which the making and the sharing help each other. Like you make the thing and then you kind of share bits and pieces as you go and then as an audience forms how they respond to the sharing kind of influences the making. And now if you're a certain kind of artist, this is heretical, that loop I'm talking about is completely heretical because for a long time our idea is that you've got this, again you're a lone genius and you come up with the art and you put it out and then people either like it or they don't, screw 'em, you're on to the next thing and there is a balance of doing what you want to do and taking in what people give you, that's what it was about, so I was inspired by people who I was watching who were really good at this, like hey I'm out in the studio today, here's a painting in progress or here's a blah blah blah and I was trying to figure out how to turn what they were doing into a user's manual for other people and that's-- What a beautiful gift. That's what the book was supposed to be about. But I learned later on, the interesting thing about books is you make them and you think they're one thing but they're like art, you put them out in the world and then people tell you what it means to them and it changes, so a book is almost like a piece of art it's just a kind of mediary between you and the reader. It turned out that Show Your Work was a lot about education. It spins off of this Christopher Hitchens, the late great writer had this quote and he said putting a book out to the world is like getting a free education that goes on for a lifetime, because he's like you put a book out in the world and then the people who read it, they email you, they phone you, they come to your events, they tell you what you got right they tell you what you got wrong, it's a free education that goes on for a lifetime. And so what I was trying to do with Show Your Work is like there are people who do really interesting work that they don't want to be a bestselling author they don't want to be some celebrity or something, they just want to make their thing and find a community of people that they can connect with. And so repitching this whole process as one of getting this education that goes on forever. In the community, that's one of the things that I think is so powerful today is that it's actually in the sharing, in the creating and sharing of the work most importantly that the community comes together, and it's a disparate group of people and then they start gravitating around your work or someone else's work or whatever and then we're all lovers of Austin Kleon and I recognize someone in the chat room or I recognize someone in the Twitter stream or whatever about this, I love that. So you're almost creating your own Scenius by being a node in the network, where you position yourself and who you connect to, you're kind of building your own network and so the idea behind Scenius is like, maybe you aren't the photographer, maybe you're the publicist, or maybe you're just the appreciator, maybe you're the blogger. There's this rich ecosystem. A curator. Yeah and you know, so there's this idea that like you don't have to be the main attraction in order to be part of this network that's making ideas happen and is rich and is inspiring everyone. And again, I find that it's nice to, like my work now is how I make a living, what these books and my talks and stuff is how I make a living, and that's great, that's a great reward, but the really great reward is just the really. Doing that. Interesting people I've bumped into. Now that's biographical to me, 'cause I grew up in a really small town, and all I wanted when I was growing up was other people who were interested in the same thing that I was interested in, and I had none of that. That's why the series exists, that's one of the reasons Creative Live exists, I wanted to bring access is a core value of Creative Live and what these tens or hundreds of thousands of people who are watching this that they are now able to access you and your brain in a way that they wouldn't have been able to before, which in turn, I get a ton of juice, there's a selfish aspect, I'm sitting here this far away from you and these other rock stars that are peers or friends or people that inspire me. I talk to a lot of people that they've gotten internet famous or now they're doing this thing that they're known for and I'll have lunch with them or something. We talk about what's the best thing about it and usually we decide, this right here, like we're talking, one of the best experiences in my own life has been to start out as a fan and end up a peer. You start out as like you're looking up to these people like I'm seeing Seth Godin on your board or something, I remember being younger and Seth is this hugely popular author. 17 books now or something. This like guy and I remember having breakfast with him and just talking to him like we were peers. He's your buddy. Not even buddy but just like, oh yeah you're a writer too. I can relate, remember when this happened, I felt how you feel. Now that can go very wrong, you can meet people that you wanted to be peers with and they're complete jerks or something. But that seems to be, that to me is really the, when you start out as a fan and you become a peer, I don't know what's better than that. That's beautiful. That's the thing. Even more than making something that you're, most of making this thing that you're really proud of. Getting the book out. That's intrinsic, doing this work that you feel like is really good, 'cause you know, that's something we could talk about too. And even getting paid for the work, that pay is a form of validation, right? But I mean I remember still being, having a day job and meeting people as peers and they're like oh you still work over at the law school and I'm like yeah. But that was still a jolt. Well there's many things we can talk about baked into that but also I want to get to your newest project, Steal Like an Artist, the journal version of that. Before we do though, I can't help but realize that showing your work and all the talk that we just went through around process, to me I'd like to shift gears for a second and go into your process and you personally for just a few minutes here. So morning routine, what is it? My morning routine is completely based around my kids. But you clearly have designed a life that works around your kids, because you have a routine right? Yeah so when I get up in the morning it's very much like getting the kids wrangled and getting them breakfast, I make my wife coffee and we have breakfast and that takes forever. It's glacial. I don't want this to turn into a daddy blog session but the glacial pace of family life is just like oh my God, like you look and you're like it's been an hour and I've barely gotten breakfast to the table. The thing that my wife and I have done with our kids that has been such a huge great thing for us is we have a double stroller that we call the War Rig, like Mad Max. I love it. And it's like this ginormous stroller. We stick our two boys in there and we go for an hour walk every day. Wow. Like if it's raining. Doesn't matter. Put on the poncho, you're out there. And that is always, that is probably the heart of my intellectual life at the moment because my wife has always been my editor and my partner in crime, and so we'll just, usually just me talking a lot of the time, but we consult and we figure things out while we're on our walk and then when we come back from that she'll get ready for the day and then I'll do some exercises and listen to podcasts and get my shower and then I might not roll out to the studio til like 10 o'clock, so it's almost like agency hours or something, so I roll out at like 10 o'clock and that's when I, I always try to do the creative real important stuff first. So I'll go in there, and I'll make a poem, or I'll try to write 500 words or whatever right out of the bat, right out of the gates and then I'll go in for lunch and then hang out with the kids, and I'm sorry, I work out of my garage I have a detached garage, so it's a 10 foot commute. It's pretty short. So I can just pop out of the house go into the garage, and I've talked to people that work from home, you gotta have a door first of all for sure. Especially with kids I bet. You cannot work in the house with kids. I know some mother writers who they'll wait until nap time to write that kind of thing, but I have to be out of the house, there has to at least be two doorways in between us. So you got some exercise in there, you got moving your feet, getting some blood pumping. You got breakfast. And I should mention I always have my notebook with me so I'll take a lot of notes in the morning. Like I'll get back from the walk and I'll scribble. So the cereal or what kind of... No we do like, Meghan and I were talking about new urbanism and cities and working and space and I'll make little notes to myself, you know what I mean in the notebook. But then you said, then I got some exercise. Like exercise on top of exercise? Yeah I just do like push ups and crunches, you know? Just basic stuff. Basic stuff. We've talked before about meditating. Yes. I'm a meditator, you said that you carve out ten minutes every day it's a recurring theme for me. I completely fell off the meditation wagon. I don't do it anymore. So there is life after mediation. There is life after meditation. For the people who are struggling, you can still be happy and successful. You can but like, I think it's great, I love meditating, I'm gonna figure out a way to integrate it but this is the other thing I think like, we're in this life hack, make yourself into a cyborg type moment in our culture where everyone is just trying to figure out how to optimize themselves and become this great version it's like just do what gets you through the day. Productivity is so overrated in so many ways sometimes. Tell more. Just think about doing good work. People are just so ugh, I gotta do this, it's like you don't have to do anything. What you need to do is do every day when you go to bed you need to make sure that you did the thing that gives your life meaning. That's pretty much it, like when you hit the pillow, whatever you did that day. Did it matter to you? Did it matter to you. It's not like checking some life hacker box, like oh I got my meditation in and then I did my bullet journaling. Another hundred followers. All that it's just like, did you practice the thing that feeds you, did you do something that mattered, did you try to spend your day in a way that you felt like you were. Mindful or conscious. Mindful or whatever. The rest doesn't matter, so I got to a point with meditating where it was like, I like doing this, but at the end of the day, if it's between me making a poem and meditating, I would rather do the poem. Now this interesting thing about meditating for me is that it's a practice. A lot of what I got from meditation is like staring at, like when I make one of those blackout poems it's the same thing, I completely zone out and the words just kind of turn into this mass and stuff pops out and I circle it, like it's a very meditative activity, and I think that drawing and making poetry, there's something about the solitary process of it, it's a lot like prayer. Meditation or prayer yeah. But it's a meditative practice as is. But the point I'm trying to make is just that I let go of what I, I think it's really important to let go of what you think you should be going. Should, should is the bad thing yeah. And just like, and to really zoom in on what makes you feel alive when you're doing it. That's beautiful. And that sounds touchy feely, but it's really... No no, one of the things that I want some takeaways to be some really actionable takeaways, when I say morning routine I just find that there is a routine. Oh yeah, and there is. The difference for whether, and I don't know what the right way of talking about it's not success it's like, the people who I end up really connecting with who have done stuff and it doesn't matter if you redefined the garbage system in Kansas City or you're a Pulitzer Prize winner, the desire to achieve or see or do something or make an impact that transcends yourself, there is a routine for almost all those people. Absolutely. And it doesn't have to be, the contents of the routine is actually what I'm less interested in, it's just the fact that there's, oh my gosh, that there is this routine. I am scheduled within an inch of my life every day. I just am, I know when I'm gonna be up, I know when I'm gonna go to bed, I know things, and so that sounds very, it sounds like a bummer to some people but I'm like, especially when you're a parent, having a very intense schedule frees you because you know when you're gonna have time. I've been in a house like watching a kid and looking at the clock and just being like when am I ever gonna get to write, and it's the worst feeling in the world, but now it's like I know when I'm gonna have that time and it's like Tom Waits in the car, can't you see I'm changing a diaper, you know. I'm not gonna not let that go, because it's less about the content for the people out there and more that there is a thing, so that you actually do think about what you do every day and I love the intention, the intentionality there, but I also want some other ways for people to get in and sort of know you Austin a little better, so tell me a story about something that people don't know about you or they know your work but they definitely wouldn't know about you. Oh I don't know. I know you're pretty open. Yeah I'm super, I'm a really suburban guy now. Like I have a-- You have a double wide baby carriage called Mad Max, or deathmobile. I live in like a really boring nice little neighborhood in Austin, kind of out on the southwest, I have my little, it's like a 1974 ranch house, ti's very just chill and I'm a very, my idea of like, I think people might be disappointed if they realized how mundane my life is. I went to P. Terry's this morning at 10:30, P. Terry's is the burger place here, it's like In N Out only way better, and it's the local chain here, and it was like we pulled up in our SUV, which I'm just like oh god my life, but we pull in and my wife and I get the kids out and we go in, and it's nothing but other families, 'cause it's 10:30, who would get a burger at 10:30, people with kids, and so it's just like a Chuck E Cheese in there, it's just families, but I think that what I am, I'm very much interested right now in, I think America is increasingly becoming homogenized and blander and blander and more strip mally and really like just Costcos for miles and Walmarts and I'm really interested in being a refinery for junk, like I'm very interested in how do I take this wasteland that going back to Mad Max, how do you take a wasteland and get inspired by it? Because I find a lot of America to be so intensely ugly and bland, but I'm interested now in. How do you flip that? How do you flip that, how do you take this kind of 'cause as a culture, you just see things falling apart and becoming like, how do you take that and find some sort of wonder in your day, because I think if you can master that, if you can figure out how to keep your curiosity, like I used to work in this office where it was just fluorescent lights and cubicles and everything was tan. It was just like everything was tan, beige, and I just remember sitting there and just being like, how I am I supposed to live in this environment. Sounds very Kafka-esque. It's very Kafka-esque, but that's part of our job now is to be able to keep wonder. Like this is my big question. How can I continue to be inspired when I take my kid to Costco? How can I be inspired at the Costco food court as much as if I'm in like, walking the hills of Silverlake in Los Angeles or out in the red rocks. But it's a choice, it turns out, scientifically and actually in my own experience, that it is a choice, happiness, awareness, beauty, joy, all of those things are things around you. Cause you can be in Costco, like ugh, I gotta go to, or you can be like. Can you do that again? Twitter, Twitter, Bernie Trump. (laughing) But to look at everything, I call it the Walgreens gene, my father-in-law is this guy who's lived in Cleveland his whole life, like most of his life, he's a brilliant guy, went to Harvard and came back and he's a newspaper writer but like I watched my father-in-law go into a Walgreens one time and it was like if you went into the MoMA, basically. He was just like-- Floss. So like look at all this shit. Dental floss. Look at this, look at this. His wonder at being, and he could do the same thing with his crappy suburb that he lives in, like he can drive and, oh did you see, he's always aware, he's looking, all the stuff that you would ignore, he's looking at that, and so I thought oh my God, this is a way of being. This is a way of operating. Ignore nothing, beauty is everywhere. You can decide, I will pick, I will look for the gems here or I will just accept this as what it is and I will find the inspiration in it and it's funny 'cause ever since I've made that switch I've found all these artists like John Baldessari's one, he lives in LA, and I think I have fun in LA, I really like LA, but he's like, why would I live anywhere great, he's like I have to be angry to make work, he's like I have to live in Los Angeles, so I'm like. I can get in my car and drive for an hour. So I'm angry enough to make stuff, you know, and I like that, I like that idea of artists being a refinery for, like one of my favorite artists I found recently is this woman named Sister Corita Kent, and she taught at Immaculate Heart in Los Angeles, and her work, what she did, is she took a lot of photographs. She would take advertisements and she would turn them into these beautiful screen prints that had a religious context. So she'd take a picture of a bag of Wonder Bread, right, like just a crappy old white bread wrapper, literally, take a picture of white bread and then she would take out the word wonder and blow it up real big, and then have bread, and she would bring out the religious context of Wonder Bread, like the toast, she would figure out a way to take this garbage that she saw, most of advertising, this clutter, this visual pollution and she'd figure out a way to turn that into this sublime work. That's when I'm really fascinated now. That was your prompt, your creative prompt. Yeah so waste basket. So part of-- We're going here, we're going here now, Steal Like an Artist. Self promotional mode. The journal, so give us the 30,000 foot of this, and then we'll go into the actual wastebasket. So the Steal Like an Artist journal is I came off of Show Your Work, which was all about sharing and being connected and stuff and I was thinking again about how important my notebook is to me. As we're on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Snapchat or whatever, there needs to be a private place to be alone with your thoughts. And so I was thinking some more about a paper notebook, like a lot of people are like, why'd you put out a paper notebook dude, it's 2016, I'm like, because a paper notebook it's like a walled garden, 'cause I can jump in here and I can write down whatever's on my mind and I can either share it or I can close it and put it away. I think when people talk about creativity and getting ideas and stuff, I think we're all having ideas all the time, I think it's just that we don't even know what's in our heads, because again we're distracted, we're like (grumbling) We're distracted and so the quote that I opened up the Steal journal with is by Mary Oliver and she's a poet, she says, I think we're creative all day long. We have to have an appointment to have that work out on the page because the creative part of us gets tired of waiting or just gets tired. And so what the Steal Like an Artist journal is supposed to be is it's supposed to be a way for you to get in touch with your ideas every day and the point of the book is to be, you asked about the term creative kleptomaniac before, my idea is that if you're on as an artist, you're constantly looking for those bits to steal, you're like a jewel thief or something right, you're always casing the joint, you're always looking around, you're always looking for little bits and pieces that you can steal and put into your work and so what the journal's supposed to be is a very lo-fi simple dumb tool for you to take those mundane things in your life, that every day life that is not inspiring you and to turn that into something that you can use. There are so many, I'd love to just put a couple of these things on display, so there's like this gratitude page. Oh yeah. You can get on this, like thanks to blank who taught me blank. So I ripped this off of, most of these are stolen, it's stuff that I've found, this is Marcus Aurelius the Roman emperor. You friends with him? Yeah we're in touch, the Ouija. But at the beginning of the meditations which is basically his journal that they saved and now is like a book, it's like one of the first self help books 'cause it's literally Marcus Aurelius writing down to himself what he should be doing with his life, but he starts that book out thanking people. He's like thanks to my father who taught me blah blah blah, thanks to my great grandfather blah blah blah for this, and I thought oh that was cool, so like we should, what if that was an exercise what if you went through your life and gave shout outs to people, so that's just one little. I love it and there's another one, so your prompt was wastebasket and what people are doing as a part of this series is when they're listening to this just do something with a wastebasket, draw a picture of it, sketch it, share it on any of your social feeds with hashtag, 30 Days of Genius, so your particular prompt, a wastebasket. You actually have some sketches. Yeah so I used my own, this is a little suggestive but I was using my journal and I had just moved, I had just bought the house I was talking about and I was moving into my new studio, so my wastebasket was full of Ikea instructions, which I hate. Is there anyone who doesn't? That has to be the worst. So I made a collage out of Ikea instructions. Brilliant, that's brilliant. This is the stuff I... So I'm gonna just randomly pick up. I think that's another thing I want to say about creativity is like, we just have this high bar for making stuff, and I would just encourage people to make bad stuff. Just as long as you're making something, make bad stuff. I'm a big fan of Sturgeon's Law, like Theodore Sturgeon, he's a sci fi writer and he said 90% of everything is crap and I feel that way about my own work. I gotta make nine terrible poems before I make one that's worth saving. Having a low bar of... It takes the pressure away. Yeah because if you are worried about painting the Sistine Chapel everyday you're not gonna work 'cause you're gonna be scared, whereas if you're just like, I'm gonna make the, this is such a great exercise it's like I'm gonna make the worst thing I can make. Just like right now. Like I'm gonna shoot the crappiest photo, and guarantee if you went out with your camera right now and was like I'm gonna try to take the worst cheesiest cliched photo I can take, if you shot enough of them, you'd probably come up with something actually good. That's very true. Just because like, so much of the work is just being loose. Being loose, I'm gonna read a couple of things from your book. 10 things I probably think about more than the average person. I'm gonna turn this real time live on you right now, what are ten things, actually give me three things that you think you think of more than the average person. Oh god, um, right now I'm thinking about chance, I'm really interested in tarot cards and the I Ching right now, I'm thinking about chance operations and how to use that for art, there's a bunch of John Cage and a bunch of weird artists that use chance operations. You think of that more than I do, for sure. I think of that a lot, I think about, not just parenting, but I think about, well I think about parenting a lot. I think a lot of people think about a lot of parenting, so I'm not gonna give you that it doesn't count. Yeah that's not good. See this is hard, it's hard to do-- On the fly for sure, that's why we're doing it. That's why it's easier on the journal. This is why it's interesting for the people at home. I think about. I'm gonna let you off the Hook here. The thing I was telling you before about how to take your mundane, everyday surroundings and turn them into something sublime, I think about that a lot. That's fascinating, that's beautiful. Recently I've been thinking a lot, this kind of ties into the chance operations thing about finding yourself at a certain moment in your life, I think one the things I've been thinking a lot about lately with social media and just this crush of seeing other people's lives constantly, I feel like everyone if you're a certain age, everyone the same age, their lives are alternate universes for choices you didn't make, this is an idea I stole from this writer named Tim Kreider, and I think the crush of that is really something contemporary and new, like having to constantly be bombarded with people's images of this life that they're leading, the FOMO and the fear of missing out that you're not doing what you're supposed to be doing with your life I think is crushing a lot of people instead of thinking about it in cosmic time and what a complete miracle it is that you even exist. Yeah, and you get to be inspired by that as opposed to comparing everyone else's highlight reel to your real life. Yeah that's right. It can be-- Comparing someone's highlight reel to your behind the scenes, that's the crush, so I think about that a lot, that's three things. Here's another one, make up a really good lie about yourself and tell me right now, invent a short story to back it up. I was a champion golfer when I grew up. You have the build. My father was very interested in golf, and he made me watch Jack Nicholson clips, and Arnold Palmer clips. Or Jack Nicklaus, because Jack Nicholson is. See, you caught me. You caught me. Although my dad really does like Jack Nicholson too. Great. What are you really working on? This is a prompt. Yeah this is something that came out 'cause I did the same, your like 28 Days thing I did it with the journal on my own feed, and what I'm really working on, I'm supposedly working on a new book, but what I'm really working on is trying to figure out what I'm interested in. Can we talk about that as an artist? Because I know so many people who have gone on to just, I can cite most recently Macklemore, when you sell 15, 15 million platinum album, it's your fast album, that's single and album sales combined, what do you do next? What do you do? And it took him a long time, a lot of in and out and find something and their new album just dropped and they're on tour right now, but talked to him briefly about that. You've heard him interviewed in other places, what is that Headspace, that's a tough Headspace, so talk about, how are you figuring that out for yourself? I think it requires a lot of backing up. I mentioned the I Ching before, I don't know if people are familiar with the I Ching, it's basically a book of prompts that you throw a coin, you get this hexagram and you look up what the prompt is, but it's ancient Chinese, and one of the things it's been telling me lately is to retreat and to think and to back off, so for me, it's a lot of trying to just make space for, cause you know, when you hit the success point, when you're Macklemore, you could stay busy forever, right, whether it was answering emails, or you could probably make a living just showing up places, like you show up at a party and they give you five grand or something cause you're Macklemore. Sure it's more than five, but yeah. But there's probably all kinds of goofy, I'm sure it's more than five, but there's just so much admin, you could do interviews forever, like I don't do a lot of interviews anymore. I know I'm thankful for your time. Because I'm just like, but you know, I could spend all day being on people's podcasts. There's so many podcasts. There's so many podcasts. But you could stay busy once you hit a certain level and so you have to really carve out time to do nothing, to be back at that point where you have nothing to lose and to be back at that, what would I do if no one cared, to go back to that point. What would I do if there was no audience, what would I be interested in, but also figuring out what that is, what would I do if no one was looking, what am I truly interested in, but then I think there's also like if you do build an audience it's more interesting if you can think about what they're interested in too and find that Venn diagram. Right when your audience overlaps with your passion. Yeah cause I mean you could just thumb your nose at them, you could do the Nirvana thing. I always think of that in terms of music. So you get your Nevermind, and then you're just like... For those of you that don't know that is their mega hit album it had It Smells Like Teen Spirit on it, it was after their first album called Bleach, which didn't really get playing time. I forget that Nirvana was like 20 years ago, there are probably kids watching, they've never even heard of Nirvana right? 25. 25? Oh lord. But yeah so it's like, you get this blockbuster album right? And what does Nirvana do? They're like we're gonna make the ugliest, loudest record we can. And they make this album called In Utero, and it's thumbing their nose at all these meathead frat boys that showed up at their shows and started moshing and stuff like that, it was a very calculated thing on their part, and I remember reading Questlove of the Roots talking about every time they did an album they knew they were gonna lose half of their audience 'cause they were just on their own thing. Getting out there and out there. And I'm always interested in like balancing out what I would love to do with whatever audience has shown up what they're interested in, what they need, that's just more interesting to me, 'cause honestly if I was gonna do anything, if someone just sent me a check all day, I would just sit around and read. I don't care. I would just read books until I ran out. Luckily I'll never run out. Yeah there's a lot of books. There's a lot of books. I might have the same history for me, I can validate that same sort of dialogue, that internal sort of self-reflection. And I think also you can do both, you can do your little passion project, and then you can do the work of helping your audience get where they want to go. Or giving them, not what they want, 'cause that's pandering. Taking them where they need to go. I like that concept very much. Helping them get to where they need to be going. Steal Like an Artist journal. Sold... Everywhere. All over the damn place. Anywhere books are sold. Airports, Walgreens. So tell me one thing that's going extraordinarily well for you right now. Well my son's birthday was yesterday. That's cool. And keeping the kid alive. 25, 25 26? He's one. Keeping two children alive for a year that's going very well for me. I'm really, you know we're in Austin, I've actually gotten really back into Austin, I was really down on Austin for awhile, but I realized it was my neighborhood I didn't like and I'm in a new neighborhood now and the city's new, it feels to me very much like a lesson in that sometimes you just gotta reposition yourself in order to see with different eyes. Best advice you ever got? Best advice I ever got was my old man, he said live below your means. Live below your means, you'll always be free, because if you can live below your means, that means it's the Bill Cunningham quote, if you don't take their money, they can't tell you what to do. But monetary freedom means creative freedom, so if you can take the money you make and live cheaper than that, you'll always be good. What about the worst advice you ever got? I think oh god, worst advice I ever got, I think do what you love is terrible advice. I just think it's too broad, I think love what you do is a little bit better. I think do what you love is just one of the most, oh I know what, be yourself I think is also, I think that's kind of one of those cliched piece of advice, I think be your best self, just stick a couple of things in there, be yourself because sometimes like, did you ever watch Chappelle Show? I have. You know when keepin' it real goes long. Yes. Remember that, people were like I keeps it real, but Dave Chappelle said this thing he's like you know it's good to be real sometimes, it's good to be phony sometimes. Most of civilization is tamping down what you'd really like to do, your honest expression of yourself. Like I'd like to shoot everyone in this room right now, but I don't know, I've been lucky in that I've had good advice, I've had I don't know. What's something that you think most of us doesn't have to be all of us, but most of us take for granted? What I said before just the cosmic, the unbelievable, the randomness that had to happen for you to even be here. Have you seen the Louis CK bit, where he's sitting next to a guy on the plane, the guy gets on, he's like oh they have internet on this plane, that's awesome, and they get up there. You're in a chair in the sky. And the internet stops working, and he's like what and he gets all mad at the flight attendant, and like, you are flying through the air at 600 miles an hour. I think though, that, universally if you look at the great texts, the message is the same. One day you won't be here and so you get this, this is what you get, whatever you believe, right now, you get today, what are you gonna do with it? Life is required until it's not, and suffering is optional. I like that, I like that. I just made that up on the fly, I think the suffering is optional I've heard before. That's pretty good, that's pretty good, I just think that today. I'm gonna watch your whole show and then I'll Tweet myself. Is what you get, you get today. I just had a good interview with Austin, here's my quote. Here's my new favorite thing, you get a newsletter from someone, and they'll have like a, I'm sorry if you do this. Oh no, don't know if I want to hear. And they'll hyperlink their own text and they'll be like, this would be good to Tweet, you should Tweet this. Like Tweet this. I don't do that. Like underlined, here's my really great idea you should Tweet, we just live in this absurd time. And I get it, I know, you know, but it's just bizarre. Tweet this, Tweet that, here I'm gonna say something really smart you should Tweet right now. Would you give me one of those just because you said not to, Tweet this. Tweet this, I don't. That's a lot of pressure. Yeah. What about if, is there, with no limits to their place in our culture, if there's someone I should talk to in this series I've got a couple slots left. Oh man, someone you should talk to, like around here? In the universe. In the universe. It would be nice if you could connect me with them. I don't know, I'm trying to think of who I could connect you to. The person from afar who I've never really, I've spent a couple hours with her but who has been a huge teacher to me is the cartoonist Linda Barry. I think she is the most, I think what she's done with her career and what she's doing now and her attitude towards art making has informed me in so many ways that I can't even, but she's one of those people that doesn't do a lot of interviews, so, but she's wonderful, I'm completely blanking right now. What's the longest your hair's ever been? Oh middle school, not very long, maybe here. Here, was it bushy? Bushy, I got, the one thing God gave me is like a pretty decent head of hair and it gets big. Nice. So I gotta keep it pretty short, yeah. What haven't we talked about that we should? I don't know we've talked about a lot. We've covered a lot of ground. I'm proud of how much ground we covered, you're an amazing interview. I think that the one piece I think we talked about before actually but I'd like to say it again is, forget about the noun, forget about the thing you want to be, forget about being a great photographer, forget about being a great writer, forget about being a great plumber or whatever, just think about the verb, forget that noun, think about the verb behind that work, take a lot of photographs, write a lot of paragraphers, fix a lot of pipes. And if you can forget about that noun and being that thing and you focus on the verb instead, that will take you further and it will keep more options open to you than anything else. There is no better way to end an interview than right there. Okay I'm gonna go home. Man, thank you so much. Thanks man, it's good to see you. Thanks for having me on. So much gratitude, that wraps up another episode of Chase Jarvis Live here on Creative Live, part of the 30 Days of Genius series with my man Austin Kleon, don't forget about this here book, heartfelt, you can do a lot of great work in this little piece of book right here. (electronic music)

Class Description

There's a common misconception that artists have a monopoly on creativity. But the very act of making something - shooting a photograph, designing a product, thinking critically, or building a business - is a creative one. These small actions come from our unique inner impulse to create.

This is what Richard Branson, Jared Leto and Arianna Huffington have in common. This is what makes Brené Brown, Tim Ferriss and Mark Cuban successful. They're all world-class achievers, but more than anything, they've used their creative impulse as both fuel and compass. It has allowed them to push on when others haven't, overcome obstacles thought impossible, and build a life of habits that sustain their mindset. And they'll be the first to tell you that their accomplishments are built on learned skills available to anyone.

In this free video series, you'll learn about the big thinking and breakthroughs that allowed these geniuses to break the mold. They'll share their successes and failures, and turn them into actionable insights for you. Join renowed photographer and CreativeLive Founder Chase Jarvis as he interviews 30 of the brightest minds of our time: 

Richard BransonArianna Huffington     Mark Cuban
Sir Mix-A-LotSeth GodinJared Leto
Marie ForleoGary VaynerchukLeVar Burton
Tim FerrissDaymond JohnRamit Sethi
Gabrielle Bernstein     James AltucherKelly Starrett
Lewis HowesKevin KellyBrian Solis
Austin KleonBrandon StantonSophia Amoruso
Brené BrownNeil StraussTina Roth Eisenberg
Gretchen RubinElle LunaAdrian Grenier
Kevin RoseStefan SagmeisterCaterina Fake

The goal of this interview series is not to turn everyone into a super-achiever. 30 Days of Genius is lightweight and helpful, designed to help you recognize your passions and achieve your goals. Watch in the morning or during a break at work, when you're in need of motivation or thinking of your next move.

Here’s how to sign up

  1. Click the blue button above, sign in. It’s free.
  2. Watch your inbox for an interview with a new genius every day for the next 30 days. You'll get the first video the day after you sign up.
  3. Watch the videos daily, or at your own pace - whenever you want insights or inspiration.
  4. Repeat. (And share this series with anyone you’d like)



Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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I have watched all 30 days so far and the first thing that blows me away is how Chase interviews all these different people, totally relaxed and he listens to everything they say and finds a question that relates so clearly to the subject being talked about. He also brings in quotes and snippets for other people, how he remembers all this stuff is just amazing. This is what I have taken away from the first 5 interviews. Mark Cuban started the series theme with the concept: you can start from nothing and become something by way of the HUSTLE. Although it sounded like whatever he touched turned to gold immediately, there was a huge amount of hustle that went with it to get it all going. Seth Godin was down to earth and lead with "happiness is a point of view", so do something today that will make tomorrow worthwhile being there. Be prepared to fail to succeed. Marie Forleo the Jersey girl made good. Her dad told her to do what you love. So she set out to do just that. It didn't happen over night, loads of job frogs kissed, until the life coaching vibrated through her life with the help of intuition and she was set on her path to success. Navigate passed those that will drag you back or down was another insight from Forleo. Using the concept from her Mom, ‘everything is figureoutable’, stood her in good stead all her life. Having a close community to help you is essential. Stop whining and just do it. Read Cameron Herold's double double, lean into your future. Tim Ferriss, the whirlwind learning man, using the simplistic steps to learn anything is the Ferriss way to go. you want to be a Tango champion, go to Argentina and learn from the best. Hard work has its place but control it. Another Ferriss phrase is 'what would this look like if it were simple', following this concept takes the complexity out of what you are doing and leads to you accomplishing the task you are undertaking. Celebrate the small wins and you accomplish the large ones. Meditation makes one more effective. Play at creativity to keep creative. Don't retreat into the story of the voices. Arianna Huffington, what Greece as a country could do with to get itself out of the slump. Remember you are not your job, don’t stifle your creativity. You don’t have to burn yourself out to succeed in life. The obnoxious roommate the keeps you awake and hurts your creativity. Sleep is not only life affirming but also imperative for the brain to reboot and spam filter.


I just paused this course to take a breather, overwhelmed with how people are willing to share advise, stories and insight....such powerful ones to help each other!!! I think the world is an amazing place and these times are the best that we could be in...yes sometimes life is tough but we have so many great people and so many people doing such great work....i love and admire Chase Jarvis and what he has done with creative life!!! Thankyou Chase, this is just wowwww!!!!

Alicia Amundson

Loving this course! Amazing insights from such a great range of people. Much gratitude to Chase, the Creative Live team and all of the guest speakers for the opportunity to learn in a way that's fun, interesting and inspiring. Thank you!