Srini Rao (@unmistakableceo) is the host and founder of the Unmistakable Creative podcast and author of An Audience of One: Reclaiming Creativity for Its Own Sake.
What We Discuss with Srini Rao:
- How an ADHD diagnosis in his mid-twenties and the inability to hold down a real job forced Srini to develop his own tools and systems for harnessing creativity and boosting production.
- Why expressing your creativity on a regular basis — even when it’s done without the intention of reaching an audience or being commercially successful — can be incredibly beneficial to every area of your life.
- Research shows that being creative can actually make you happier, help you recover from trauma, and increase your productivity.
- How you can cultivate your own creativity even if you’re the type of person who thinks you don’t have any to begin with.
- Why you don’t have to be a creative genius or successful artist to take advantage of the creativity-happiness connection.
- And much more…
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Creativity is one of those black box topics that sometimes doesn’t even look like a skill. Are you born with it? Can you cultivate it? Why are some people so much more creative than others? What does being creative even mean in the first place?
In this episode, Unmistakable Creative host and An Audience of One: Reclaiming Creativity for Its Own Sake author Srini Rao tells us not only how he decided to tackle these questions, but why he was forced to do so as he struggled himself to fit the mold of society’s expectations. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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More About This Show
In his new book, An Audience of One: Reclaiming Creativity for Its Own Sake, Srini Rao extols the virtues of creating with the aim of self-satisfaction before all else.
“It is an incredibly counterintuitive message,” says Srini, “particularly when we live in a world where every aspect of our humanity is quantified. We know how many friends we have on Facebook. You know how many likes you get on every post. You know how many followers you have on Twitter. You know how many hearts you get every time you post on Instagram. But when you look at really successful, creative people throughout history, one of the interesting patterns that emerged was that they made themselves the number one priority in their work. They made creating great work the priority and an audience of millions, paradoxically, was the by-product of focusing on an audience of one.
“When we say ‘creating an audience of one,’ we’re not saying create something that’s absolutely lousy that doesn’t deserve an audience — that’s not worthy of an audience’s attention. I think that so often we try really hard to get somebody’s attention, and I think the question we should be asking instead of ‘How do I get somebody’s attention?’ is ‘How do we create something that’s worthy of somebody’s attention?’”
The idea, at its core, is not to produce something of low quality that wouldn’t pass the muster of anyone but its creator, but to focus on creating something that’s so good other people can’t help but pay it heed. Oprah could have pandered to the Jerry Springer crowd for the sake of ratings when she began her talk show, but forging her own path in her own way won the race in longevity and legacy many times over. Being derivative of something that’s already proven successful in the court of public opinion may seem like a sure bet, but it doesn’t usually stand the test of time.
“Let’s say for example that you see a book on the New York Times Best Seller list,” says Srini. “And you basically go through that book, you outline it, you extract it as a formula, and then you try to create that book based on everything that you read about it, you’re not going to end up writing a New York Times Best Seller, because all you’ve created is a pale imitation of something that already exists. And yet that is the sort of default way in which we’ve been taught to do creative work for the last 10 years because of the fact that everybody else’s work is on display.”
Listen to this episode in its entirety to learn more about how Srini himself avoids creating these pale imitations, a unique spin on the interview-style podcast he’d like someone to create, why resisting metrics that rely on the approval of others keeps control in the court of the creator, the accidental path that led Srini to become a prolific content creation machine, how creativity can help you recover from trauma and increase productivity, what David Bowie understood about playing to an audience of one, and much more.
THANKS, SRINI RAO!
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Resources from This Episode:
- An Audience of One: Reclaiming Creativity for Its Own Sake by Srinivas Rao
- Unmistakable Creative
- Srini Rao at Facebook
- Srini Rao at Instagram
- Srini Rao at Twitter
- Shying From Fame’s Spotlight by Alex Hawgood, The New York Times
- Farewell to the Jerry Springer Show: 27 Years of Fights, Bleeps and Outrage by Stuart Heritage, The Guardian
- David Bowie: How Ziggy Stardust Fell to Earth by Mikal Gilmore, Rolling Stone
- Perennial Seller: The Art of Making and Marketing Work that Lasts by Ryan Holiday
- Why I Don’t Have Comments by Seth Godin
- Excellence, Mediocrity, and Why You Should Get Another Opinion: In Conversation with BlogCastFM’s Srini Rao, Danielle LaPorte
- Is Facebook the AOL of the 2010s? A Skeptical Examination of Social Media Network Effects by Cal Newport
- How Writing 1000 Words a Day Changed my Life by Srinivas Rao, Medium
- The Small Army Strategy: A Guide for Turning Fans and Followers into Fanatics and Friends for Life by Srinivas Rao
- If You Want to Build an Audience, Focus on Mastery Instead of Metrics by Srinivas Rao, Medium
- TJHS 108: James Clear | Forming Atomic Habits for Astronomic Results
- The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers by Adam Grant, TED 2016
- The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber
- Ramit Sethi: The Minute You Turn Vanilla the World Abandons You, CreativeLive
- “The Artist’s Way” in an Age of Self-Promotion by Carrie Battan, The New Yorker
- Humans of New York
- Mars Dorian
- Wine Library TV Episode #1,001
- Designing Your Environment For Optimal Performance and Creativity with Jim Bunch, Unmistakable Creative
- The 9 Environments That Make Up Your Life with Jim Bunch, Unmistakable Creative
- Moleskine Classic Hard Cover Notebook
- The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life by Shawn Achor
- TJHS 21: Benjamin Hardy | What to Do When Willpower Doesn’t Work