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You Stand Out

Lesson 4 from: FAST CLASS: Creative Calling

Chase Jarvis

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Lesson Info

4. You Stand Out

Lesson Info

You Stand Out

The job of... I'm gonna sit down for this one 'cause it's a doozy. The job of this book and this class is to help you be unapologetically you. Tell me how that would feel? It would feel really good, wouldn't it? It would feel amazing. Unapologetically you. I tell you what, you're gonna be too big for some people. Too big in spirit, too noisy, too loud, too something, too tall, too small. But you know what? Those aren't your people. But there's a challenge, right? How do I find out who I am? How do I find out what I love? I feel like you can figure it out with some of the things we've talked about already. I'm gonna tell you a little story. First of all, I'm gonna tell you a story about what's possible. You guys know Daymond John, "Shark Tank"? The "People's Shark" they call him. I was with Daymond in New York two weeks ago, and he said something simple but profound, which is how this guy operates. He's like, "You know what I loved? Man, I loved fashion and I loved making stuff and sell...

ing it. Peanut butter and jelly. I put those two things together and that became FUBU, a billion dollar brand. I loved fashion and I loved making it. He started FUBU selling hats on the street corner in Queens for 20 bucks. Wow. And if he couldn't get you to buy one for 20, he was willing to go down to 10. (audience laughs) Ansel Adams, his first sales for his photographs, 25 cents for menus in Yosemite. Anybody know that to be true? That'll blow your mind, right? This idea of starting small is so lost in our culture. We're obsessed with scale. Drew is up here saying, "And CreativeLive has more than 10 million students." You know where CreativeLive was born? It was born in a gritty warehouse about 3/4 of a mile south of here, and the first broadcaster of CreativeLive was in a room that was that big. 50,000 people showed up on the other end of that. Started small, ended up with some success. It doesn't always go like that, but we're obsessed with scale. What you need to be obsessed with is starting small. Now, I said, "Okay, I wanna be a photographer. What am I doing spending my time, or how am I spending my time right now?" What I was doing is I was spending a lot of time skiing, and fly-fishing, and traveling, and these are things that I was doing. So I said, "Okay, great, I'm gonna try and combine those things: photography with the things that I love to do." It sounds so basic, but that's how it all started. Start small. I didn't know what to do next, so here's what I did do, I went to Barnes & Noble and stood down here at University Village. It used to be a lot different. (audience laughs) And I couldn't afford a magazine. I could afford exactly one latte per week. It was $2.16. And I will tell you, I promise that this person... I showed up every week and I gave this person $2.16 in change. Because I didn't have enough and I knew I was gonna be there for six hours. So I took that, this is before Starbucks was in Barnes & Noble, and I took that Starbucks coffee and I snuck it in there, and I stood in front of the magazine rack for between four and eight hours writing down the recipe, what I considered the recipe for every photograph that I liked. Who wrote it, who took it, who was in it, where was it, what was the action? And then, I went to the front of the magazine, who's publishing this magazine? Here's the name of every photo editor. Here's where their address is in New York. And I would send them pictures of my work. Didn't have any expectation of getting anything returned, but I just started small, imperfect actions. This, to me, gives us some way to start. Peanut butter and jelly. If you're lost, peanut butter and jelly. Go to Barnes & Noble, deconstruct the work that you see in other people, and you'll say, "Wait a minute. If I just deconstruct the work that everybody else is doing, how am I possibly gonna..." No, that's them. That's not me. Here's the cool thing, I deconstructed all that stuff and I found out that you can just DEER it. Handful of acronyms in this book that I want you to hang onto. What I was doing is I was deconstructing the work that was actually out there in the world. If you're a needlepointist go deconstruct what is huge in the needlepoint community right now. If you wanna be a dog walker, look at the other businesses that are walking dogs. Now, again, right now, most of you're saying, "Wait a minute. I don't wanna be just be like them. "The goal of this book and this class is to be unapologetically me." I'm just giving you a great place to start. Deconstruct the work that you love in the world. "I love this dog walker. They've always got a bunch of dogs." What are they doing? Introduce themselves to that people. Maybe you can help out. What I like to do is learn as much as I can. And that's what I was doing at that magazine rack at Barnes & Noble. I was deconstructing the work that I saw in others. Then, you know what I started to do? I started to travel to those locations that I saw, by hook or by crook, sleeping in the car. It was action sports, so I would drive to Utah, sneak my way onto the course. I'm coming out like a thug in this class, right? (audience laughs) Sneak my way onto this course after dark or before dawn, dig a pit in the snow, hide on the course in order to magically be in the middle of the action sports Mecca of the world. I would pop up, low and behold, in the middle of the course, and I started taking pictures of the same people that were in the magazines. How much did that cost me? The price of gas and a few bagels. When we emulate the work of others, something magical starts to happen, right? We're enraptured with, "Wait a minute." You start to feel like what it feels like to do the action. I'm telling you that's very imperfect, right, to dig a hole. 'Cause the other photographers might have been in a better, more advantageous place to get good pictures, 'cause they had credentials and they had bigger cameras and they had all this other stuff. Small, imperfect actions. But you know what? I was pretending and it was working. I was emulating them enough to start to get... I would take 1,000 pictures. I'd get one or two that worked. That made me feel amazing. Then, I would go home and I would analyze those pictures, which ones were working, which ones weren't. What about them was working? This one is a great photograph of someone who has just got on the World Extreme Skiing Championships Tour. Nobody knows who they are. Not a lot of magazines are gonna wanna buy that photograph. Dang, that didn't work. Note to self: over-index on the big men and women in the industry. Okay, started analyzing. And right now, if you're like me, I would be skeptical. I'd be saying, "Yeah, okay, great I just did this, and then my pictures looked just like everybody else's. And you told me just five minutes ago, Chase, that I need to be unapologetically me. Where's the me part?" Repeat. Because here's what repetition does. Repetition is, A, the mother of skill. Repetition is, B, the only way your personal style will emerge. Because all we're all doing when we start something... Imitation is an amazing way to learn something, right? It's an amazing way to learn. You're like, "Okay, I'm gonna start breakdancing. So I do, let's see, you're like... Okay, I gotta... So I actually have to get on the ground, okay." You start to emulate. You start to see what works for you, what doesn't, and then pretty soon you're imitating other people. And you're like, "You know what? I'm really good at standing on my head. So head spins are gonna be my thing." But you only figured that out from getting on the ground and doing what everybody else is doing first. Some of y'all are tripped out by my example, I get it. (audience laughs) This is super important. This is the mechanism. This is what gets people to love you, your work, is being unapologetically you. And the only way you can do that is repetition. This is the shortcut that everyone's looking for. How do I just tap into my personal style? And you know what? You know how long it took me to find my personal style in photography? About eight years, daggers. But I was slow. I really was. Those of us who are maybe more in tune with ourselves... And I remember all that programming that I'd received. Told me I wasn't a creator. It told me I was a jock. It told me I needed to go to medical school to be approved. It told me I needed to cut concrete in order to... Sorry for the folks at home. There's a loud noise outside. So I was slow. But you know what? It worked. And the cool thing is that I have run this filter on every success that I've ever had, and it's like a laser beam, and it works for anything, everything. It's a process for getting good and it's a process for discovery. Because what happens if I'm two, three years into that process and I'm not really getting good results? I ask myself the question, "Do I love this still? Is it working?" And through just asking the those two questions, you can find out, should I keep going or not? My friend, James Victore hangs in the MoMA. The things that made you weird as a kid are what's gonna make you great today. That's unapologetically you. Speaking of personas, I find it helpful if... I also have deconstructed the lives of many folks and in doing the research for the book, I considered about 20 years of research on the book and about two years in preparing for the book in the class. And I found that it's helpful to understand these sort of personality characteristics that we all have. I just talked to you, good sir, about how you, I think that you might be ADD and wanna start a bunch of new things because it feels good to start. You get energy from starting, right? Oh, now ,I'm gonna take this and I'm gonna... And that actually is a good quality. What I found is there's a handful of personalities. And when I deconstructed all of my friends, they didn't know I was running studies on them. (audience laughs) Deconstructed all them, myself, my peers, the instructors here at CreativeLive, and I just found a few buckets. And I think it's really helpful to look at the buckets, and the first bucket I wanna talk about is a starter. Right now, we're saying, "Starter, aw, he starts lots of things and doesn't finish anything." But you know what? What's the strength of the starter? They take action. They start, they take action. They paint the painting. They bake the cake. So that's good. But if you know that you're a starter, you also know, when I'm inclined to stop something, I'm gonna push just a little bit further to see if there's something there. I'm not gonna get distracted by this shiny idea. Sometimes, inspiration is horrible and mean and gets us off track. Shiny thing, da, da, da, da, da. Maybe you're a starter. And what I do find is that you might be more than one thing. I'll tell you what I am at the end of this stuff. So there's a starter. What do you think this one is? Anybody here just keep on doing the same thing and not ever calling it done? The noodler. The strengths of the noodlers? You get started easily, right? You're good at tinkering. You heard the idea of iteration in technology. You put a product out there, an MVP, and then you make it better, make it better, make it better, make it better. Great. But if you never ship it, what are you doing? You're not putting something out there in the world and you need to hit publish. You need to ship. You need to do. Perfectionism really troubles these folks. Anybody feel like they gotta do stuff that's perfect? Yep. The prioritizer. Again, I'm not bringing these up to put anybody down, because we're all in some of these categories. I believe that knowing something about who you are and what you do matters, and it takes sometimes a little flashlight showing that thing and you're like, (exhales) "Got me." The prioritizer, very productive. The prioritizer always does not want to prioritize creativity. (audience laughs) These bills are not gonna pay themselves, right? Gotta make sure the kids are at school on time. Taskmasters. The strengths of the prioritizer is they are productive. And if we can channel that weakness into a strength, you are very well off. Okay, 'cause you're gonna get a lot of stuff done. If you can take into heart some of the things we're talking about here, if you are a prioritizer, you're gonna be well on your way. Anyone in this room stubborn, maybe a little too pragmatic, a little too rational? Don't put your hands up. It's fair, it's okay. (audience laughs) There were a couple of people I was very pleased to see that identified as creative curious, like, "I'm not sure about this whole creativity thing." I do find that they will coincide with being hyperrational, like, "I'm not so sure this idea that Chase says about creativity is in every person is all that valuable because I haven't identified as a creator. And here I am and things are going pretty good. I make $90,000. I'm very healthy and happy," et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Totally fine. I'm saying that words matter. If you identify as a creator, you're gonna realize not just that you can create something here but that you can create the life of your dreams. It's just creativity at a different scale. Strength of a resistor? You understand that I'm good at this thing and you can block everything else out. And you're like, "I don't need to be creative 'cause I'm good at spreadsheets. I run the office." That's decisive. That's aware. Now, you can imagine if you put a little bit of creativity and you can wiggle... I'm talking to you back there who identified as a... You, good sir, in the blue sweater. I don't know if this is you or not. Where a resistor struggles is, unused creativity is toxic. Most of these people, there's a thread in their existence where they feel disconnected. They feel alone. You can actually channel those feelings into great work. Many of you may be a resistor. I personally am a striver. Never enough. This book launch was good, but not perfect. This picture could have been better if I had just done, fill in the blank. And it sounds like I actually resisted naming it the striver because it actually sounds kind of positive. But it's actually one of the most toxic of these personas. Because what's the self-talk of the striver? It's really negative. The voices in our head are really, really loud. I call it the compare-and-despair trap. My friend, Marie Forleo calls it compare Schlager. If you've ever had, gosh, what is that? Goldschlager. It's literally the worst alcohol in the world. It's got little gold flecks in it. Talk about a gimmick. Then, you drink it and you feel horrible. Compare Schlager's bad. So compare-and-despair is the vice of the striver.

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