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Making it Personal, Manufacturing Your Own Deadlines, Understanding the Foundations of Creativity (Reading Notes 6.26.18)

Resource: Get personal.


Get out of networking mode and get into friendship mode. It’s much better to get to know people on a personal level than it is to always be selling yourself and marketing your product. When you’re overselling all the time, it exudes a kind of anxiety that turns people away and hinders your capacity to make genuine connections.

If you focus more on developing friendships with people who are interesting to you, you’ll build an awesome professional network without even realizing it.


On realizing he was already in the music industry before recognizing it:

“Before I got into the music industry, I had an idea of what it would look like: Some powerful manager or agent calling me into his office to discuss the business of my music. Then I moved to New York City and became friends with cool people who also did things in music. Sometimes these people were agents or managers, but that was secondary. Mostly we were just friends. Sometimes I’d send them clients. Sometimes they’d hook me up with opportunities. But really we were just friends, talking about our love lives or ideas, hanging out and having fun. It was a long time before I realized that I was already in the industry — that this is how things are done. People send business to people they like. It’s all more personal than I had expected.”

On why you need to get personal:

“Point is: As you’re out there in the music business, get personal. Don’t always be selling yourself. That keeps people at a distance from you, because it shows you’re not friends. Even if it starts professional, get personal as soon as possible. Be a friend. That’s how things are done.”

Resource: If you need deadlines to do your best work…


There’s no shame in doing whatever you need to do in order to be on your A-game. If you have a procrastination problem, find a way to exploit it for good. If you’re motivated by fear and urgency, manufacture some healthy things to feel fearful and urgent about. What matters is that you’re effective at creating the results that matter most to you. How you get there is less important than THAT you get there. As long as it’s consistent with your value-system, trick yourself into the kind of behavior you need to see from yourself.


“Set up a method of reward or punishment with a third party. Money in escrow that goes to a cause you abhor. Public congratulations. Whatever the method, the point is the same: You’ve been trained since childhood to respond to external deadlines. For many people, that’s the only way to feel the magic of accomplishment. If you need the last minute to be your best self, first go manufacture some last minutes.”

Resource: ‘Frankenstein’ Author Mary Shelley on Creativity


The old saying “input determines output” is true of the creative process. If you want to be a great creator, you have to be a great consumer.

Moments of inspiration seem to come from nowhere, but they’re generated by the subconscious mind after it synthesizes all the various influences you’ve given it.

The theme of this post reminds me of a Jason Silva clip where he talked about “idea sex.” This is the notion that all the ideas we ingest/consume will have conceptual intercourse with each other and this results in the offspring of new ideas. Like a child, the new ideas are composed of the genes of their ancestor ideas but they have a personality and form that is unique.

Shelley makes the distinction between nothingness and chaos. Nothingness is taken to mean “having no prior influence.” Chaos is taken to mean “that which is by-product of interactions between influences.” Invention is when your subconscious mind fashions order (a unique idea) out of chaos (an unpredictable mingling of disparate ideas).

Consuming great content and opening yourself to many influences is only one aspect of invention. Another aspect is time. Ideas need time to mingle and crystalize. If you want to be more invention, take in more ideas, take the time to process them, and give them time to marinate and settle. Ingest, digest, and rest.


On the relationship between the conscious and subconscious mind in the creative process:

““Creativity involves not only years of conscious preparation and training but unconscious preparation as well,” Oliver Sacks wrote in outlining the three essential elements of creativity, adding: “This incubation period is essential to allow the subconscious assimilation and incorporation of one’s influences and sources, to reorganize and synthesize them into something of one’s own.” “The richer one’s reservoir of these influences and sources, the more interesting their synthesis into something new would be.”

Mary Shelley on how invention springs forth from chaos:

“Every thing must have a beginning… and that beginning must be linked to something that went before… Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos; the materials must, in the first place, be afforded: it can give form to dark, shapeless substances, but cannot bring into being the substance itself. In all matters of discovery and invention, even of those that appertain to the imagination, we are continually reminded of the story of Columbus and his egg. Invention consists in the capacity of seizing on the capabilities of a subject, and in the power of moulding and fashioning ideas suggested to it.”

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