How to Make Sure You’re as Un-creative as Possible

Creativity , Personal Development , Writing Sep 22, 2017 No Comments

I’ll never forget watching Shepherd Smith of Fox News break down on live TV as he reported the damage from Hurricane Katrina while standing just a few feet from a dead body. The far edges of human emotion and cognitive processing cannot be accessed virtually but only through a living experience. This is why you should stop reading books and blogs, and attending webinars long enough to go to a live event.

thinking-skills

Jeff Goins and myself

Attending Tribe Conference hosted by bestselling author Jeff Goins for the past two years has been a total gamechanger for me.

I’ve made huge strides in my writing craft, in my marketing ability, and in honing my message. All of this is in addition to forging wonderful friendships that will be a part of my life for years to come.

And none of this would have been possible if I’d stayed home and only continued reading Jeff’s blog, listening to his podcast, and reading his books.

But going to a conference halfway across the country is expensive, especially if you’re a bootstrapper with four small kids like myself. Why not then just read the books and camp out on YouTube for a few days consuming the content of the featured speakers?

That would be a lot cheaper and wouldn’t the content mostly be the same?

Fair point.

Although you can pick up on nuances in the speaker’s messages when hearing them live, they mostly cover the thesis of their latest book or the core message for which they’re known.

But what you hear from the stage is not why you should sacrifice your time and money to go to a live event.

It’s what you get in-between that matters. It’s the face-to-face interaction. And it’s what its how it improves your thinking skills. 

Therefore, this post is not going to include any of the quotes that I heard FROM THE STAGE.

Instead, here are a few interactions that I had with speakers and well-known bloggers, podcasters, and authors at the conference. 

Ishita Gupta

As she plopped down on the couch in the premium ticket lounge she felt compelled to say, “Whew! I just shot a dance video. That’s why I look like this. (she was a bit disheveled).”

 

Ryan Holiday

“In The 48 Laws of Power, Robert Greene (a mentor of Ryan’s) is not advocating for people to swindle their way to success. He’s just saying, ‘here’s how power works, use at your own discretion.’ The irony is that Robert is the nicest guy on the planet.”

“I’m not a journalist author whose job is to secure original research. Instead, I want to use stories that make emotional connections with readers.”

“My favorite part about having a popular book is that I get to call and talk to amazing people and call it research.”

thinking-skills

Ryan Holiday and Yours Truly

Tim Grahl

I told Tim that I’d recently heard a best selling author say that storytellers had to be born with the gift for it. His reaction was priceless.

He lifted both hands, looked skyward and said, “Oh my god, that makes me so angry! As a listener of the show, you know how bad I was at fiction when Shawn Coyne started helping me two years ago. In the past year I’ve entered two short story contests againsts hundreds of other writers and have gotten fourth place both times. Why do writers keep saying that!”

Tim has more than a few believers. He went on to tell me that the Story Grid is exploding in popularity to the point that all of its training seminars are selling out despite doing no advertising for them.

Benjamin Hardy

Medium’s most prolific writer told me, “I’m thankful for the success that I’m having and for opportunities it provides, like speaking at this conference. But it cuts both ways. Going to conferences like this takes me away from my family. And I hate that. I miss my family.”

People with six figure email lists and $220,000 book deals have human problems too.

Side note: Ben is quite fond of black joggers with black t-shirts. 

Pamela Slim

“If only I’d thought a little more about the book cover and title, there’s no telling how many copies of “Escape from Cubicle Nation” I could have sold.”

Pamela’s tongue-in-cheek quip was in response to a story relayed her by attendee Eric Gale. Gale humorously described the pains he went through to conceal the book’s title while reading it at his corporate job during breaks.

Dan Miller

“Most of clients that I help transition into a different vocation are pastors. In fact, a recent client began oozing a foul smelling pus from his body due to the prolonged stress of the ministry.”

That doesn’t surprise me. I’m not sure there’s a tougher job on the planet. As a former pastor, I should know. Much respect for those who do it well.

Much respect for those who do it well.

Ray Edwards

Ray gave me the rundown on his new book that he’s currently pitching to publishers.

“No matter how much money you have, you’ll never have enough until you understand how to prosper in your soul.”

His working title is Permission to Prosper.

Jon Acuff

As he was signing my book Jon remarked, “ ‘ Jathan’. I’ve never heard of that name before.”

Thanks Jon. Neither had Ryan Holiday. You’re welcome.

By the way, Jon is actually funnier in person than he is on social media. And that’s saying something.

 

As you can see, these conversations are all over the map. In other words, they’re very human. And that’s my point.

Too often when left to curate our own learning experiences we constrict ourselves to what interests US and what WE think is necessary for our growth.  

If camp out in this bubble long enough we become the most convergent of thinkers, only considering the most limited solutions to problems we face. 

But leaving the safety of the studio in New York and touching down in storm-ravaged, steamy ground zero shines a light down unexplored neural pathways and opens up both new ways of thinking and feeling.

By this we become more divergent in our thinking, considering many possible solutions to the things barring our way. 

We become truly creative, making our message and ourselves more valuable to our audience and our world.

It’s settled then. I’ll see you on October 26-28 at Tribe Conference 2018.

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