Today’s episode is with Chase Jarvis, the author of Creative Calling. Chase is an amazing guy. He is the founder of CreativeLive, which is the world’s largest live-streaming creative education website.
He also runs the popular Chase Jarvis Live show where he interviews some of the world’s best creators, innovators, and entrepreneurs–people like Brené Brown, Daymond John, and Tim Ferriss. He was also the creator of the first photo app, before Instagram, that allowed you to filter, crop, and share photos. Chase has also done commercial work as a photographer for brands like Nike, Pepsi, Volvo, Reebok, Apple, and Red Bull, and he’s won tons of recognition in international awards for his work.
He’s done a lot of amazing things, but maybe the most important might be this book that he’s written, Creative Calling. This book has an important message that life isn’t about finding fulfillment and success, it’s about creating it. Creativity has been put in the back seat in our culture, and that’s what Chase is trying to change. Because he believes that creativity is a force inside everyone and that when it’s unleashed, it transforms our lives, and delivers vitality to everything that we do.
Establishing a creative practice is arguably our most valuable and urgent task while we’re on earth. It’s as important to our wellbeing as exercise and nutrition. Whether your ambition is to have a creative career or to finish a creative project, or just simply to have a more creative mindset, this episode will unlock your potential.
Chase Jarvis: I remember it like it was yesterday. My second-grade teacher, her name was Ms. Kelly, and it was the parent-teacher conference. I remember her saying to my mom that Chase is XYZ, ABC, whatever she was saying, and then she said, what I heard really clearly, and I can recount it like it was yesterday, “He’s a lot better at sports than he is at art.”
I remember hearing that, and I wasn’t necessarily crushed emotionally that I wasn’t good at art. Although that definitely stung a little bit, it was more like what we’re rewarded for, and encouraged to do. Because as a young person, and often as an adult as well, what we really want to do is we want to fit in.
We want to connect and be liked, and when someone that you respect and admire like I did my second-grade teacher, Ms. Kelly, you tend to take that advice. That’s culture imposing its shoulds and woulds on us. I remember it like a light switch–I stopped doing my comic strip, I no longer performed magic, and I doubled down on what I was getting external validation on, which was sports.
It’s not like I wasn’t playing sports before, but I said, “Okay, great.” It sort of became an identity that I grabbed on to because it was safe, I was appreciated for it, and I was steered toward it. There was definitely something about creativity being–well, you have to be really gifted and special in order to do that.
Maybe you have to be gifted and special in sports to do that. That’s your lane, go stay in it. I recount that story because I think we’ve all been given a list of shoulds, and ultimately, when we think about not just what we do with our day-to-day or our career, but our entire life, it is steered often by the people that we care most about. The people that are closest to us, like my teacher, or a spouse, or a parent.
That can have a huge effect on how we see ourselves, and most importantly, I think, what we do with this one precious life that we have. To me, I’m going to ask the listeners to go back to that moment early in your life where you were given some sort of feedback about your own creativity. Were you creative or not creative, and just think about how it impacted your choices.
For me, I would call it almost catastrophic on my creativity because I ran the other way. Specifically, at that time, creativity and art, and sports were seen in the opposite ends of the spectrum. It was literally five or eight years later with skateboarding that I dabbled in art again because I saw a way to connect creativity with physical expression. It was punk rock, and spray paint, and skateboarding and all that stuff with the physical activity of skateboarding.
Even then, that was sort of a dabble. I went to college on a soccer scholarship. I played for the US Olympic development team and it was really after I realized that I didn’t want to go on and play professional soccer, despite having the opportunity to, and that I actually wanted to pursue my creative calling in life, that I recognized how damaging that had been, and what an opportunity I had before me to actually do the thing that I wanted to do.
I’m white, I’m male, I was born in America in the ’70s. I was born lower middle economic social status, but I almost had every advantage you could possibly have. It was still, I remember, the hardest thing to tell my parents and the people around me that I didn’t want to go to medical school or be a soccer player. I even dropped out of a PhD in philosophy, these three things in a row, to become a photographer, because that’s who I identified with and that’s what I wanted to do more than anything.
If it was hard for me, what would it be like for someone who came from more culturally disadvantaged backgrounds? I ask the reader or the listener rather to go back and listen to that point in time and look at your life arc. Now that you can be paying attention to this book or this podcast, you really do only have one shot. What are you going to do? Are you going to let the opinions of your parents, spouses, teachers, friends, peers, work, and environment dictate what you’re going to do with it?
I advocate that you don’t have to do that. Through strengthening both the awareness of what creativity is and how it can affect your life, you can begin to create in small ways every day, but ultimately that small daily creativity gives you the understanding that you have agency over your life. We get one shot. To me, that is a really, really critical way that we should think about what we’re going to do with our time on this planet.
Charlie Hoehn: What are the costs of neglecting creativity or not creating?
Chase Jarvis: First of all, we’re creating machines. We are sold the definition of creativity that it’s hard or it’s for a special few, it’s art. We were told that creativity equals art, and I want the person listening to say, “Wait a minute, no.” Art is a subset of creativity. But creativity is this thing that we were put on this planet to do, we’re creating machines, it’s what differentiates us from every other species on the planet, and whether you’re making a meal, growing a family, baking a cake, building a business, or taking photographs. It’s all creativity.
You have to understand that creativity is in every person, and it’s the back bone, it’s the framework for how we do literally everything. Because we have agency over our lives.
If creativity is just putting two unlikely things together to form something new and useful, again, whether that’s a meal, a cake, or a business, you start to understand that it is the super power of the human. The cost of ignoring that is twofold and these are two really big things.
One, if you ignore it, you have disconnected from your super power, which is not just creating small things on a daily basis that you think of like art or even building a business, but most importantly, that you are the architect and the creator of your life. You have agency over that and you’re not a cork bobbing in the tide. The life of every person that you look up to, admire, and respect, that was created. Life isn’t found, it’s not discovered, it’s created.
If you’re ignoring that aspect of it, you’re denying what is potentially the most powerful aspect that you have while you’re on this planet. So, to me, that’s a very important thing and if that’s true, then the opposite is also true, which is that not using creativity is not benign. What you’re doing is you’re trading in that eight-year-old self that was told a message that, you’re X or you’re Y, you’re betraying that part of yourself. And unused creativity is not benign, it’s toxic. I think this is a really important thing for us to grasp and I’m going to quote a friend of mine, Brené Brown. She says, “There’s no such thing as creative people and none creative people. There’s just people who use their creativity and people who don’t, and not using it doesn’t go without penalty.”
As it turns out, unused creativity is dangerous. The harm of not paying attention to this super power that basically is the reason that humans exist on this planet, which is to be able to build and create things, emotions, and connection and their lives. Turns out there’s some pretty heavy consequences.
What is Creativity?
Charlie Hoehn: To that Brené quote, what are some of the symptoms of it going unused?
Chase Jarvis: This is a classic. In the particular lies the universal, right? I’m going to tell you my story. For me, everything looked great on paper, but the voice in my head and the experience that I was having with my life, made me start to realize that I was living the life that everybody else wanted, that everyone else’s had written a script for me. It wasn’t malevolent, these are the people that are closest to me and they cared about me.
My parents wanted me to be safe and have a roof over my head. Your career counselor, they want to place you in a good job, so they get good marks, good feedback, and the college stays in business because they place people in good jobs. There are all these sorts of layers of the onion.
But here’s what it was like for me, I said, “What am I doing? I’m supposed to be happy because I got good grades, and I’m destined for medical school.” It looks good from the outside, but there’s this voice inside of me, there’s this disconnect that I’m actually not doing the thing that I was put on this planet to do. They tell me it’s crazy, it’s impractical, maybe it’s even naïve.
There’s this dissonance and this disconnect that culture programs for us that we buy in to. I did that to the tune of spending $100,000 in debt on student loans and graduate school in prep for medical school, for example. I was in graduate school and getting the PHD in philosophy, doing all these charades basically to try and keep everybody around and happy. I find that through my own experience and having more than 150 guests like yourself, and Richard Branson, and Ferris, and Brené Brown, and Daymond John, and a huge list of people, that everyone has tapped into this.
Everyone has experienced the whole world telling you what to do. It looks good on the outside, but it feels terrible on the inside. The symptoms are anxiety and depression and lack of connection. We’re social animals, you understand what connection does, and you write about this a lot in Play it Away.
If a human baby doesn’t have connection and isn’t held, that baby dies. Human connection is not a ‘nice to have’ and when you’re getting these inputs from culture, and again, there is no malevolent dictator or puppeteer crafting all this for you, this is people who love you deeply. They’re telling you that you need to be safe and this is how to do it.
The reality is it’s the most dangerous time to play it safe. There’s nothing easier and more natural and healthier than being 100% unapologetically who you are. For me, at that time in my life, that was a photographer. I wanted to travel the world, take pictures with my camera, and tell stories about people.
What I think is these toxic feelings create resentment, and ultimately, for people who are listening to this and saying, “Wait a minute, I’ve been doing this,” try and let yourself down easy and say, “I did it for my family, or my kids, or I’ve got a mortgage and this just sounds impractical.” At what cost? That’s the question that I’d ask you, what cost?
Nurturing Your Soul
Charlie Hoehn: I love that you wrote this bookCreative Callingbecause it is the practice of nurturing your soul. I think that the clearest symptom might be that you are ignoring this inner voice. I think personally, I believe that voice is a deeper intelligence than anything your logical brain is coming up with. That’s almost the protest of God within you.
Chase Jarvis: It is.
Charlie Hoehn: Telling you, “This is wrong, when are you going to listen to me?” Which brings me to the next question I have which is, the stakes are high if people ignore this. But, the fear is higher for a lot of them. How does somebody not only find the courage to listen to the protest, but how do they find the courage to get started?
Chase Jarvis: All right, I’m going to put an asterisk next to one thing you said which is the fear is greater. The fear is only greater until you reach a certain point, and what you have to hope is that that point is not at the end of your life. Because when you ask, the number one regret of dying people is that they actually did not listen to that voice and they let the rest of the world write their script. It’s not number two or five or 10. It is number one on the list of people who are dying.
You can either decide to overcome this fear now, or at some distant point in your future where it’s going to be even more uncomfortable, or on your death bed. I just ask you to reflect on what the real costs are.
You said yourself that the rational mind, it turns out, is slow, is full of bias. I call it the brain. It’s not your brain, it’s the brain. It is a million-year-old structure that was put on this planet, not to make you happy, but to make you safe and to keep you alive. Our biology hasn’t married very well with modern times, because our biology thinks that what someone says about you on Instagram or what your boss gave you on your review equates with a saber tooth tiger, and the reality is that there are no saber tooth tigers.
Our biology is meant to keep us scared and afraid, because it believes that is what’s going to keep us on this planet the longest. But the reality is, that we’re mistaken and it’s okay, I don’t want to make people feel bad. This book is not about some rosy recipe and that I started out on day one and figured it out. This is laden with my biggest failures and pitfalls. I talked about student debt earlier. I pursued what everybody else wanted for me for the first 25 years of my life before I even had a clue.
We can start to listen to that voice and again, I feel like everybody has it. You can disconnect from your rational mind just for a second, because it’s slow and imperfect. What’s more accurate and certainly much faster, and I would argue the science is early, but I think it’s going to show that that’s why they call it the gut feeling–your intuition that we’ve also been taught to ignore it. You have the data, your body is collecting data 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Billions and billions of data points, like right now, if I ask you, what does it feel like on the back off of your thigh where your jeans are hitting your leg?
You can actually feel that. Yet your body is tuning it out because it can only pay attention to a few things. The fact that it’s tuning it out does not mean it’s not gathering that information, so your body is constantly gathering this information. We have intuition. It’s listening to that deep, deep cell level biology that’s not the brain. It’s the body and it’s full of all of your experiences.
You start tuning into that. We all have it, we’ve all heard this call, because you can go back to a moment in your life where everything felt natural and where you’re doing something that you loved with people you cared about in an environment that felt empowering and inspiring. The reality is that you can actually choose that. That’s what we haven’t been told. We’ve been told that you have to do A, B, and C and this is what’s approved and this is what’s not approved. Again, it’s not malevolent, it’s trying to look out for you. I just think that it is A, from a different era and B, it’s not the full picture.
I’m trying to get us to pay attention to the full picture, and I couch this in creativity. I’m trying to couch this in something that’s so fundamental. I’m putting creativity in the same realm as nutrition and exercise. It’s so fundamental. In small, daily ways, I can take action to change my circumstances, and put myself doing the things that I love.
This is not about dropping everything and moving to Paris, wearing a beret and abandoning your family. This is starting to do small daily creative acts, establish a practice, not dissimilar to meditation or mindfulness or exercise, and that in doing so, you realize that it’s the same exact muscle that you use to create the arc of your life. It’s just creativity in a different scale.
A Habit of Creating
Charlie Hoehn: As you were saying that Chase, talking about establishing a ritual or a habit of just practicing creativity, it made me think of Hugh McLeod. He just started one day while sitting at a bar, doodling on the back of his business cards while he was still struggling. I think he was actually living in a YMCA, but he started posting those online, along with some of the stuff that he was writing on his blog.
He totally transformed his life, and he built a career out of doing that. Which is not to say to people that you should try and do this to see if it becomes something much bigger. It’s the act. Like you said, it’s the nurturing, it’s the watering your little plants of creativity and letting it bloom inside.
Chase Jarvis: Yeah, two things, one, I want to make sure that people understand that what you’re watering is not some sort of adjacent, arm’s length piece of you that is a ‘nice to have’. You’re watering your soul. I’m not saying this is about dropping out of life and becoming a violinist. This is just about tuning in to your intuition and your innate ability to create in small daily ways, so that you can create your life.
And I want to tell you a story about my mom when she was about 65 or so. I had released an iPhone app that was called Best Camera and it went on to be the app of the year in the iTunes store in 2009. It was the first app that took pictures and added in effect called a filter.
Charlie Hoehn: It was Instagram before Instagram.
Chase Jarvis: Yeah, a couple of years before Instagram. And you know, it was the first app that had a photo feed. Apple didn’t have a rule that you can’t have a photo feed. Anyway, I developed this app and I bought my mom an iPhone and put this app on it.
She’s crazy practical, she’s like, a producer mind, she has been an administrator at a biotech company for a really long time, she worked directly for the CEO, and she was very good at her job. But she was also told her whole life that she wasn’t really creative. She didn’t miss that, and she was like yeah, this is just who I am, I’m X and I’m Y. When I put this iPhone in her hand, she started taking pictures every day on her walk.
She just walked a couple of miles every day for health and wellness and she would post these photos. She went from thinking that she wasn’t creative and her friends identifying her as, “Joy, you are just super left brained, and you get all the stuff done.” She instantly was catapulted to the most creative person in her friends’ circle and I watched it on social media. I watched it in the rest of her life, her cooking changed, her travel changed. She went from just wanting to do the same thing every day, go to this particular place where they would have a vacation and then when they were done, come home–to crazy travel all over the world.
Australia, China, Antarctica, all over Eastern Europe, and it transformed her. It wasn’t days, but it also wasn’t years. It was weeks and months, just taking pictures every day and posting them. It transformed her identity and her life, and she was 65 or 66 years old at the time. She didn’t stop doing her job, and she didn’t change her friend circle, and it was really identifying as, “Wait a minute, I am creative. I have agency over what I do on a daily basis.” You know the book, Creative Calling,operates on three principle basically. These are key underlying principles.
These aren’t overtly on the book, but one is that there is creativity inside of every person. Two, that creativity is a habit, it is not necessarily a skill. It is a process, not a product and it is ultimately, like a muscles. These muscles can be strengthened through daily active use. And if you believe thing one and you believe thing two, then it’s really easy to see how that’s creating in small daily ways.
My mom is a great example that it is never too late. I watched her transform her life in a matter of weeks and she didn’t have to change anything other than her identifying as creative and just doing something super simple. This is not like she had to go out and buy a set of paints and put them in the loft and then buy a canvass. She was already walking every day, she just started taking pictures, and thinking about it, and composing them and sharing them with her friends.
Create and Then Create More
Charlie Hoehn: I think somebody said, “Don’t be the noun, be the verb.” Don’t be an artist, just create art. So, what do you say to somebody who is exceptionally harsh on themselves and they say, “Ah, my stuff is not that good.” They start their habit and they feel bad about themselves, because that is an engrained condition response.
Chase Jarvis: It is hard, and I don’t want to pretend it’s easy, but the best way that I know of combating that is action. Action over intellect. You are not going to think your way out of this. There is a powerful story that we don’t actually know if it’s real, but it goes like this–there is a ceramics teacher and they divide the class into two different sections. For this part of the class you have to make one project for the whole term, and you are judged on that project.
You can spend as much time as you want on it, but at the end, you turn in one project. Then there is another group that is judged specifically on volume. If you make one or two pots a day, then you are going to get an A. You realize that is going to be a huge volume of pots. At the end of the semester when they looked at the two different groups, the group that was focused on volume, not only had they created orders of magnitude more work, but that work was also dramatically better. It wasn’t just a little bit better–it was game changing better.
I think Andy Warhol said it really well, “Create art and while someone else is judging the work that you just did, go create some more.” It is a part of us, especially really critical people or those of us that have really active monkey minds and tough self-talk, if you can find a way to create in small lightweight ways rather than setting out to write your first novel, to me that is the secret.
My mom is a great example and I bet 95% of the people that are listening to this right now, you have taken a photo with that phone in your pocket in the last 24 hours, even if it was a receipt for your expense report. Or you had the phone out and you were composing something. What if you just did that with intention every day? This is a habit, a daily habit that I personally track, and I have tracked for I think seven years now.
I create something every day with intention, and sometimes it is literally just a single photograph. Sometimes it is my morning pages. Sometimes it’s three minutes. I just write down how I am feeling and what I want to do with my day. Sometimes at the end of the day if I haven’t done anything and I am starving and it is 9PM, I try and just add a wee little bit of twist to the meal that I am going to make. You are not going to the paint store and buying canvasses and starting a new hobby. This is just what’s within your reach right now and how you can start today.
Charlie Hoehn: Everybody is using those tools already that you mentioned, it is not this grandiose effort. It is just a simple practice, like brushing your teeth.
Chase Jarvis: You are setting yourself up for failure if you go from zero to 100. It is exactly the same as the gym. On January first everybody says, okay I am now working out seven days a week for two hours a day and I am going to do an hour of cardio. It’s something like nine days in, 75% of people have quit. If you just took actions on a regular basis that is the ticket.
It is the same here, I am not asking you to change your life dramatically. I am suggesting that we’re creative. If you take small creative steps every day, that it is going to change your outlook, it is going to change your understanding of your own agency.
Charlie Hoehn: And not just that, it is going to connect you with your soul and allow you to live a life that you won’t regret when you die.
Chase Jarvis: Yeah, you said it, so I didn’t have to. There are some real consequences. I would actually frame it rather than as consequences, I would frame it as a benefit. You can through life just doing your thing and you can tell yourself a set of stories such as, “Oh yeah, but I have a mortgage and I have three kids and I don’t have any extra time.” That is part of what I am trying to say. Let us look at barriers and what they are. They’re just stories and you can take 45 seconds to intentionally frame a cute picture of your kid every day.
Charlie Hoehn: That story is an active creation in itself. Your mind has spontaneously created a story about why you can’t be a creative person. So, what if you intentionally rewrote that story?
Chase Jarvis: Right, and here is another thing, you say, “Wait a minute, I was doing it already.” If you are doing it already, why does it matter if you identify it as creativity in that moment? It’s simple because it is a reminder that you are creating, and you are not just creating the meal. It is a reminder that you’re creating your life and that reminder is powerful medicine. Recognizing these little creative moments are identifying as a creator and that ultimately is our vehicle for personal power.
Charlie Hoehn: And you know that is why your book, Creative Calling,which I encourage everyone to get on Amazon now if you haven’t already, because we’re barely scratching the surface of the transformative content within. I know so many people who do feel like life is tossing them around and that they don’t have control. Just this simple act of doing it every day, it is one thing you have control over will ripple. It will transform other areas of your life, just like you said with your mom.
And I love that story, but I’d really want to hear some other stories because you have done so many things that have rippled out into creative people’s lives. Obviously CreativeLive is the world’s largest live streaming creative education website, which is crazy. You have interviewed a lot of the world’s best creators and entrepreneurs and innovators on your podcast, the Chase Jarvis Live Show and of course you’ve done tons of work with some of the world’s biggest companies.
So, you probably have countless stories of people who have been impacted in their creative lives by you, your work, your legacy, what are the ones that jump out at you?
Chase Jarvis: Well, I think you hit the nail on the head about the scale and I think I have been very fortunate there. I think it is important to say that I didn’t start out one day trying to have an app that is used by millions of people or CreativeLive, for example. That was built in a teeny little dirty warehouse in South Seattle. It was about 350 square feet and, so it’s not like I set out to have this scale. Now we have more than 10 million people using the platform.
These were small projects and that they have scaled was really a testament to having a love for what you are creating and a focus that helped reach all those people. The cool thing for me was having the guts to listen to the things that I was supposed to be doing in the world. Sometimes having the guts comes in moments of trauma, right? So, for me, I was caught in an avalanche in Alaska shooting a campaign for Nike and I should be dead by every measure.
That was very transformative, like what am I doing with my life? I need to be creating some of these things and the reality is that that can happen to anyone right? We all have these horrible moments. My grandfather also dropped dead of a heart attack completely unannounced, and the silver lining there is that I was given his camera. So, at these huge moments we sometimes look back at our life.
I am asking why would you wait for those moments? I am completely imperfect and the classic example of requiring those big moments to take stock of my life. But you don’t have to wait. You can take this action today. I have taken some of those actions and there are millions of people who are using the tools and the platforms that we have made.
The cool thing is it’s just basically a stream of stories. You asked for one so I will give you one.
I was in New York yesterday. I met up with a guy by the name of Paul. I will tell you Paul’s story and this is the story that he recounted to me. Paul was living in Ghana and he was paying attention to CreativeLive, because he had fallen on hard times and he had to get a job. He was trying to find a way to go to school.
He had to start making money and he wanted to make money in a way that wasn’t manual labor. It wasn’t something he loved and so, he basically sold all of his possessions. His most valuable possession was his phone and he sold his phone. He bought a camera and in order to afford this camera, he started living with the Maasai Tribe basically for free, so that he could start telling stories of the people of Africa. You are saying right now, “This is crazy, dude. You don’t have a job and you’re in a hard time, you should go get a dishwashing job somewhere.”
But he listened to that voice inside him that gave him this guidance and he was so talented that he really quickly, not dissimilar to my mom, discovered this talent that he’d had. He got introduced to CreativeLive and was listening to my podcast, which is free.
He is figuring out what he’s supposed to be doing, and he is telling stories of local Africans. Down the street walks this other guy that he admires. His name is Brandon Stanton. Brandon created the site called The Humans of New York. Brandon is one of the most highly visible photographers working today, he has 30 some odd million fans and followers and also his story is recounted in the book. It is a beautiful story, but he is walking down the street, taking pictures.
If you don’t know Humans of New York, he takes a picture, get a little vignette, and then publishes these stories. He bumps into Paul. Now Paul knows Brandon because he’s been on my podcast and on CreativeLive. He says, “Oh my god, this is amazing.” He tells this beautiful story of his experience that I don’t want to go too deep recounting, but Brandon, then he calls me. I am on the West Coast. I’m San Francisco, my phone rings at 4:30 in the morning and I’m like, “Dude what are you doing?”
I would normally roll over, but I just looked at my phone and I am like, “Okay, what is going on here. This must mean something.” Because he knows where in the world I am. I answered the phone. He said, “I am standing in Ghana with a guy named Paul who says you’ve transformed his life. What I am going to do is I am going to find a way to connect you guys.” And I said, “Tell Paul I will do anything for him. Tell him he’s got a CreativeLive full subscription for life.”
He said, “This guy is also an amazing photographer.” So short story long, I started mentoring him from afar. Brandon did a post, we both wrote letters to the ICP and got him a scholarship and got him out of Africa. Now he is attending the International Center for Photography in New York on a full scholarship. Through the Humans of New York Patreon, Brandon is supporting Paul. I met Paul yesterday. There wasn’t a dry eye.
It was so amazing to have Paul be at what was a low point in his life, and to have him turn to his creativity, especially in a world where everyone else was steering towards something that was practical and safe, and all of those other things that we have all been told. Not only did it unlock his own personal creativity and agency, but it completely transformed his life. Now he is living in New York going to ICP, and studying photo journalism with some of the best photo journalists in the world.
He is going to go on to tell the most amazing stories of Africa. That is what he wants to do from the perspective of someone who lives there, as opposed to these National Geographic photographers who sort of parachute in to tell the story. So, whether it is my mom at 70 years old in suburban Seattle, or Paul in the middle of Africa, or even Brandon’s story, which is super powerful.
Brandon was fired from his job as a bond trader in Chicago. He said, “I’ve got one life, I need to spend my time how I want. I want to move to New York and start taking pictures every day.” And now, every time he puts a book out it goes straight to number one. He has given I think maybe it’s tens of millions, certainly millions and millions of dollars to charity, and he has the life that he wants from a daily practice, taking photographs of strangers on the streets of New York.
Human connection is more critical now than ever before, in a time where we’re divided. Creativity has the power to connect us. The work and the process, they ground us into who we are. I can tell you a hundred stories because I get them all the time, but I think if you go to creativelive.com/stories there is a bunch of videos of people that we come in contact with and we try to share their stories.
I will stop telling stories because I could go on all day. I think the meta point is that this isn’t about necessarily me, or the book, or my work, it is about the power of creativity to transform our lives in ways that we can’t expect, by a simple daily practice.
The Shoulds and Woulds
Charlie Hoehn: I want to thank you so much for just being you and having the courage to pursue what you are doing and to share your creative abilities and tools and everything with everyone else.
Chase Jarvis: Writing this book, it took everything I had. Sometimes we do go all out for our creative passions. It is not required, but at some point, when your muscles are strong you do. I felt all the same fears that you feel about being judged and about putting your creativity out in the world. I am living those right now. It never goes away. It really doesn’t, and I think that there is actually power in this idea.
In the end the question is this, “Are you willing to choose creativity or are you going to betray yourself?” You know the shoulds never go away, you know what is on that list of shoulds changes as you grow older, but it never goes away. Even though I am a lifelong creator, and you listed a bunch of the things that I’ve put out into the world, I still have to fight for that eight-year-old creator in me every day. This isn’t something that goes away. I just think that it is worth the fight, it is worth the effort.
Charlie Hoehn: Beautifully said. Two final quick questions for you Chase, the first is how can our listeners follow you, connect with you, maybe share a story of how your work has impacted them?
Chase Jarvis: I would love to hear people’s stories, that would be so amazing. I love to share that stuff and I love to share anything that you want to share with me, or if you don’t want me to share it, I am fine not. The way to do that is I am basically just Chase Jarvis, my full name, on all the platforms–on Insta, Twitter, and YouTube, that is my handle. You can get the book anywhere books are sold–your favorite retailers, either physical or online will have it. Pre-orders really matter, so I know that you are one of that handful of podcasts to get to drop this early. So, I appreciate you all checking that out. Of course, check out CreativeLive. They are CreativeLive on all the social media handles. At the website there are more than 10,000 hours from people like Charlie, and Tim Ferris, and BrenéBrown, and Daymond John and a lot of the folks that we have talked about here or that I think are inspirations to all of us.
So, you can get a subscription, or you can just learn for free there as well.
Charlie Hoehn: Give our listeners a challenge. What is the one thing that they can do from your book this week that will have a positive impact on their life?
Chase Jarvis: Start now. Even if you identify as a creator, great. Then I find that some of us aren’t actually creating, because I identify as a creator and I lose my creative streak lots of times. I would just say start. If you’re disconnected from your own creativity for even just a moment, you’re creative curious. Maybe what we talked about today is resonant with you. It doesn’t require that you drop everything. It doesn’t require that you abandon your family or lifestyle.
There is no such thing as the poor starving artist, that it is not real. I would say start creating in small lightweight ways. Tonight, when you make dinner, think about it and import just a creative twist that you might not have otherwise done. If you are taking a picture, take more than one. Take three and four and frame them in a couple of different ways. I would encourage you to do that every day for a couple of days. Then think about that moment–every time you step into it how does it feel? Do you realize that you have agency, not just to create that photograph, but to create your life?
Charlie Hoehn: The book is Creative Calling. You can get it on Amazon and in stores. Chase Jarvis, thank you so much for being on the show, my friend.
Chase Jarvis: It’s a treat. I love the show. I am a huge fan of your work. I have told you before in person and very publicly on my podcast that Play It Away changed my life and so keep doing what you are doing. It is an honor to be a part of your tribe. But thank you.