The Creative Act


Rick Rubin is a legendary music producer and in this book he shares his experience in how we can all tap into our creativity, unleashing the artist within each of us.

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Key Takeaways

  1. Everyone is a creator
  2. The universe is as large as your awareness. Cultivate your awareness to increase the size of your universe
  3. Art is our portal to the unseen world
  4. Be finely tuned to moments that take your breath away, coincidences, surprises. These are all opportunities to trust your gut, leaning into feeling more then intellect. It’s not unusual for science to catch up to art, nor art the spiritual
  5. The more aware you are, the more clues you’ll notice. Look for what you notice but no one else sees
  6. We tend to think of artists by their output, when in reality being in
  7. Nature is the most enduring and powerful teacher
  8. Focus on the sensations of the inner world for there are powerful insights there. The transition art period between wake and sleep a have profound insights too. We don’t know why or how this subconscious works but you’re robbing yourself if you don’t pay attention and cultivate this internal world
  9. It’s better to follow the universe than those around you
  10. Why is sometimes out of our comprehension. And that’s ok
  11. Distractions and physical movement can keep the conscious mind busy and unlock new perspectives
  12. The purpose of the art is to awaken something in you first and then to awaken something in others
  13. Keeping mind that rules are not laws. They are limitations and if not helpful, break them. Rules direct us towards mediocre behavior
  14. Don’t sleepwalk through life. Be truly present and engaged. Imagine how different life would be if you approached all you did with the same focus as if you were landing a plane. Don’t just life life as if you’re knocking off things from your to do list. Patience is required for the nuanced development of your craft
  15. Sometimes knowing less leads to breakthroughs. Innovation through ignorance
  16. If you know what you wanna do, and you do it well, you’re a craftsman. If you begin with a question and let that guide you in your journey of discovery, you’re an artist.
  17. Often, the best way to see if the seed of an idea is worth following through is if there is an emotional response rather than intellectual one. Let excitement and delight be the guiding force in the early stages.
  18. Failure is the information you need to get where you’re going
  19. To test an idea, you must build it. You can’t rely on the abstract – you have to bring it into the world to play with it feel it and only then can you judge whether it’s worth pursuing or not
  20. Art is often the bending, ignoring or breaking of rules. However, sometimes the temporary rules and limitations, spark creativity is it focuses the mind
  21. Pay close attention to strong reactions, whether positive or negative. There could be deeper meeting there if you seek to understand that strong emotion.
  22. Enhancing our self-awareness is one of the best things we can do as an artist. Becoming more aware of what I sent it to us, what moves us, what makes us feel positively and negatively of enrich our artistic process
  23. Living in a mode of discovery, rather than assumption, it’s preferable in any situation
  24. If we’re making something we love, there’s nothing at all to figure out. We need not hyper rationalize everything. We can simply do it because we love it and find it fun
  25. The artists’ job is never done. Being an artist is a way of being, a way of living, not simply something you do.
  26. In a creative process, it’s often more difficult to achieve something by aiming at it.
  27. You need not stand for your art, nor your art for you. You do not do not need to offer any explanation to anyone, including yourself. We have no responsibility other than to the art itself
  28. The only practice that matters is the one you consistently do
  29. There is an artistry in how you practice your art as well. You must work tirelessly, but also give yourself brakes to rest, recover, and detach. Similar to how you breakdown muscle and then have to wait for the muscle to build up, so must the artist recover.
  30. The call of the artist is to follow the excitement for where there is excitement there is energy and where there’s energy, there’s light.
  31. The best work is the work you’re excited about
  32. True art is pure play

What I got out of it

  1. A timeless, beautiful book. Rick’s background is in music, but his perspective is applicable across all life domains

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