Jay Shetty welcomed Rick Rubin on this On Purpose podcast episode.
Rubin is a nine-time Grammy-winning producer, named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time and the most successful producer in any genre by Rolling Stone. He collaborated with artists from Tom Petty to Adele, Johnny Cash to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and Kanye West to Jay Z.
In this episode, Jay Shetty introduces Rubin’s new book, The Creative Act: A Way of Being. The book is for anyone looking to tapinto parts of themselves they may not even know existed or seek to refine those existing aspects. The primary message is that we are all creators. According to Rubin, the best way to be accepted is to be authentic.
We Are Multifaceted
Jay Shetty discussed the Japanese philosophy of three faces: the one we show to the world, the one we offer to family and friends, and the third face, often hidden even from ourselves. Rubin agreed and emphasized that tapping into our authentic selves is the source of all beauty, imagination, and creativity.
Rubin encouraged curiosity and openness to learn. He stressed the importance of evolving with new information, re-evaluating long-held beliefs, and being open to new insights.
Curiosity is another crucial factor in understanding others’ perspectives. Rubin emphasizes that embracing curiosity about differing worldviews can lead to a deeper understanding and broadens one’s perspective. He proposes that a person can thoroughly learn a story by understanding all its facets, thus suggesting a need to step out of personal biases and look at situations from multiple angles.
Don’t Fear Creativity
Rubin shared with Jay Shetty that creativity is not only reserved for the ‘artistic’ individuals. It is a part of everyday decisions and problem-solving methods. His book challenges the traditional concept of what a book should be, encouraging readers to break free from societal constructs.
However, Rick Rubin distinguishes fearlessness in art and life. While he identifies as fearless in art, he admits to experiencing fear in life situations. Fear is a construct of the mind. Yet fear and creativity often intertwine, especially when one fears not being ‘creative’ enough.
One of the common obstacles people face in accessing their creativity is the concern about others’ opinions as one of the major roadblocks. Rubin asserts that the artist’s satisfaction should be the priority, not the audience’s appreciation.
Rick Rubin shared with Jay Shetty a fresh perspective on creativity, viewing it as an act of devotion or an offering to a higher power. By seeing creativity in this light, Rubin suggests that creators can feel free and untethered by societal or commercial pressures.
Staying True to Your Creative Vision
Jay Shetty and Rick Rubin focused on the increased access to instant feedback via social media and how it impacts creativity. Jay questioned whether this instant feedback loop was stifling creativity. The pair discussed how the desire for quick feedback and the pressure to conform to trends identified by data might restrict the artist’s authenticity.
Rick Rubin told Jay Shetty that sticking to an original, authentic vision can make a creation stand out. As an illustration, he mentioned his own experience while creating his book. “I started the book eight years ago. This is my vision for this book. And they all said that’s not the book anybody wants from you. That’s not the book.”
Despite facing initial opposition from publishers, Rubin held steadfast to his vision. He waited till the book was written to find a publisher who truly wanted to publish the book he had envisioned and written.
Controlling audience perception could stifle creativity. Rubin highlighted the importance of individual expression, saying, “The goal is to get to this; this is how I see it. I don’t know what other people are going to think. I can’t know what other people are going to think. But this is how I see it. And I want to show you how I see it.”
Altering the Environment for Creativity
Jay Shetty and Rick Rubin share insights about leveraging environmental changes to fuel creativity. Jay emphasizes the importance of trying different things, such as turning off the lights or changing the location of a recording to boost creativity. He shares examples of singers altering their usual singing settings to create a shift in their performance. Rubin speaks of a similar approach in the studio, changing the environment if a song isn’t improving.
Having an audience can alter an artist’s performance, pushing them to focus more. Rubin brings up a Beatles anecdote to Jay Shetty, mentioning how their public personas would change when they were together. It means that the presence of others can profoundly impact an individual’s behavior and performance.
Jay Shetty notes that being unique in your work can make you stand out. Rubin shares his approach to dealing with criticism and feedback, emphasizing that it tells more about the critic than the one being criticized. He shares how some artists he’s worked with avoid criticism while others can read negative reviews and laugh it off. They agree that the only valid comparison or competition is with oneself – to continue to evolve and improve one’s art.
Distraction and Procrastination
Jay Shetty and Rick Rubin discuss distraction, procrastination, and their impact on creativity. Rubin differentiates between the two, pointing out that distraction can be beneficial if used correctly. He shares his experience of switching from lunch to walking meetings, which helped him lose weight and made the sessions more exciting and productive.
Furthermore, Jay Shetty presents a case where concentration isn’t the only way to achieve a result, citing his minimalist office setting filled with minor artifacts. He explains how these artifacts and observing nature help stimulate creativity. He introduces an MIT study, revealing that employees with more diverse connections generated more original ideas than those in echo chambers, emphasizing that diversity in environmental and social circles can contribute to more innovative thinking.1
Therefore, Jay Shetty stresses the importance of diversifying knowledge sources. He shares his interest in different spheres of influence, from monks to Silicon Valley experts to music geniuses, as he believes each provides a unique perspective.
The Weight Loss Journey
Rick Rubin’s lifelong struggle with weight issues shaped his approach toward life and work. He recounts his journey of trying various weight loss methods, including having a performance coach living with him. However, none of these efforts yielded any results, leaving him to believe that his weight issue was a genetic problem he couldn’t change.
Finally, a nutritionist at UCLA, recommended by one of Rubin’s mentors, provided the proper guidance. Despite initial skepticism, he followed the nutritionist’s instructions and lost around 135-140 pounds in 14 months. This achievement marked a significant turning point in his life, not only due to the physical transformation but also because it shattered his belief that he was destined to remain overweight.
Having successfully lost weight, Rubin was invited to train with athletes like Laird Hamilton. Initially, he struggled with simple tasks like push-ups. Still, he gradually improved his physical capabilities with consistent practice and encouragement. Rubin found the athletes’ company inspiring and rewarding, fostering an appreciation for people who excel in fields different from his own.
Job and Purpose
Rubin told Jay Shetty that one’s job and one’s purpose don’t always align, and it’s possible that one’s career merely facilitates the pursuit of their actual purpose during their spare time. Many people try to merge their jobs and purposes, which may only sometimes be feasible or desirable.
Rubin stresses the joy and purposefulness of practicing creativity, asserting that we are all on this planet to play our unique part in the grand scheme of things. One’s purpose can often be embroiled in the commonality and repetitiveness of today’s jobs, making it harder to perceive one’s uniqueness and purpose.
Rubin encourages the listeners to maintain financial stability through their jobs and then freely pursue their passions without financial stress affecting their creativity or enjoyment. Jay Shetty and Rick Rubin agree that pursuing passion and creativity will always involve struggle or discomfort regardless of context. The key is to find meaning in that struggle and keep exploring one’s purpose, constantly being aware of one’s inherent worthiness.
Rick Rubin asserts that everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and we can produce something extraordinary occasionally. This reality breaks down the fallacy of ‘special people’ and ‘ordinary people.’ Rubin believes everyone is unique and capable of exceptional achievements.
Jay Shetty and Rick Rubin discuss the illusory link between success and happiness. Rubin shares his experience with the Beastie Boys album’s success, which made it number one on the charts. Despite this public accolade, he felt no different internally, demonstrating that external achievements do not change our core selves or fill any inner void.
Rubin emphasizes that numerous successful individuals, artists, and entrepreneurs often find themselves unhappy, despite having accomplished their dreams. In his view, material or public success cannot satisfy our more profound desire for fulfillment.
Rubin recalls his exhilaration in producing his first records when asked about inward success. The excitement didn’t come from what the achievement represented but from the unique creation process and hearing it in a club or on the radio. The magic and unexpectedness of hearing his songs in different places still bring him joy, displaying the sustained freshness of his craft.
Jay Shetty also shares his thoughts on joy, happiness, and success, citing presence, learning and growth, achievement, and service as crucial elements. He emphasizes that although achievement is essential, the benchmark for success has predominantly become external. This focus often needs to pay more attention to whether the achievement is worth pursuing.
Humble beginnings of extraordinary outcomes still surprise Rubin. The ability to create something they believe is fantastic and then witness its impact on thousands or millions of people intrigues the process. Rubin concludes that this continual sense of wonder prevents his work from becoming routine, allowing him to revel in the magic of creation.
The Power of the Mind
Jay Shetty explores the power of reminiscence and subconscious appreciation. Each song Rubin hears triggers memories of the small but impactful moments that created it, keeping his experiences fresh and intriguing. On the other hand, he rarely revisits his work unless to seek inspiration or provides an artist with a reference point. This preference isn’t rooted in nostalgia but rather in a constant desire to create anew.
Despite Rubin’s lack of regular retrospection, he shares a unique practice: journaling about dreams. Rubin affirms that dreams hold important messages from our subconscious. Noting their transient nature, Rubin encourages the listeners to write down as much as possible to tap into more memories and details upon waking up. Over time, with distance and perspective, these dream journals can reveal common themes and messages that were initially elusive, thus providing valuable insights into our subconscious minds.
Rubin and Jay Shetty agree that people should be attentive to their bodies’ signals, even when they seem obscure. Rubin shared an experience when his body displayed anxiety while heavy lifting, which later became a warning sign of a significant heart condition. Our bodies’ wisdom can surface subtly, often communicating through our intuition.
Jay Shetty asserts that many people start neglecting their inner voice early on, causing it to grow faint. Rubin suggests reconnecting with our intuition through conscious efforts. He believes it is crucial to heed our inner voice, as it guides us toward what suits us best, even when expert advice indicates otherwise.
The Power of Individuality in the Pursuit of Success
Rubin draws attention to the tendency of successful individuals to start seeking external direction, which he perceives as a misguided approach. He affirms that success often comes from listening to our inner selves. Therefore, he encourages individuals to trust their intuition, asserting that the best wisdom often comes from within.
Jay Shetty reflects on the pitfalls of rigidly accepting external advice or attempting to know everything. It is beneficial to approach situations with a flexible mindset, accepting the possibility of different outcomes and not clinging to specific expectations.
Rubin promotes listening to our intuitive inner voice, emphasizing that it can often be more accurate than externally offered advice. He advocates for individuals to be attentive intuitively to the internal information they receive.
More From Jay Shetty
Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “Rick Rubin ON: Why Unconventional Methods Lead to Success & The Secret to Genuinely Love What You Do” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.