Hello. I’m Jake. 👋
This a newsletter for creative rebels and maverick creators who want to:
Learn new creative hacks and mental models
Crush the creative blocks that hold them back
Connect deeper with your audience with integrity, empathy, and philosophy
Stand out and make a racket in saturated markets
I write actionable, science-based, content to help artists, creative rebels, and entrepreneurs do just that.
My content covers peak creative performance strategies, overcoming creative blocks, and connecting deeply with your audience.
I’m a former multi-platinum artist manager with over 25 years of experience working with elite artists and creatives who had scores of hits across Europe and sold millions.
I created a methodology called Peak Creative Performance for aspiring and elite creative rebels who want to change the world.
Here’s my manifesto…
Creative Hackers: How to Change the World
“It seems safe to say that in no other era of human history have we had so great a need for creativity.” — (Dacey & Lennon)
First goal? Peak Creative Performance:
What is it?
It’s the surprisingly difficult art of being our true creative selves and fulfilling our creative potential.
It’s about embracing our weirdness, sticking two fingers up to averageness and creating extraordinary work and ideas.
It’s a deliberate practice to become purposeful creatives who have an impact —and make a difference.
It’s for people who truly want to live their lives and die with no regrets over unfulfilled potential.
Who is this for?
Artists, creative rebels and maverick entrepreneurs. Today we need to be all three in order to compete.
Artists and creators use their creativity to create their work and their entrepreneurial skills to market it.
Creative entrepreneurs solve problems and use artistry to build the solutions that didn’t exist before.
In order to succeed in oversaturated global markets we need to blend disparate skills to create something new, which somewhat ironically, is the definition of creativity…
“ Creativity is just connecting things.” — Steve Jobs
We have 3 key challenges to overcome to reach creative nirvana and fulfil our potential.
Stop following the crowd and being average
Coping with stress, pressure, and anxiety
We have 3 key opportunities to expand our creativity and impact.
Using research based, creative hacks and mental models to expand the framework of our thinking and creative perspectives
Create our ideal creative world
Challenge 1: Fear
“Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.” — Erica Jong
In 1968, NASA had a problem. The US was in a middle of a Space race. All the brightest scientists were desperate to work on the project.
NASA was overwhelmed. They naturally wanted to find the brightest candidates. But more importantly, they needed to employ the best creative talent.
The trouble was no test existed to achieve that.
So they approached George Land. He built a creativity test. NASA used it, and it was very effective.
Very little was known about creativity. The test was simple. NASA thought they could test 5 year olds and see what happened.
They tested 1,600 kids with the same test to gauge the creative threshold.
The results were astonishing. 98% of 5 year olds were creative geniuses.
They were astounded! So much so they tested the same kids again when they were 10 years old.
This time the creative geniuses had fallen to 30%
They tested them again at 15 and this time only 12% of the kids remained in the creative genius threshold.
The same test was given to 280,000 adults. The average age was 31.
Only 2% of the adults were creative geniuses.
The barriers to our creativity
So what happened? The education system for a start. The low priority and importance put onto creativity and the arts.
But what both George Land and Sir Ken Robinson discuss in their TED talks is its our fear that cripples our creativity.
Our consciousness kicks in when we are about 6 or 7. This is when we start feeling self-conscious and caring what other people think.
Our fear of rejection and fear of failure paradoxically make us fail. They are self-fulfilling prophecies.
In order to create extraordinary work, we need to conquer our fears.
We need to take creative risks. Push boundaries and get out of your comfort zone. Not many are willing to do that.
So they dilute their creativity. To fit in. And be accepted. It’s the tragic curse of humanity. It’s not our creativity that fails us, it’s our fear that fails our creativity.
Future, actionable, content will feature research based articles and strategies on how to overcome the fears that are holding you back, based on:
Sports and Performance psychology
Challenge 2: Stop being average - be yourself instead
“No-one can compete with you being you. Most of life is a search for who and what needs you most.” — Naval Ravikant
Every market is saturated. To stand out you need to make a racket.
Louis Grenier from Everyone Hates Marketers calls it “radical differentiation.”
In order to do this, we must do the opposite of what everyone else is doing. Everyone else is creating and marketing ordinary work.
We’ve all done it. We follow the crowd out of fear.
Safety in numbers. But we get lost in the waves of mediocrity.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with failing.
We should do it more often as long as we are failing in something we believe in… otherwise we fail twice.
Once for diluting our work and secondly for following the crowd and being ordinary.
Only the extraordinary stand out. To be extraordinary you need to do two things
Embrace your inner oddness and become your true creative self. Create work only you can do and be proud and not fearful of its weirdness.
Do the opposite of what everyone else is doing.
When you embrace your weirdness and put your creativity out into the world with authenticity, empathy, and generosity you will find your tribe.
And be your true creative self.
In a world full of bullshit, fake and empty creativity…creative authenticity will always stand out.
Future, actionable, content will feature research based articles on:
Philosophy of becoming our true creative selves.
Challenge 3: Managing stress, pressure, and anxiety
“Every negative - pressure, challenge is an opportunity for me to rise” — Kobe Bryant
Being creative is tough. There is a lot of pressure.
Stress and anxiety shut down our prefrontal cortex and our creativity and decision making facilities are throttled.
Our productivity is shot as a result. Prolonged periods of stress leads to burnout.
Burnout kills momentum and often careers.
Humans perform poorly under pressure. We need to create systems to manage stress, pressure, and anxiety better.
In elite sports, success is 70% mental. This is also true in creativity.
We will deep dive into the most effective strategies and philosophies to manage stress, anxiety and perform at our best under pressure.
Future, actionable, content will feature research based articles on:
Sports and performance psychology
Opportunity 1: Mental Models and Design Thinking
Mental models are used to think better, make better decisions and unlock the solutions to complex problems.
They have been used by everybody from Aristotle to Albert Einstein to Elon Musk.
Musk credits his use of mental models to getting rockets into space and creating car batteries small and cheap enough to power Tesla’s.
You’d struggle to find better testimonials than that.
Mental models can also be used for creativity, innovation and creating new ideas.
Future Content will feature research based articles on:
Opportunity 2: An Ideal Creative World
An ideal world
The American psychologist and New York Times best selling author Barry Swartz once said…
“In an ideal world, nobody’s work would just be about the money. People could pursue excellence in what they do, take pride in achievement, and derive meaning knowing that their work improved the lives of others.”
There’s only one question you must ask yourself. It is the question that will shape your life:
If you could create anything and you were guaranteed to succeed. What would you create?
What is your ideal world?
What is it that burns deep within you that you want to create but are too fearful or filled with self doubt to even try?
This is your ideal world.
It doesn’t matter whether your ideal world makes money in the beginning or not — hint*…it really won’t . It takes time to build your tribe.
The point is to have something that brings meaning to you and your audience’s life. This is your purpose.
And it is found in creativity. The creativity that is in all of us.
This is what everyone is searching for in life. It’s worth more than money. Far more.
It’s nice to have both though. The goal is find the intersection where your weirdness meets the weirdness of your audience.
It’s that weird sweet spot that only you and your tribe get.
This is where you find your 100 or 1000 trues fans. Serve them authentically with empathy and generosity and they will buy and benefit from your creative endeavours.
Is this possible? Of course, hundreds of thousands of people already do this — Millions if you include the Creator Economy.
Is it guaranteed? Nah, nothing is guaranteed in creativity.
Is it easy? Nah, nothing is easy in creativity.
But there’s hope and there’s a purpose. And that’s a good enough start.
Whatever you do, you need to master it. You don’t need to be the best but you do need to surf the chaos of your creative pursuit or thinking.
In order to control our creative destiny we must relentlessly pursue our talents to maximise our impact.
We all have unique talents. It’s at the intersection of these talents that we find our purpose. And this is where we can fulfil our creative potential.
It is our responsibility to master our craft. Not only for ourselves but the people we want to serve.
It’s important that we strive to be an artist and not a singer. Or to be an entrepreneur and not a franchise owner.
In order to fulfil our potential, we need to master our creativity and the opportunities available to us.
What will you need?
An open mind. A thirst to experiment and iterate.
A commitment to fail quickly and often so you can grow as a creative and eliminate the areas that are not working for you.
And find the paths that make sense.
A little bit about me
I’m Jake. I’m an artist and creative consultant.
I spent 25 years working with elite artists and creatives who had scores of hit records across Europe and sold millions.
I’m also a certified mental skills coach (elite sports) and a licensed practitioner for the leading and internationally renowned mental toughness assessment and development program.
And this is peak creative performance.
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