Podcast – Episode 0017 – The Creative Class

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In this episode Joel and Antonia discuss what it means to be part of the creative class.

In this podcast you’ll find:

  • Since so much of labor has been automated, there’s more and more need for knowledge workers and a creative class.
  • We’re often far more creative as children, and it’s a challenge to reclaim that creativity as adults.
  • Some personality types make better decisions if they just tap into their creative side.
  • Creativity can lead to major personal growth.
  • An artist is anyone who is creative, and a creative self can be reclaimed.
  • “Shadow Artists” are those who desire to be creative, but don’t directly go for their dream. They get a job that is close to it. (i.e. An assistant to a film director, instead of being the director.)
  • Permission is the biggest factor in living the artistic/creative life you desire.
  • There are some stereotypes about artistic and creative types that can turn people off from pursuing their authentic desires.
  • Being part of the creative class doesn’t have to look like the traditional artist.
  • Creativity can’t necessarily be quantified and measured. There can be a lot of waste/excess, so it can look messy.
  • Not everyone wants you to be creative. They don’t want you to reinvent the wheel, they want the bottom line. Support is important but not always available.
  • When we don’t give ourselves permission to do things, it’s very difficult to give others permission.
  • When someone breaks free and pursues creativity others may resent their sense of freedom.
  • A creative class is rising, which means less and less people are resenting others creative freedom.
  • Creatives tend to ask for forgiveness instead of permission.
  • Don’t let others stop you if you get the wind knocked out of your sails.
  • Creatives are more needed than ever – we’re moving into a creative culture.
  • The creative class is also discovering new ways of doing business. They’re not just creating art – they’re creating new business models.
  • Creativity will be needed to save entire industries.
  • Creative ideas can be seen even in places like the prison system.
  • Technology outpaces itself every eight months. We need a lot of creative minds to come up with solutions to keep up with technology.
  • This creative culture is going to have to be more forgiving of failure.
  • In creativity, failure is part of test/iterate, and gets you to your goal faster. It’s part of the process, as long as you’re increasing the quality of your failures.
  • When reclaiming creativity, start with something you have sovereignty over. Where you can call the shots.
  • Give yourself a lot of space and time for creativity. Playfulness is important. Get on a child’s level, crawl on the floor. Replicate the experiences of childhood.
  • Act like you did when you were 7 years old.
  • Practice not giving a damn.
  • Put up reminders in your home to be expressive and free from social censure.
  • Creative people are life-long learners. School/education may move into a subscription model as opposed to something you get through in college and then move on.
  • Always have a book you’re reading.
  • Community is vital to a creative class person. Find a community/tribe of like-minded individuals.

Exercises we recommend in this podcast:

Watch Joel’s INBOUND video here:


Things we reference in this podcast:


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Showing 12 comments
  • Jay Eimer

    Very interesting. Here’s my take. I’m an ISTP, so creative but also very analytical. I’m also an IT guy – specifically a database modeler – I create databases for specific applications. I’ve been doing that for 15 years (30 years IT overall).

    In the early days I saw software companies fail, and businesses trying to embrace new software and have it fail. Then the industry tried to make it more like engineering. If you’re building a fighter plane, you do lots of design work and very little experimentation because it costs millions and if you screw up your plane crashes and your test pilot often dies as well. End result is something called “waterfall” software development model. Lots of requirements gathering, detailed specifications, months building something and in the end you’ve created the tree swing with the ropes on two branches, one on each side of the trunk and the tree trunk cut and up on stilts!

    The new(er) model was pioneered by the early days of the internet. The first realization is that software is free – it’s just electricity flowing through chips in a machine, and they’re reusable. It’s software DEVELOPERS that are expensive. The new model, called Agile is based on a rapid cycle of sketch, build, test, iterate – building quick prototypes and trying them out, learning from (and fixing) mistakes and moving on. In Agile, coders can literally release a new version of a program every day (not to the public, necessarily, but to their testers or business users. The immediate feedback (does it work, and also does it solve the business problem – often two different things).

    Now the problem – I spent the last 10 years working as a specialist (the database guy) on a team of experts (each of us had a specialty) and most of us were “creative” rather than assembly line (heads down coders). Now I’m unemployed and I see all these companies going BACK to the Waterfall style, and also expecting developers to be what they call “Full Stack” – meaning you write everything from user interface to back-end database processes. It’s extremely frustrating to see business rejecting what works and stifling creativity as they do. Software developers ARE creators, but business wants to treat us like assembly line workers.

    Bloggers, graphics artists, digital movie special effects and similar this isn’t much of an issue, but for much of corporate America, it seems like they don’t get us.

  • Knut A. W. Jøsok

    Hi, I recently stumbled upon the test, as I am on a journey of self-growth. I tested as an INTP, which fits me 200%. Just started to listen to the podcasts, impressive job of keeping this up. As an INTP I’m very selective by which episodes I listen to, but I thought I shared some of my views.

    I completely disagree with that everyone should have a book to read. How you are even having a podcast and even suggesting this is completely illogical to me. Everyone should have a podcast to listen to. I work on my creative projects while listening to either motivational music, youtube public speakers or podcasts like this one. I understand that you guys recorded this in 2014, but at least as of 2017, to stay agile, you need to be able to multitask. I cannot multitask while reading a book, thus that is wasted time and energy.

    Loved the idea of education being a subscription service. I think the school system is hard to change, so I would start by making books digital. Not like iPads and digital blackboard, but rather the books itself. Make the pages digital, so you can zoom in/out with hand gestures. Every chapter could be a youtube-video. You should also be able to plug-in a headset to listen to it. Pictures could be holograms like pop-up books when we were young.

    There’s so much room for improvement, I hope someone that can make this come to reality read this. Still, a great episode, and I’ll comment again for sure.

  • Mark

    This podcast is great to hear, I have been trying to move my life into creative type work for a while and this is very encouraging to me.
    Thanks guys.

  • Tyler Raivis

    Thanks for the inspiring podcast!
    I resonated a lot with the story about your work at zoo! Such situations may be very demotivating, i’ve expierienced them too, Joel.
    Sadly, i only came to give myself permision to be more creative, to stand out, to be different when i lost all hope for being understood by society and people around me. That’s when i stoped caring about public opinion of who and how i should be.
    Losing all hope is freedom.
    Tyler 24, Iceland

  • Alexandra

    Thank you for the interesting episode. I’ve read “The Artist’s Way”a while ago and too thought that the idea of “shadow artists” was very true. Since then I’ve been trying hard to be a “real” visual artist. Although I love making art I often feel that my creations somehow are inferior. Recently I’ve found some personality-related advice ( http://personalityjunkie.com/infj-careers-jobs-majors-occupation/ ) which suggest that a “shadow artist” (curator, art history teacher) is actually my kind of artist as I am not a sensory type. What do you think about this advice? Thank you.

    • Joel Mark Witt

      Alexandra! Thanks for your comment.

      I guess I would encourage you to pursue what truly makes you happy regardless of talent. Do what you are passionate about and have fun doing it. If curating or teaching makes you jump out of bed in the morning – do it. You might need to try some things first to see what you truly love deep in your heart. I think the idea of a “shadow artist” refers to those who know what they deep down want to do but have a hard time giving themselves permission to pursue.

      As far as an INFJ – there are many actual artists & musicians that are your type. It’s not just sensors who do this.

      My thought… do what brings passion to your life. Live with excitement around whatever you love to do… visual art, music, teaching, curating etc. Even if it doesn’t pay the bills right now and you love it – carve out time for that creativity. Otherwise you will slowly die inside a little bit each day. Start now and let us know how it goes.


      • Alexandra

        Thank you very much for the advice. Could you please let me know where to read about lives of INFj people, especially the artists?

  • Frederck

    Uhm, probably i rushed my answer. There are surely different types of creativity, i considered only one.
    As far as people in prison i had an awesome idea a couple of months ago. I would simply give to each prisoner an MP3 player with recorded some NLP brainwashing stuff that every prisoner would be requird to listen 8 hours a day. Can you imagine after 1 year, 5 years, 10 years of listening to Richard Bandler how they would exit from that prison? 😀

  • Frederck

    Intuitive types rules 🙂
    I’m so bored by the sensor’s mundane talk, can those people be creative at all?

    • Joel Mark Witt

      Thanks for your comment Frederick. And thank you for listening! We love comments like this.

      My perspective: Of course Sensors can be creative. In fact some of the most creative people on the planet are sensors. I think of Michael Jackson, Martha Stewart, Lady Gaga, etc. Intuition is different than creativity. Here is an article that Antonia wrote a while back that might give some insight into this specifically.

      What’s the Difference Between the Intuitive and Sensory Learning Styles?

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