110: Rob Bell on Creating a Life Worth Living, Creativity, and Writing

Your life is like an ongoing work of art. It is filled with characteristics from your family. It is brought to life by your experiences, triumphs, and setbacks. And as long as you live, it will continue to be a form of artistic creation.

110: Rob Bell on Creating a Life Worth Living, Creativity, and Writing

Creativity is often defined by creative works, such as books, paintings, and movies. But creativity encompasses more than the works we create. Living a creative life also involves the thought, energy, and time we devote to creating the life we’ve been given to live.

This week on The Portfolio Life, Rob Bell and I discuss creating a life worth living, and how you have the ability, choice, and power to pursue your calling. During this conversation, you will also have the opportunity to peer into Rob’s creative rhythms and writing process, and how he balances life and work.

Listen in as Rob shares what he learned going through a difficult season of life, the power of making small changes, and when you know you’re on the right path to creating great work.

Listen to the podcast

To listen to the show, click the player below. (If you are reading this via email or RSS, please click here.)

Show highlights

In this episode, Rob and I discuss:

  • What Rob learned about life after experiencing his worst fear.
  • Why creativity is working with the material life gives you.
  • What it means to live a creative life.
  • How small changes can lead you to live an empowered life.
  • Why Rob expresses his ideas in the least amount of words as possible.
  • The elements of a good story.
  • Rob’s life and work rhythms.
  • Taking daily strides toward accomplishing big goals.

Quotes and takeaways

  • “What kind of life are we going to create and what kind of world are we going to create together?”—Rob Bell.
  • You know you’re on the right path toward creating great work when the good material doesn’t fit in.
  • It’s not hard to fill pages. The hardest work is in what to eliminate.—Rob Bell.
  • Saying less with words is far more difficult than saying something with many words.


What small change can you make today in order to move toward creating the life you want to live? Share in the comments.

17 thoughts on “110: Rob Bell on Creating a Life Worth Living, Creativity, and Writing

  1. Rob made a comment, as best I recall, about how the more healthy and squared away we become, the better we see how we waste time/opportunities. So true. As I’ve gotten better with exercise and time management, I see so clearly now how past, bad habits derailed my progress. Enjoyable podcast!

  2. Things go out of track when we lose focus and waste time on other things which really do not matter. Time management is definitely helpful to make things better. We all want a life worth living and I know I`ll have it in real. Nice podcast!

  3. Jeff, I indentified with much Rob said. I remember reading Velvet Elvis years ago in Brazil. I loved the book Sad, but not surprising, all that has happened since. His spirit shows through in the podcast; it is a joy to hear.
    Personnaly, perhaps what meant the most to me is his description of how he writes.
    Thanks for this!!!

  4. Although I appreciate Rob Bell’s creativity and I respect his innovation, I have a real hard time with his theology. I just can’t agree with where he’s going spiritually. I don’t think that makes me a “narrow, angry Christian”.

    1. Dinah you’re right – there are MANY problems with Rob Bell’s
      theology. For an effective refute of Rob’s universalist approach, see “Erasing
      Hell: What God Said about Eternity, and the Things We’ve Made Up” by
      Francis Chan. As for myself, I will NOT be listening to this podcast.

      1. Thank you Dr. Gosse. I have read Francis Chan’s book and also this comprehensive article by Kevin DeYoung: https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/kevindeyoung/2011/03/14/rob-bell-love-wins-review/
        Much discernment is needed in these days.
        Jeff, this was a tough interview for me to “navigate”. I have to stand up for something (a belief in the inerrant, infallible Word of God) so I don’t end up falling for anything (the latest ear-tickling human philosophy).

        1. Hi Dinah. Thanks for your concern. I asked Rob on the show not to talk theology but to talk about how he navigates his life as a creative, which is something all my guests share, regardless of their religious beliefs. I respect your disagreement and concerns and would encourage you to skip this one if it bothers you. Plenty of other interviews to come!

    2. Who even said you were? I didn’t even hear him mention your name…I’m kidding of course. I find it interesting how you chose to read between his words and then included yourself. I’d be more curious to hear what insight you gained from what you heard here in this conversatio; that will definitely help people who read your comments. We reap what we sow, right?, so planting a seed of how it impacted you positively will have an affect on us all. xo

  5. Jeff – this has got to be one of your best ever podcasts! I loved Rob’s description of the creative life and his response to your questioning about ikigai. What a beautiful concept – to know what gets us up in the morning and then be able to live that out.

  6. I have never read anything by Rob, but have heard about him for a long time. I never knew anything about him until now. While I don’t agree with certain aspects of his theology, he makes a lot of great points in this podcast, and his theology shouldn’t be what prevents me from taking something from this podcast. This is not a theological debate or discussion, but a friendly chat on finding meaning and purpose with our lives through the creative lens, and finding ways for God to use us in His kingdom for the common good. Rob Bell and Don Miller both seem a radical with their views, and I think that is the very crux for why Christians are afraid to learn something from them. We’ll never agree with everyone on everything, but we can always learn something from someone. I have been struggling for a long time with where God wants me, how He will use me in this broken world, and what I can do to fulfill that longing to do the creative, beautiful, and meaningful thing that gets me excited about my life, His kingdom, and my faith.

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  8. I’m so grateful I saved your email with this podcast on it. I finally made the time to listen. It was wonderful. I got so much out of it. Thank you so much for doing this interview and sharing it. I did tweet it!:)

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