146: The Strategic Advantage of Creative Thinking: Interview with Rob Levit

For too long, there has been a gap between working in a cubicle and spending time on your passion. That needs to stop. Creative thinking and critical thinking are not at odds. In fact, they can work together quite well.

146: The Strategic Advantage of Creative Thinking: Interview with Rob Levit

It’s difficult for some of us to face another day at the office, plugging away at a job we’re disconnected from, while our book, our blog, or camera is collecting dust at home, waiting to be picked up again. But can’t we be creative at work?

Do our day jobs really have to drain us, or could they possibly fill us up?

This week’s guest on The Portfolio Life believes in the competitive advantage of creative thinking. During our conversation, he admitted artists know more about getting things done than most people. Listen in as creativity expert Rob Levit and I talk about why people are afraid to take risks, how to manage your time, and why talent is a gift.

I can’t change what people do in their jobs, but I can help them appreciate how to do it in a way that creates more meaning for them.

—Rob Levit

Listen to the podcast

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

Show highlights

In this episode, Rob and I discuss:

  • Why people are afraid to take basic creative risks
  • How to develop a “pro-noia” mentality to see possibilities
  • Undoing the adage of “those who can’t do, teach”
  • Wrestling with feeling self-centered as a professional musician
  • The value of real-time feedback and the bias for growth/development
  • What stories we tell ourselves that keep us from being creative
  • The misconception of being talented and entitled to making a good living
  • Where creatives commonly get stuck
  • Overcoming the conflict between art and commerce
  • The ultimate gift we take for granted
  • A major caveat that is never included in self-help books


  • Everyone is interested in learning how to learn.
  • Creativity thrives in the context of relationship and community.
  • Failure of imagination occurs when we refuse to make time to reflect.
  • Don’t create false barriers. Explore other avenues to flex your creative muscle.
  • If your talent is a gift, it is your obligation to develop it to the highest level regardless of the reward.
  • If you create things people don’t want you lose the right to complain when they don’t “get” it.
  • Get comfortable with making mistakes.
  • Life is not a microwave oven, it’s a crockpot. You have to slow cook things.
  • Every moment that we live is potentially a wonderful, miraculous, great moment.
  • No matter who you are or what you’re doing, people feel a deeper connection to life when they are creating.
  • If you’re afraid to fail, you don’t belong in the arena.
  • You’ll never know if the spaghetti will stick on the wall unless you throw it.

Underneath all improvisation is mastery.

Jeff Goins

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How can you use your creative mind as a competitive advantage? What excuses stop you from creating? Share in the comments

Click here to download a free PDF of the complete interview transcript.