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Use The Creator Mindset To Make Your Book Better w/ Nir Bashan

We’re all born creative and capable of achieving incredible things—that’s just part of the message Nir Bashan shares in this episode, as he talks about his book The Creator Mindset (McGraw/Hill, 2020). Nir has worked with Hollywood and music stars like Woody Harrelson and Rod Stewart as well as companies like AT&T, Microsoft, Ace Hardware, NFL Network, EA Sports, Suzuki, Activision, and JetBlue and shares his formula for creative success.

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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Josh Steimle: Welcome to the Published Author Podcast where we help entrepreneurs learn how to write a book and leverage it to grow their business and make an impact. I'm your host, Josh Steimle.

Today, my guest is Nir Bashan. Nir has taught thousands of leaders and individuals around the globe how to harness the power of creativity. He's worked with Hollywood and music stars like Woody Harrelson and Rod Stewart as well as corporate clients like AT&T, Microsoft, and EA Sports. Nir has spent the last two decades working on a creativity formula for business, and that formula is found in The Creator Mindset, published in 2020 by McGraw Hill.

Nir, welcome to the show.

Nir Bashan: Hey, thanks for having me, Josh.

Josh Steimle: So give us a little more background on yourself. Where do you come from? What do you do? And how did you get here?

Nir Bashan: Yeah, definitely. So, I was born in Israel, but raised in Los Angeles, and spent a lot of my childhood trying to figure out sort of creative ways to make money, right? Because when you come to a country without having, you know, deep roots in the business community, you kind of have to come up with ideas that work, right? And so, I started going door to door at nine years old washing cars in Los Angeles. And I'd knock on the door, and I'd say, "Hey, I'm here to wash your car" and people would slam the door, "Absolutely not!".

I had to get creative about it, right? And I started to learn that maybe the approach or the way that you introduce yourself, or, you know, all these things could be tweaked. Even the product or service that I was providing, right? I thought I was going to wash cars, and I ended up saying, after so many failures, saying, "Oh, you know, I'd be happy to take out your trash or clean out the bins or your porch." Or whatever it was.

I learned from a very young age that if we are not creative in our business, we're not going to do well. And then I sort of grew up and went to music school, and then film school, and made a bunch of movies and had a production company in Hollywood, then I ran a furniture refinishing factory, I had all these different sorts of fields. And I noticed that people who did consistently well were those who were the most creative.

Those who did not do well were the ones who weren't embracing principles of creativity. And so, I got really, really good at sort of taking notes and finding out what creative tools certain businesses were using, or certain people were using. And I kind of came up with this book called The Creator Mindset, which took me six long years to write, which is a recipe of the how of creativity. It's not about the why, it's not about “Oh, you know, you get warm and fuzzy when you read it, and it tells you about art and stuff.” It's not about art, or dance or music, although those things are wonderful. It's really all about the nuts and bolts of real actionable creativity at work.

Josh Steimle: And so, it's a formula. So, are there steps? Is there a process? Can you walk us through that from a high level?

Nir Bashan: Totally, totally. Yeah. So there, there are steps and there is a process. And the first thing that I ask people to do is grab a sheet of paper, and to think about the concept, the idea, and the execution. Okay, the concept is the largest level that you can look at your product service, your career, or your business, the idea is the mid-level, and the execution is your SKU number, right, that's like your day to day, that's what we put out, you know, nonstop.

So, if you were, I don't know, a pizza franchisee, right, the SKU would be the double crust, Double Stuffed meat lovers, you know, medium, that's $9.99. That's your SKU, you do that all day. Now, the idea and the execution, now you need some creativity, right? So, what you do is you write down your SKU, which is easy enough for most people, and then you start to look at a higher level, right? So, the idea is more of like a camera view, not an electron microscope, right? It's like a bigger, wider view.

You start to say, “Wow, you know, I'm in this business for these reasons, and so on and so forth.” So, you got to write that down. And then you look at the satellite and space view, why are you putting out the double crust, meat lovers, cheesy pizzas and how did that align with your idea? And once you do that, you sort of have a recipe, a word association recipe of how to become creative, and then you take that map and you start to do word associations with it on every level from the bottom to the top, and that way you generate ideas. So, it's kind of a foundational tool that I teach people how to do when they want to be creative no matter what it is that they do.

Josh Steimle: So, you said you spent six years writing this, was that actual writing? Or was it just coming up with ideas, testing that out? Creating other content to test it out? What ate up those six years?

Nir Bashan: So that's a good question. I started, I was on a plane, heading home from a conference and I saw an article or an ad about, “Hey, you know, have you ever wanted to write a book?” I was like, “Yes.” Right.

I call this number and they set me up with a hybrid publisher, they set me up with an editor. And I spent like four years working with that editor going back and forth and spending a small fortune on coming up with the manuscript, which was, I think, something like 95,000 words when I got done with it, in four years. And then I felt, you know, pretty good about the book and the content.

So, I started reaching out to different agents and trying to find somebody to represent the book. And I had a call with my agent now. And in the first phone call, she told me to take, she's like, "Are you in front of a computer?" I'm like, "Yeah!" And she's like "How many words?”  “Like 95,000?" She’s like, "Okay, cool. Grab the word file on your desktop and drag it to the trashcan. Alright, and then hit empty trash." I'm like, "Are you serious?" She's like "Yeah." I'm like, "But it's done! It's done! I spent four years on it, it's done! Like, take it out, we're ready, you know?" And she was like, "Absolutely not, you don't know what you're talking about. Because that word length shows me that you don't know what you're doing, really. And you need to focus your ideas, because I want to come in around 55 or 65,000." On and on. And so I thought about it at night, I talked with my wife, I was like, "What should we do? Like this is crazy.” And she's like, "Well, you got to listen to people who know more than you." And so, I decided to do it.

And then that started another two years of going to different publishers and stuff like that. The really cool thing is we got four publishing offers, four, two from the majors and two from some minors. And we knew we were on to something. And I had that two years was really spent taking that... I did throw the manuscript away.  But I took the best ideas and was able to kind of develop them further. And she was absolutely right. I did not know what I was talking about in the first manuscript. And being forced to go through that type of adversity, and that type of challenge made the book so much better.

Josh Steimle: That's a great story, throwing your book away made it better. So, you spent the first four years coming up with all that content, writing that. And then it took you two years to revise those ideas and turn them into the final manuscript, is that right?

Nir Bashan: Yep, it was. So, throughout my career, I've been taking notes, I have notebooks everywhere. And coming up with the idea for the book was taking these notebooks, and going, "I learned this lesson here. This is amazing. And that lesson there." I mean, these are like battle-torn. Like this is not, you know, I'm not the kind of person that's like, "Ah, set me up with a laboratory at the University. And I will, I'll tell you everything you need to know about business." I'm not that guy. I taught in graduate school, I've taught undergraduate school, but it's always been as somebody working in the field, not somebody doing analysis on something or whatever.

I feel there's a lot of business books written by people who are in academia, which is fine, but they lack the grip of real-world knowledge. They lack the understanding of what to do when this happened, what to do when that happened. I took all the scraps and notes of stuff that happened in real life. We couldn't make payroll. Well, what do you do? We had to fire people and you know, people were crying, and families were depending on the income. What do you do? Nobody really talks about stuff like that, right? We all talk about, you know, our ivory-tower sort of challenges.

This book is really about the nuts and bolts, the grit of getting out there, getting work done in a creative way, and contributing. And that's kind of how it came together over those four years.

Josh Steimle: Gotcha. So how did you secure that agent? Was that the only agent that you talked to? Did you talk to other agents or pitch other agents? Tell us a little bit more about that process, because a lot of people don't even know that you have to have an agent, in order to get a publishing deal.

Nir Bashan: You must have an agent in order to get a publishing deal. You need somebody to help connect you with different editors. I got a manual that was updated with different agents and what they look for, and I spent a long-time online googling different names. There are some reputable, some unreputable agents out there in the business

So, you really have to find somebody that you get along with and shares the vision. I've talked to about a half dozen agents before selecting this particular person. And she's amazing. And it was really on the vision of the book and not being afraid to tell me that the vision was convoluted, and that I needed to condense it. So, some of the agents that I talked to were like, "Oh, you're going to be the next whatever, this is going to be amazing." You know, "You can literally take what you have, and we'll put it out there." And I had this feeling in sort of the pit of my stomach where I was like, "Wait a second, like, I think they're just kind of telling me what I want to hear, right?" So, you got to be really careful. You got to be sort of vigilant. I think everybody wants that moment where somebody tells you, "You know, Josh, you've arrived. We will take your manuscript, and we will publish it, and you will be the next big ‘this guy’ or ‘that gal’. And oh, you know, you've reached that moment." I think as people we want that. Everybody wants that. But the truth of the matter is, it doesn't really exist. You have to keep going, you have to keep putting one foot in front of the other, always being open to revisions, always being open to change, always being open to somebody's feedback, in order to be a better writer, in order to be a better businessperson, in order to be a better creative human being.

It was very, very hard to do, Josh, to kind of say, "Okay, I'm going to throw this book away". It would have been tenfold easier to go with the other agents that were like, “Oh, Nir this is the best thing since sliced bread.” But choosing not to do that I think made the book so much better. And it made the impact that the book has had in the last six months, nine months a year almost so much more powerful.

Josh Steimle: If you could go back now knowing what you know, now, if you could go back to the beginning of that six-year period, what would you have done differently from the beginning? Or do you think it was all productive?

Nir Bashan: I think a lot of it was productive. I don't know if I would have gotten the hybrid model from the get-go, I think I just would have taken my outline, because I had the scraps of paper everywhere. And I had them sort of organized into chapters already, you know, "The Art of Being Quiet" And then I wrote pages on why you should shut up in meetings and not talk as much because you might learn something and that sort of thing.

I had a lot of the guts of the book, and I don't know if I would have gone with a hybrid. I would have probably just organized a good outline, maybe a couple of sample chapters or whatnot and then gone to the agent route directly. But the process of sitting down and writing with deadlines over a four-year period, it just made me a better writer. I can knock out you know; I write for Thrive Global right now and CEO World and some of those other magazines and websites. I can knock out 800 words in like 20 minutes. I never, that would take me a week before. Oh, I'm still writing? Oh no! I'd double think everything and, "Oh is this even relevant? Oh, this sucks," and I throw it away or never finish it. But now I think that discipline of sitting over four years, every Friday I had a deadline of this many words has made me a better writer, so I'm not sure I would have changed anything.

Josh Steimle: Got it. What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are out there who are just on the beginning end of this, who are starting to write a book, and they're trying to collect their thoughts, they're trying to figure out - I suspect you have some tips probably from your book, from the material in your book about how they can use creativity to write the right book for their business, for their careers.

Nir Bashan: Yeah, I think it's about distilling the message of the book into something that is uniquely you. I think that there are far too many look-alikes out there.

There's a person in a bookstore, on Amazon and wants a business book about, you know, efficiency, right? And there's like, they're so similar. So how do you tell, how does the buyer or the customer tell which book is right for them? I think a lot of Intrapreneurs, especially those who are in business, I think they're afraid of branding something as unique as themselves because they're worried about, "Oh, we're not going to have mass-market appeal." Or "Oh, you know, what if I make the wrong branding choice?" because they have been in some business at some point, that put out some bad marketing or bad advertising or a poor media buy, and all the sudden they're like, "Wow, that can really derail everything."

So I think it really is, and I do talk about it in the book, it really is about finding out who you are, and what your message is, and how that differentiates it from anybody else's, and really focusing on that particular message and that particular identity and getting that out into the world. Because I think that readers really, really like authenticity. Even if they don't agree with you, even if they don't kind of like your personality, or whatever

I mean, I get emails, like I'm sure you do from around the world. And people are like, "What were you thinking chapter 14 is the stupidest thing!" you know, which is awesome, but like they're reading it, right? And so even having an opinion that is "Oh, this chapter sucks", still is, you know, it's still an opinion, right? And an opinion is better than nothing.

I think it's really about kind of being yourself and putting that into words as much as humanly possible, so that you can reflect that identity, that circumstance, that creativity that comes uniquely from you, and only you then get that out into the world. I think that is what intrapreneurs need to do when they're like I want to write a book, they need to start to go, "Well, what is it that I can say, and what is it that I can do that is completely different than what others are doing?"

Josh Steimle: Take us into your career a little bit more. How do you use the creativity formula with your clients? You've worked with these Hollywood stars and rock stars and these big corporations and such, can you give us some stories about how you worked with these companies? And how that helped you develop this formula for the book?

Nir Bashan: Absolutely. I think at every step, I have learned something because of the numerous amounts of failures that I have. I'm not the kind of guy that is in a classroom, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday with office hours on Friday. Not that guy, right?

I'm in the field working every day. And when you're in the field working every day, you make some really stupid mistake. And the problem is, is that a lot of people that are entrepreneurs, small business owners, even Fortune 500 companies, C Level, nobody's talking about mistakes enough, right? We're not talking about how bad it was, you know, on the road to get here. We're always like, "Well, look at me, I'm super polished. I've got a book out. And, you know, I talked to millions of people all over the world." That's fine. But I think we need to start to admit that through our failures and through the things that don't go, right are the moments those, are the seedlings of creativity, those are the best parts of the journey. And so those are the times where we actually really learned, and I've had thousands of them. Embarrassing ones. I mean, really embarrassing ones.

I did a diversity keynote a couple of weeks ago in DC, and I talked about how I used to hire people, and it was embarrassing. I read a book, I don't know, 20 years ago, that was like, “Oh, you know, every personality, there are six personalities on Earth. Everybody that same personality…” That was the entire book, right? And so, I used to hire people, I've hired over 1000 people in my career, by the sixth personality thing.  I'd be like, "Well, you know, Josh, you look like a B personality with a little bit of C. Okay, cool. I know who you are." And I hired... it's embarrassing! And I had no idea. I thought that book was accurate, but it's not accurate. It's horrible. And it's stupid. And I failed so many times in filling good positions because I thought I was smarter than, you know, listening. I thought I was smarter than trying to pick up soft skills. Now, when I interview people for jobs, I don't, you know, I don't even care what the resume says on the top. If it says, you know, engineer, I'm like, well, I need a project manager. So, I don't care.

You know, it's just the way that I've learned is through the tough times, it's through getting it wrong. So, I think it's about arriving at a moment, through your own experiences, and really allowing that moment to be authentic. It's about allowing it to be really, who you are, and not covering up mistakes and not covering up stuff that had led you to get to where you are.

Josh Steimle: So, to dive into a specific one, Rod Stewart, tell us about that. What was it like working with him? And what were you doing with him

Nir Bashan: I was an audio engineer for many years. And I sat down, and we worked on an album, I can't even remember the name of the album. But he would do kind of his thing. And we would then spend hours piecing the vocal parts together. And it was one of those learning experiences where you learn that creativity is sort of a process, right

He had, I remember a notebook, and he had an ability to do things, five or six different ways. He wasn't stuck in "Hey, this is what I do and take it or leave it." There was that element of being able to adapt quickly, change quickly, and offer a bunch of different variations on a similar theme. And it was a really good experience in terms of learning how really creative people are able to change constantly and to stay current and interesting, no matter what was put in front of them. So that was an interesting experience.

Josh Steimle: You know, it seems like with celebrities, we both, we discount them, and we also give them too much credit at times. I mean, sometimes we see a celebrity who played a certain part in a movie, and then maybe they played a politician in a movie. And then we assume that they can actually be a politician in real life because they played one on the screen, and then you see celebrities who will dive into politics or social issues, and then you realize they have no clue what they're talking about.

Nir Bashan: Yeah!

Josh Steimle: On the other hand, we sometimes look at celebrities, movie actors, rock stars, whatever, and we say, "Well, these people are all idiots. They have no idea what they're doing. They just got lucky, or they're just good-looking or something." And yet, we're discounting that creative process that happens behind the scenes.

Can you tell us a little bit more about what you saw with these people that you worked with in terms of their creativity and the level of genius or lack of it, but what did you see behind the scenes in terms of their creativity that we can learn from?

Nir Bashan: I believe that every man, woman, and child, everybody on Earth was born creative, and somewhere along the way we lose it. Right? We've done tons of studies that are in the book about babies who can take the cheerio out of the bottle creatively before even language takes hold. So, I firmly believe that everyone's born creative.

Somewhere along the road, we lose it. Now what I saw, I worked in recording studios quite a bit. I worked on hip hop. I worked with KRS-ONE, I worked with Cypress Hill, back in the 90s. And what I saw was an ability in these musicians to number one, be professional, right? I thought it was going to be a party. That you go into the studio, it's going to be like a music video, right? Party, you work till 6 am, you start at midnight, and it's going to be crazy, and you know, booze and all this stuff flowing. And it was nothing like that.

We started at 9 am, right? Musicians would show up at 10:00, 10:30. We would lay down the basic track, we would listen to them, we would analyze them, we would talk about them. And then we would do vocal tracks from 1:00 to 4:00 sometimes 4:30 if we needed extra time. Then we would listen to them and analyze them, and people would then go home. I mean, I've worked with some really famous Hip Hop musicians, and you know, it would be "Hey, guys, give me like five minutes. I got to get on the phone" and you're like, "Yeah, cool!". We're all kind of heading out of the studio to give somebody some privacy. And, you know, it's like, yeah, of course.

Yeah, if there's no traffic, I'll pick up diapers, milk, sure, I'll get the milk on the way home. I mean to what you were saying earlier, we sometimes sort of hold these people on this high-level plane, right, where we assume that they are gifted with creativity and that we can never touch this because they're so amazing. And, oh, they're chosen to be ambassadors of hip-hop music.

They're not. They're people who worked really hard, who came up with a process on how to have repeatable success. It's all about lyrics. It's all about the circle of fifths for music and making sure that the modality of a verse goes into a chorus in a very approachable sort of way

Nobody's like, oh, you know, gifted in a way that somebody else isn't, it's just about learning the craft, and honing it over so many years and taking really good notes and participating. So, I think people are always surprised to find out that these incredible musicians kept normal hours and did normal things just like you or I. The only difference was that they had a process, they knew what that process was to get creative. All nine out of 10 times, I'll tell you this, it was writing stuff down, it was the art of keeping track of your thoughts, keeping track of your notes, writing things down, and being able to pull out what you've written down at the right time, nine out of 10 times, that's what it was. And we all have it in us. I could be a hip-hop musician.

You can be, your listeners could be a hip, you just got to learn you know, you got to go to the standards, you got to listen to you know, Eric B and all the foundational people that have laid out the sound, the feel, the look, the energy of hip hop music from, you know, the early days, you got to listen to them extensively. You got to learn and see what they've been doing, learn what key they've been playing in, learn why this verse goes into that, why the staccato rhythm works well.

On and on and on. And you and I can record a hip-hop album, and it would probably be pretty dang good. The thing is, people are always like, “No, that's somebody else. It's always somebody else being creative. That's not me here, it's somebody else. They're creative. They're doing their thing. I'm just me and no, I own a plumbing business, I don't know, or disaster restoration business. I'm not a creative person, I take out pieces of drywall, when grandma fries, the, you know, there's a fire because grandma burnt the turkey.” But everybody is creative. And everybody has that ability to be creative. It just takes a process. It takes mastering and ability to look at who in your business has been doing really well and kind of looking back into history and understanding how things came to be. And then building upon that, putting your own spin on it, and getting it out the door.

Josh Steimle: There's a video on YouTube that I love called Everything is a Remix by a guy named Kirby Ferguson and you were talking about hip hop and rap. And there's a lot of sampling that takes place in hip hop and rap music. But what is the role of repurposing or using other people's content or ideas and then building upon that?

Austin Kleon is an author too. He wrote a book called Great Artists Steal and uses that quote from Pablo Picasso about how good artists create, and I can't remember exactly how it goes, paraphrasing, good artists create and great artists’ steal. Something like that. But this idea that other people have done things, and we can repurpose that and make it our own, and there is some creativity in that. What are some of your thoughts on the process of remixing things?

Nir Bashan: I think remixing is good. I think anything that adds a new life to what you're doing, or a new take is certainly worthwhile. I think it really is about understanding the foundational makeup of your product or service or your business. Listen, I worked with a pizza franchise a few years ago, and they hired me after they sort of went through the big four consultants who were helping them with efficiencies, right? So, they were able to get a pizza out the door for their franchisees .02 seconds quick. You know, a great efficiency. Because if you add it up over the number of franchises, that's, you know, it adds up to like, I don't know, 10 hours of saved time per week. I don't know what it was or month, something like that. But every single analytic initiative will plateau at some point.

So, this plateaued too. And so, they called me in, and they said, “Nir we got to come up with a new idea, right?” Is it a net new idea, or is it a remix? I don't know. Right? But I said, “Okay, let's start talking.” And so, we had them kind of go through the few weeks, but we had them go through a concept, idea, and execution, and the execution was that double crust, meat lovers cheesy. And I thought, “Okay, guys, what's the idea behind it?” “They're like, well, it's pizza. What do you mean? What's the idea, it's pizza dude?” I was like, "Okay, but you know, there's got to be some reason why you're in the pizza business." They're like, “No we fell into it.” I don't believe that anybody falls into anything, you guys are here for a reason. And then we really started talking, right? And, you know, somebody who started to write down some ideas about who they were on kind of a mid-level view.

And it was really about some sort of comfort food. And I said, “Okay, we're totally on to something that means something to you.” They're like, “Our founder came over with this. And this year, then he wanted everybody to feel comfortable.” And I was like, “Guys, this is brilliant. Everybody's happy with it?”  They're like, “Yeah, well comfort food. And our execution is pizza.”

I said, “Okay, what do you guys want?” “Well, we need to come up with different ideas of products or services, right?” I said, “Okay, under comfort food, let's circle that and start writing down every association that comes. If I say comfort food what do you guys think?” And people started to, like, started writing stuff down, right. And one of the things they wrote down was chicken soup. They were really excited about it. They're like, “We should put out a chicken soup. It's comfort food.” I was like, “Yeah, totally, is that in line with your concept?” which was, I think, sustainability, I can't, I can't remember or sustenance, something like that.

Because they ended up telling a story that they had to, you know, every day, somewhere in America at six o'clock, the pizza guy shows up, and if they don't show up this family or person or elderly, you know, the couple would go hungry, right? It's amazing. Every day, that's their main point of contact with society is the delivery person. So their sustainability or whatever it was, and then, you know, their idea was comfort food and their execution was this pizza, particular pizza.

So I said, “yeah great, you know, come up with more ideas.” And they started, they came up with a Calzone and all the different things. And so, your question is, “Okay, Nir, are we coming up with stuff from scratch? Are we kind of remixing? Are we stealing a little bit? And changing things around?” I say yes to all the above. As long as it falls in line with your DNA and your identity of who you are as a business, then it works, right?

Because some people had some crazy ideas, and they said, "Oh, you know, let's do ice cream." It's like, “Well, the ice cream is a comfort food, but how are you guys going to deliver it one, and then two, is that really kind of in line with your values?” And it wasn't. So, we were able to throw it out.

A lot of times when I work with groups, Josh, people tell me, "Nir, I've got a million ideas." It's not the IDEA Part. It is sifting through them. And so, without having a process, like those famous musician tasks, without having a way to extract good ideas from bad ideas and this sort of thing, then we're just coming up with a bunch of spinning your wheels kind of stuff. You need to organize the ideas in a process that will allow you to act. And when you can act, then you can get a product to market in a way that makes it consumable, relevant, and appreciated by your customer

Josh Steimle: So, you have some experience living in different cultures, you've lived in Israel, you have lived in LA, you've probably done business with people from around the world. Do you see that certain cultures have more of a claim on creativity? Or is it just different types of creativity? For example, I grew up in LA too. But I've lived across the US, East Coast, the West, Intermountain West, I've lived in Brazil, I lived in China and Hong Kong.

I've seen all these different cultures. And it seems like you see creativity manifest in different ways in different places. And China especially has this reputation of just copying everything. And this comes from the days of everything being manufactured in China, which it kind of still is, although a lot of it is moving outside of China now.

But the Chinese factories have become very good at copying things. And yet, that whole stereotype of Chinese just copying things when I lived there, I saw a lot of creativity where they would take something and then they build upon it and they make it better. And I started to see a lot of just pure creativity bubbling up in the entrepreneurial communities in China where they were just creating things. They weren't copying things. They were being very creative. And yet I still see differences, though, between American creativity and Brazilian creativity and Chinese creativity. Is this something you've noticed and thought about, creativity is something tied to culture?

Nir Bashan: So, very interesting question. I think that the way that we practice free enterprise here in the West, and the way that we govern, has allowed the US to be a beacon of intellectual property, intellectual creativity, businesses, and stuff like that. I've noticed that when a society is governed with the least amount of oversight, the amount of creativity, the differences of companies, the incredible energies that are generated, are incredibly blossomed. There is no better way, no better system that currently exists. Is it the best? Probably not.

But there's no better system than capitalism, especially the way that we practice it here in the West to enable creativity to grow, enable it face value, I'll give you some examples.

I've worked with some companies from Israel. And, you know, the tax rate in Israel is astonishing. The forced employee, you know, they're trying to get people to be diverse. So, you have to hire a certain amount of the staff from different countries or a certain amount of the staff inside the country, depending on if it's a technical job, you know, then they want, you know, university kids inside of Israel that have that thing. But if it's this type of thing, no, no, no, you can hire that out. And the more meddling that a government does, the more regulation that is imposed on intrapreneurship, the worse it gets, the more it gets stifled, the more it gets under siege.

So what we've done here in the West is sort of unburdened a lot of that oversight, to allow for creativity to flow. And there are a ton of companies that start overseas that come here, in order to grow. They come here in order to develop, in order to take off to the next level. Ask anybody opening a business in England, right? In London, if you want to open a business there, how much regulation you must go through in order to just do really basic things that would be way easier in the US. Now, there are certain states in the US that are way easier than that, right, there's some that have more regulations, some that have less, some that are more business-friendly, some that are less, some that are business-friendly to energy, some that are business-friendly to financial services, right
There's a sort of a process to learn what that is, and how that comes about. But what I found through extensive research, Josh, I mean, you know, this is my life's mission to help people become more creative no matter what, that's my kind of thing.

And so, what I've found time and time, again, is the way that we practice, creativity and entrepreneurship, enterprise, capitalism here in the West is still the world-class standard on how to enable that into practice, into a business a product or service, that is really the envy of the world, it is still that. You get into conversations with people who are like, "Oh, the American Dream is gone." Or, you know, "We had it way better in the 70s", or whatever it is.

And that, you know, that's okay. I read extensively, I read like a book a week. And so I know that you know, we didn't exactly have it better in the 70s, not by a longshot. And I feel like now is the best time ever. And people tell me all the time here, “What are you talking about? We're in the middle, or the end or whatever, of a pandemic, this is the worst time!” and I tell people that over the last 18 months, there have been more millionaires minted around the world, and some astronomical number of that, I think something like 80% of that is here in the US, of those minted millionaire, because of COVID, because they were able to take a business and adapt it to what's going on, change it around and position themselves to do well in this economy. It's a wonderful thing.

I think that understanding history and understanding the foundational aspects of whatever business you're in, taking that and embracing it, and then tweaking and finding your way through is incredibly important. Because it's easy to look at our situation, it's easy to look at where we are and go, "Oh, this sucks", or "I'm in the toughest time ever", or, you know, "I wish I had it better or like that guy or this guy or that gal" or whatever it is.

I think it takes a lot of creativity to understand that the opportunity is now. The time for you to act is now. The freedom to do what you need to do is now and it's up to you to embrace that, to take it, and run forward.

Josh Steimle: So, if freedom is a core ingredient in the recipe for creativity, what can companies learn from this about the way that they set up policies, the way that they encourage creativity within the workplace because a lot of companies are run like dictatorships, right? It's top-down management, it's telling people what to do.

And yet at the same time, you feel like well, we can't just let people do whatever they want because then people do all sorts of crazy stuff, and we can't afford that. We need people to do these certain things.

So how can a corporation balance structure and alignment with freedom so that they get that creativity, and they get those new products, new services, new ways of creating products and services bubbling up?

Nir Bashan: Definitely. I think what we're seeing today with this work-from-home stuff, I think we're going to see some of it stick around. I'm not sure. We might see some of it going back to a hybrid model. I still see clients in person, I have to. I get on a plane, I go to a conference, I speak with my clients, I speak to the conference or that company, and, you know, we generate that kind of vibe that you can't do online.

I still do a lot of online work, right? I think the ability to adapt to change is an incredibly important and essential element in developing that corporate creativity. How willing is that corporation to deal with change, and to come up with new ideas that kind of spring up around that change in order to do well? That is the definition of adaptability.

If you are- listen how many businesses went out of business now? Because of COVID. Right? There's a lot you and I both know, there's a lot of people, yet there are people that were able to adapt and do incredibly well. Right? And those people are able to say, Okay, how do we get creative about what's happening? And what do we do to keep relevant, what do we do to keep out there and stay fresh and exciting?

It is a balance, like anything in life between giving staff freedom and maintaining rigid norms. But somewhere between that space, and it's as individual as you or I, or this company or that company. I believe that companies no matter how big they are, have an identity, they have a root.

They have an identity that leads them to be who they are for a reason. And when you try to institute change in an organization, that can be incredibly painful. But without instituting that change and without understanding that you'll need to keep up with that, you're really dead in the water.

Josh Steimle: Well Nir, this has been a great discussion. This has been fun to talk about creativity in your book. For people who want to learn more about you, where can they connect with you?

Nir Bashan: Definitely. So I'm online, it's NirBashan.com. The book is in every Barnes and Noble across the country. It is on Amazon. It's called the Creator Mindset. I'd love to hear from you so reach out. I'm very easy to get a hold of.

Josh Steimle: Perfect. Thanks so much for being with us here today on the show.

Nir Bashan: Thanks, Josh.

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