How to make an impression

Studio E Gallery has been in business for 20 years.
Recently we took on a young artist, one who is both witty and masterful in his work. 
Within a day or two of his paintings’ arrival we sold a piece. In fact, this happened to both of the new artists we brought in this week. They both sold a painting within 48 hours of coming into the gallery.
See the above flowers?

Josh Brown sent ’em. That young artist we just brought in. These flowers dropped into the gallery the very next day after being notified of the sale.
I’m telling you because this is extraordinary. 
We’ve received email thank yous, even the occasional handwritten note. A very small handful of artists have given members of the team artwork after we’ve made tens of thousands of dollars in sales for them.

But flowers after the very first sale, wow.
It was so wow that Julian — people whisperer for Studio E — snapped a photo and sent it to the whole team.
We felt beloved. We felt appreciated. We felt all teenage girl infatuated inside.
Remember this in all your dealings: Over-the-top heartfelt displays of appreciation make an impression.
You can never go wrong with a ridiculously excessive thank you. It’s memorable. It’s impactful.  It’s happy making.
Shoot for a moon landing. Put stars in their eyes. Go full Barnum and Bailey if it feels right.
The grand gesture works
Birds on the Beach, Josh Brown
(sold 🙂
For you 

Evan Griffith
Add a little creative soul to your life. Click here to join the subscriber list for — you know — the occasional thing in your inbox.

Want to spark your creative best? Check out this little book: 

Burn Baby Burn: Spark The Creative Spirit Within


Me, interviewed — Financial crisis gives birth to spiritual awakening: Evan Griffith’s inspiring story

How is this for the title of a YouTube channel? 

Spiritual Bad-Ass TV

The tagline: Binge Watching For The Soul.

Gotta love it.

Check out the interview, I think you’ll love that too. Debbianne DeRose is by turns witty, charming and insightful. 

She draws out pivotal, sometimes excruciating experiences . . . to get at core principles for spiritual and creative growth.

For example:

  • My breakdown in a campground near San Diego
  • The upside to (my worst) crisis
  • Living in a van traveling around America
  • The power of asking
  • The benefits of a daily creative practice
  • Mirroring: Why surprise good news for others should gladden your heart
  • A chat about the bookito Burn Baby Burn
  • A late night epiphany that changed the way I encountered reality

All this and more is touched on in this 28-minute interview. Enjoy — and then get back to me and let me know what you think.

You can find my email here

Here’s the link again: 
Financial crisis gives birth to spiritual awakening:
Evan Griffith’s inspiring story

For you 

Evan Griffith
Add a little creative soul to your life. Click here to join the subscriber list for — you know — the occasional thing in your inbox.

Want to spark your creative best? Check out this little book: 
Burn Baby Burn: Spark The Creative Spirit Within


In praise of the 10-Minute Burst

Chocolate: What we deserved afterward

A lot can get accomplished in 10 minutes. 

This morning, to entice my 13-year old into a high-energy clean up, I suggested a 10-Minute Burst. 

(The night before we’d made a boat bed: Pulling the two couches together; the three of us flopped inside with pillows and blankets to watch Ratatouille.)

In 10 minutes he picked up all his items strewn about the house, while I vacuumed like mad all around the boat bed. You know, where the couches used to be, cuz that’s where the vacuum cleaner hadn’t reached since the previous boat bed confab.

10 minutes get you pumped. It’s going to end soon. You’ve got to get a lot accomplished quickly. 

My god you get going. If you’d filmed us in real time it would have looked like fast motion video.

My son petered out at minute 9 and 1/2 . . . 

It was startling what we’d accomplished. When my wife came home she credited us with for working the entire time she was at the green market.

It’s true that I had given myself a second round. 

(Then I was done 🙂

But that’s the beauty of the 10-Minute Burst — it can always lead to another one.


Happiness: Sometimes signs point the way

Do you believe in signs?
I remember the time I was a little heartbroken and a little lifebroken . . . sitting in a cave atop a mountain in California, meditating and fasting . . . when two butterflies came frolicking by. 
I decided to take that as a sign: That I would find love again.
That story is told more fully here: 
It turned out really well. Deliciously well.
So yes, I believe in signs. Especially if I make the decision on what I want the sign to mean.
The above message in the photo is a sign too. One that becomes true if you decide it to be.
No beach required.
For you 

Evan Griffith

What creators do

Click here to join the fast-growing subscriber list, for the best of The World Is Freaky Beautiful, once-ish a month, maybe.

Check out this little book about sparking your creative best: 

Burn Baby Burn: Spark The Creative Spirit Within


Failure in advertising

See the above signage on the back of this service van?

For those of you who can’t easily zoom, it reads:

You may forget our name . . .

<big ole hand-drawn smiley face>

But you won’t forget our face!

It’s clever. It’s got an adorable quotient. But is that what you want from someone in the trades?

What it’s not is memorable. 

They were being so clever about the naming issue that they literally forgot to put their name on the back of the vehicle!

This is the one spot guaranteed for high visibility. 

Anyone driving behind this van sees the rear end of it. 

Anyone stuck at a traffic light behind this work van will spend lazy minutes scanning the vehicles in front of them. 

When this van is parked in a parking lot, it’s only the rear end that is visible always. 

I never did find out the company name . . . and I’ve seen this vehicle around town several times in recent months. 

What a waste.

The moral: Make sure you’re clear on your real message — and that it gets through. 

Don’t get so clever you trip over yourself.


Originals: Why procrastination enhances creativity

by Adam Grant:

Recently, an unusually creative doctoral student named Jihae Shin approached me with a counterintuitive idea: procrastination might be conducive to originality. 

When you procrastinate, you’re intentionally delaying work that needs to be done. You might be thinking about the task, but you postpone making real progress on it or finishing it to do something less productive. 

Shin proposed that when you put off a task, you buy yourself time to engage in divergent thinking rather than foreclosing on one particular idea. 

As a result, you consider a wider range of original concepts and ultimately choose a more novel direction. 


Employees who procrastinated regularly spent more time engaging in divergent thinking and were rated as significantly more creative by their supervisors. 

Procrastination didn’t always fuel creativity: if the employees weren’t intrinsically motivated to solve a major problem, stalling just set them behind. But when they were passionate about coming up with new ideas, putting off the task led them to more creative solutions. 

Procrastination may be the enemy of productivity, but it can be a resource for creativity. 

Long before the modern obsession with efficiency precipitated by the Industrial Revolution and the Protestant work ethic, civilizations recognized the benefits of procrastination. In ancient Egypt, there were two different verbs for procrastination: one denoted laziness; the other meant waiting for the right time. 

It may not be a coincidence that some of the most original thinkers and inventors in history have been procrastinators.


What’s your freedom?

Shark Tank’s sarcastically named Mr. Wonderful claims everyone’s real dream is freedom. People may say they want money, but to Kevin O’Leary, when you probe further, it’s all about being free.

Freedom comes in many forms. Mine is to be free to create. In the most relaxing and rhythmic way possible every day.

In greater detail, it’s to connect with other creators . . . and to share the mechanisms and inspirations for creative living that we discuss with as great an audience as I can. 

It can be a perplexing venture, trying to create a life worth living. Nothing floats my soul boat more than talking in depth with others working their way through what works and what doesn’t work.

It’s so unique. What works for a person. What works for me, what works for you. 

It can also be daunting. When things don’t work. When what works for one person flat out fails for another.

That’s what makes it so special, to be intermixed in the lives of individuals experimenting their way into greater freedom. Through our art gallery and through this Freaky Beautiful: Notes for Creators site I get to meet creators of all stripes.

Artists, writers, indie business people, speakers, creatives, workers, parents, kids . . . everyone is trying to fashion a life of great meaning. 

It’s heartening. It’s invigorating. To share insights and stories from the front lines. 

What’s your freedom? What are you working toward?

Identifying what freedom is important to you clarifies your path forward. 

Do you want to be . . . 

Free from worry?

Free from debt?

Free to explore?

Free to give?

Free to be yourself?

Free from bosses?

Free to be of service in a job that makes a difference?

Free to come home at the end of the day and leave it all behind?

Free to grow at your own pace?

Free of expectations?

Free from anxiety?

Free creatively?

Free spiritually?

Free physically?

Free financially?

Freely in love?

What’s your freedom?

For you 

Evan Griffith
Click here for a creative soul update via email, once or twice a month.

Want to be at your creative best? Check out this little book: 

Burn Baby Burn: Spark The Creative Spirit Within


Design saves the world . . . again

This is a simple thing, the snug sleeve-pocket on the spine of this journal. So you can easily sheath your pen when you’re done expressifying. And know it will be there when you next feel the need to unleash your glorious thoughts.

I’m sitting on a substantial bean bag that looks like the stalk of mushroom, if you could blow up a mushroom stalk to 5 feet in diameter. It’s the design that makes it special. From the soft micro-fiber exterior to the foam bits on the inside, this is a minimalist piece of functional art.

Today we’re taking a brief moment to celebrate design genius in our world. It’s the touch and feel of the items we use. The way I can softly tappata tappata tappata on the keys of this laptop, which makes it addictive to use.

Do you have a favorite coffee mug? One that slides into your cupped palms perfectly? 

Design did that.

You know how at some supermarkets they ask you if you want to donate to a worthy cause? 

Someone designed that into the system. And it’s going to help more people because of it.

(I always say yes when asked. As many do. It was genius to insert giving into a common purchasing process.)

(Or perhaps it was scenius 😉

My eyes were opened to design a couple of decades ago working with designer David Uozumi. Though we worked on expensive marketing materials most often, I first saw him re-work a form . . . and make it simple.

And elegant.

And easy to use. 

Yes, my eyes opened. The ugly scales preventing me from seeing the exquisite effects of design fell off. 

Ever since I’ve been agog at the way design perfects our world.

When my forever friend Gil complains about Apple, “All they are is a design firm,” I smile and think, Yes! You got that a-right . . . 

(When I’m charitable. When I’m not, I think, Well duh.)

What we do by design improves experience. What we do without thinking too often leads to suckiness

For you 

Evan Griffith
Add a little creative soul to your life. Click here to join the subscriber list for — you know — the occasional thing in your inbox.

Want to spark your creative best? Check out this little book: 

Burn Baby Burn: Spark The Creative Spirit Within


Austin Kleon: It doesn’t require genius, just scenius

Austin Kleon in Show Your Work! (Grab this book if you are creative and want clean cut simplicity on how to get started in your creative career):

There are a lot of destructive myths about creativity, but one of the most dangerous is the “lone genius” myth: An individual with superhuman talents appears out of nowhere at certain points in history, free of influences or precedent, with a direct connection to God or The Muse. 

When inspiration comes, it strikes like a lightning bolt, a lightbulb switches on in his head, and then he spends the rest of his time toiling away in his studio, shaping this idea into a finished masterpiece that he releases into the world to great fanfare. 

If you believe in the lone genius myth, creativity is an antisocial act, performed by only a few great figures— mostly dead men with names like Mozart, Einstein, or Picasso. The rest of us are left to stand around and gawk in awe at their achievements. 

There’s a healthier way of thinking about creativity that the musician Brian Eno refers to as “scenius.” 

Under this model, great ideas are often birthed by a group of creative individuals— artists, curators, thinkers, theorists , and other tastemakers— who make up an “ecology of talent.” 

If you look back closely at history , many of the people who we think of as lone geniuses were actually part of “a whole scene of people who were supporting each other, looking at each other’s work, copying from each other, stealing ideas, and contributing ideas.” 

Scenius doesn’t take away from the achievements of those great individuals; it just acknowledges that good work isn’t created in a vacuum, and that creativity is always, in some sense, a collaboration, the result of a mind connected to other minds. 

What I love about the idea of scenius is that it makes room in the story of creativity for the rest of us: the people who don’t consider ourselves geniuses. 

Being a valuable part of a scenius is not necessarily about how smart or talented you are, but about what you have to contribute— the ideas you share , the quality of the connections you make, and the conversations you start. 

If we forget about genius and think more about how we can nurture and contribute to a scenius, we can adjust our own expectations and the expectations of the worlds we want to accept us. We can stop asking what others can do for us, and start asking what we can do for others.


Your sacred space: For sparking (creative) flow

What you see above is my wife Ann’s sacred space. This little nook in her studio was created on the cheap.

This inset in the wall formerly housed a filing cabinet and storage for painting boxes. (Ann paints on wooden boxes of various sizes.) 

The cabinet was moved and the painting storage is now cleverly hidden beneath the bench. With the cloth draped over the storage area, who knows it’s there?

Well, yes, we do of course. But it’s not a visual distraction. It’s clean and the space is focused entirely on its primary use.

She finished the nook off with a foam cushion underneath the cloth, pillows, and the light fixture. Voila, a sacred space is born.

Previously her sacred space was just a comfy short shag rug on the floor of her studio. A wooden chest sat opposite the rug, topped with a few items for which she held special reverence.

Most importantly for this sacred space of hers is something you can easily copy. Here they are: 

3 elements that compel creative flow

1> A creative process calendar
Based on the Seinfeld method (Jerry Seinfeld’s productivity secret) of marking a big X on a calendar every day you do your creative work: After you get going, you don’t want to break the chain. 

After you build up a series of successful creative work days, you don’t want an empty day box sitting there without an X . . . 

Having this visual aid helps compel you into your creative practice daily. Even when the feeling isn’t there.

As creatives know, simply starting often engenders the flow you seek.

2> Inspirations
Ann’s inspirations, both personal and creative, are tacked on the wall.

She’s only just created this version of her sacred space so it’s relatively sparse at this point. But she envisions the wall spilling over with images that matter to her, quotes that are meaningful, and aspirations of significance.

Some call this a Vision Board. The images and text bits on the wall are meant to draw her more completely into the work and the life she wishes to create.

3> An idea basket
You can only see a hint of the idea basket in the lower right corner of the image above. But it’s within easy reach when she’s nestled into her sacred space.

The idea basket contains articles, handwritten notes, and images torn from magazines in this basket. Whatever she thinks might spark ideas.

From her perch she can see her works in progress in the studio. Ann sifts through the basket almost absent-mindedly looking for ideas that will mate with what she’s working on.

. . . . . . . 

That’s it. A sacred space is best when its simple, comfortable and secluded

The seclusion may come from simply closing a door to the rest of the house. Or maybe it comes from placing a small fountain nearby. Or turning up a fan.

The most important aspect in a sacred space is that you can come there for renewal whenever you need it.

Ann likes to start off her studio time in her sacred space. And whenever she’s feeling thwarted, she’ll retreat to the nook for a reboot.

A sacred space need not be indoors. It can be outside in a favorite spot. It might be a hammock, an Adirondack chair, a hot tub. Whatever floats your soul boat.

It also need not be a separate space . . . as in Ann’s initial sacred space on a plush throw rug. 

For me it’s an old leather couch opposite my home office desk. It’s an easy hop over to the couch for a meditation moment. From there I see my desk and beyond it, through the sliding glass windows to the natural world outside. 

Most importantly I see a note jotted next to my desk, a reminder of my three essential principles:

1. Be clear

2. Express love energy

3. Renew

Your sacred space can be anywhere you want it to be. As long as you can access it easily and often, the magic will go with you in your day.

For you 

Evan Griffith
Click here for a soul spritzer via email, once or twice a month.

Want to be at your creative best? Check out this little book: 

Burn Baby Burn: Spark The Creative Spirit Within