JEFF SHATTUCK MUSIC

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Why I wish I could be like Rick Rubin.

Every time I see a picture of record producer Rick Rubin, he looks like he has all the time in the world. He radiates calm and confidence. And he is either listening or observing, almost never talking. To me, these are qualities I try (but often fail!) to emulate because I think they are the keys to being creative. First, whether you’re a leader or a doer, if your goal is to be creative, you simply cannot create in a situation in which every one feels intense pressure. Sure, limits drive creativity and deadlines are good, but no one needs to be reminded of them ad nauseam. Look at pictures of Rick Rubin. Do you ever see him sweating? Looking all stressed out and unhappy? Head in hands? Never. Because if he did these things, he wouldn't be able to work his magic, which is to consistently get great creative from everyone who hires him. Now, speaking for myself, I can safely say that I am not always so calm, cool and collected. And every time I lose it I regret it, and I pay a price in that the creative output I'm hoping for is not what I get. Which brings me to Rick Rubin's other magnificent quality: he listens. Not only have I never seen a picture of him yelling at anyone, but also I'm 99.9% sure I have never even seen a picture of him speaking. Obviously, he's not totally silent. He just waits, observes, takes in information and calmly, but probably fairly quickly given his output, forms his opinion and expresses it. And people return the favor; they listen to him. It's a beautiful thing that results in beautiful things. And it's why, every day, I try to be more like Rick Rubin.