Lessons from Rick Rubin and Questlove


By following the lessons of Rick Rubin and Questlove, you can cultivate a practice for creativity that leads to breakthrough ideas and impactful work.

Creativity is a crucial skill for success in any field. It allows us to approach problems with fresh perspectives, generate innovative ideas, and find new solutions. However, creativity is not a gift that some people are born with; it is a skill that can be developed through practice. So, how can you create these practices? Let’s learn from some modern masters of the craft: Rick Rubin and Questlove.


The first step in creating a practice for creativity is to make time for it. Creativity requires focused attention and mental energy, which can be difficult to find in a busy schedule. However, scheduling time for creative work can help make it a priority. For example, Rick Rubin, a music producer known for his work with artists like Johnny Cash and Jay-Z, sets aside time each day to listen to new music and explore new sounds. By dedicating time to creative exploration, Rubin keeps his mind fresh and open to new ideas.


Another key element of practice for creativity is finding inspiration everywhere. Inspiration can come from anywhere, whether it’s nature, art, or everyday life. For example, Questlove, a drummer and music producer, finds inspiration in everything from old records to TV shows. Questlove keeps his creativity flowing by seeking inspiration in unexpected places and constantly finds new ideas to explore.


Creativity often involves experimentation and taking risks. Trying new things and taking risks can lead to unexpected results and new insights. Rick Rubin is known for his willingness to experiment with different sounds and styles. He encourages artists to take risks and push their boundaries, often leading to groundbreaking work. By being open to new ideas and taking risks, Rubin has developed a reputation as one of the most innovative producers in the music industry.


Collaboration is another key element of practice for creativity. Working with others can bring fresh perspectives and new ideas to the creative process. Questlove is a member of the hip-hop group The Roots, known for their collaborative approach to music-making. The group often collaborates with other artists from a range of genres, which has led to some of their most creative and innovative work.


Finally, a practice for creativity should involve reflection and revision. Taking the time to reflect on past work and revise it can lead to new insights and improvements. Rick Rubin often spends months or even years working on a single project, revising and refining it until it meets his high standards. By taking the time to reflect and revise, Rubin ensures that his work is innovative and impactful.

Creating a practice for creativity requires dedication, experimentation, collaboration, and reflection. By making time for creativity, finding inspiration everywhere, taking risks, collaborating with others, and reflecting and revising, you can develop your creative skills and find new and innovative solutions to challenges in your work and life. By following the lessons of Rick Rubin and Questlove, you can cultivate a practice for creativity that leads to breakthrough ideas and impactful work.

Originally posted in Fast Company


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