CreativeLive, Online Learning, and 2016: The Year of Being Better

 In Inspiration

At the end of 2015 I decided that 2016 would be the year I kick ass. My goal is to fill these twelve months to the gills with self-improvement, self-discovery, unbridled creativity, and achievement. I didn’t start out with this plan; I think it kind of came to me because the time was right.

I remember having a discussion with one of my closest friends, who happens to be a life coach. Whenever we get together, it’s natural for us to get a little heavy late at night and dig into some self-improvement kinds of things. Over the holidays, he introduced me to the YouTube channel of Teal Swann, a spiritual catalyst who has taken a lot of the dryness out of the Law of Attraction teachings of Esther and Jerry Hicks, and made them a bit more accessible. I was very interested. But something that came onto my radar shortly before this was already having an impact and I didn’t realize at the time just how much.

I’d known about the cool things Chase Jarvis was doing for quite a while. He’s a big part of why I started getting back into photography when I got my first iPhone back in 2010. But I wasn’t aware of just how big the things he was accomplishing were. Things like putting out books, photographing huge campaigns, talking to amazing people about creativity, and even starting his own online learning community—more on that later.

As time went on and I’d see Jarvis pop up on my social media feeds here and there, I started to pay attention again. And in September of last year, CJ Raw 2.0 launched on his YouTube channel and I was all in.

In the past I’d looked to Jarvis as a photographer, trying to get some tips and inspiration. But what he’s doing with this new show contains almost no photography at all. Instead, it’s a lot of creativity and lifestyle tips that he uses to succeed as an artist and entrepreneur. It came about at exactly the right time for me. I’ve been devouring this stuff every week and branching out into lectures, interviews, and conversations he’s recorded with other luminaries. I’ve even adopted his morning routine (with a few tweaks to better serve me personally), which has worked wonders for my daily creative output. Check it out:

In episode 3 of CJ Raw 2.0, titled “How I Learn ANY SKILL + How You Can Too,” one of the tips is find mentors both in an online community and in person. I think it’s safe to say that Jarvis has become my online, unknowing mentor. In researching his work and ideas, I’ve learned a ton of things in a short amount of time that I can—and do—apply to my daily life to feel better and be more successful. This includes reading books by other creatives and outside-the-box-thinkers like Tim Ferriss, Austin Kleon, and Brené Brown.

What exactly have I learned so far? Mostly that I need to manage my time better around creating and not limit myself by being afraid. This has helped me to do more and better work with my photography, and has also led to some more interesting choices in my design work that I probably wouldn’t have made in the past. And I’ve also learned the importance of education. That’s where CreativeLive comes in.

Photo by CreativeLive

Photo by CreativeLive

CreativeLive is an online learning community started by Jarvis and Craig Swanson, which offers free live classes on everything from photography to design, to marketing, to almost every other creative or business area. And if you miss one of the streaming classes, you can always go back and purchase them at any time. It’s a great model.

I took the day off tomorrow to participate in my first CL live course. It’s called Your Photojournalism Survival Kit, and it’s taught by Ron Haviv, award-winning photojournalist and co-founder of photo agency VII.

I’ve had mixed experiences with online photography courses in the past. Places like Udemy and Skillshare offer some decent options at low prices (though Skillshare used to be free for most courses and I cant’ justify now paying for what they do offer), but I’ve never gotten as much out of them as I’d hoped—save for the Skillshare courses taught by Benjamin Heath and Benjamin Lowy (one of my favorite photographers in the world). I guess I learn best from Bens.

I have a feeling CreativeLive is going to be a much better experience. I can’t imagine Jarvis putting something out into the world that isn’t top-notch. And the ability to interact live with the instructor is amazing. I expect to learn a lot. Once the course is complete, I’ll write a follow-up post. And in the meantime, I’m going to try my best to make today the best, most creative day so far in 2016.

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