All the most interesting people on the air around the world have at least one thing in common: They are continually searching and expanding their horizons from a deep-seated curiosity about life and their place within it.
Notice I didn’t say most successful. Rush Limbaugh may be the most successful pure Radio personality in America, but I find him boring because he never offers anything new. He never changes his mind, never really surprises me.
I think even his fans would say they know precisely what they’re going to get when they listen. It probably is the reason they listen. For them, it’s safe and predictable and self-affirming.
But even in the most successful Rush markets, fewer than 10% of the available listeners actually choose to listen to Rush. So that kind of predictability is not for everyone, is it?
I’m more interested in those of you who offer me something new and unpredictable, those who make me aware of something interesting I might have missed, who challenge me to listen and not be moved, who are confident enough to share a piece of themselves, a real piece, true vulnerability, that humanizes that faceless voice.
“This, I believe, is the central question upon which all creative living hinges: Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you? (Are you) living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear?”
That’s Elizabeth Gilbert, from her latest book Big Magic, and her question seemed especially poignant for those of us in Radio in 2016, because I know very few people on the Programming side of the building who are not living in almost constant, even if subconscious, fear.
Fear of judgment and rejection by listeners and program directors. Fear of outright failure. Fear of dismissal and career purgatory.
Here’s the thing: creativity and fear cannot co-exist within the same mind. We can’t possibly be as creative as we might be when fear is such a constant part of our lives.
So, here’s what I suggest to help you ramp up your own personal creativity…
Awaken your curiosity.Get out of the station, out of your house, out of your cocoon.
Push yourself to do something new and wildly different, whether that’s a cooking class or learning a new language. Put yourself into contact with new people in new situations.
Feed your mind by becoming hyper aware of everything that happens around you.
Write down every idea that pops into your mind, especially those ideas that come to you when you are not working — when you’re in the shower, or walking, or day-dreaming.
Be willing to fail more often. Take more risks. Challenge yourself. Abhor complacency.
The best part of this is that even if nothing really changes for you inside your station, I think your personal life will be enormously enriched.
In the long run, that’s the best success you can ever find.