What Elton John and Tech N9ne Can Teach You About Creativity And Business

In case you didn’t already know, I’m a rabid music fan.

I listen to hundreds of hours of music every single week.

This morning I was listening to one of my all-time favorite shows on Beats 1 called Rocket Hour.

It’s one of the shows that I absolutely love.

Elton is someone I’ve listened to for years and today’s episode reminded me of why I love listening to him so much. What he shared was not only inspirational within his own space, but it also demonstrates some of the clear business principles he understands and uses daily that you can use as well.

About midway through the hour-long show he put on a track by Tech N9ne that also featured Boyz II Men.

Elton went on to talk about how much he loves Tech N9ne and how he loves their new album as well.

That’s what sparked me writing this email today. At that moment I realized that he has some incredible lessons to teach us all about creativity and business.

Lesson 1: Be open minded

I love Tech N9ne personally, mainly because he’s so creative with his lyrics and holds no bars. You don’t want to listen to it with little ears around because he cusses a lot and describes some crazy violence too, but at the end of the day regardless of if you like dark rap like that, hopefully, you can understand and appreciate the creativity he brings.

Elton John thinks he’s cool, and honestly, that should be enough for you to consider listening.

Elton’s sold over 250 million records. That’s more than I’ve sold 😉

What I love about him is that he explores ALL music because he’s in the music industry.

Are you being open-minded enough?

If Elton sat down with you and looked over your business and your strategy would he honestly see that:

A) You work hard to stay up to date on what everyone else is doing by learning and studying everyone in your space?

B) You’re open-minded and willing to talk to someone from the “other side?”

I remember when Elton and Eminem stood on stage and embraced. That was also a powerful moment for me because I saw how open-minded and full of grace he was.

Be open-minded. It can only help you grow your business.

Lesson 2: Outwork Everyone Else

Elton is in his seventies now. He still manages to work hard at his craft and hear about what Tech N9ne is doing (a relatively small artist compared to him who hasn’t had millions of each album sold).

Tech N9ne used to be a very underground rapper, and he really hasn’t blown up by any stretch of the imagination, and yet Elton listens to and loves his music.

That takes work.

Dedication to your craft.

Open-mindedness.

That’s why Elton John’s Rocket Hour is one of my favorite shows. I listen to hundreds of hours of music every week, and Elton kicks my ass and brings me new exciting things to listen to on every episode.

He delivers.

Over, and over, and over.

I believe that I first heard Seth Godin say “Ship early, ship often,” and it stuck with me.

The way we get better at our craft is by delivering something every single day.

Sometimes it’s good.

Sometimes it’s bad.

Sometimes “ugly” wouldn’t do it justice as a description, but you know what? Your ugly delivering is infinitely more beautiful and functional than the dream inside the critics head of what they would do if they “just had the perfect time, resources, team…” — you see where that is headed right?

So make sure you outwork everyone else.

This business of creativity and creativity in business isn’t for the weak and the lazy.

It’s gonna take some guts to make it all happen, and the best way to perfect your skill is to outwork everyone around you.

Outworking doesn’t mean working more hours than them. That’s a lazy attempt at “work” in most cases.

Outworking means always working smarter, learning faster, challenging what you’re doing, and looking up, down, and around to find the next person you can learn from, even if they don’t sing or rap like you do.

So with that, I’ll leave you with a quote from another one of my favorite humans who’s in a different energetic state these days:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

― Theodore Roosevelt

Go get dirty,

Gabe