Erik Wahl is an internationally recognized graffiti artist, #1 best selling author and entrepreneur.
Erik redefines the term keynote speaker. Pulling from his history as both a businessman and an artist, he has grown to become one of the most sought after corporate speakers available today. Erik’s on-stage painting seamlessly becomes a visual metaphor to the core of his message, encouraging organizations toward profitability through innovations and superior levels of performance.
His list of clients includes AT&T, Disney, London School of Business, Microsoft, FedEx, Exxon Mobil, Ernst & Young, and XPrize; Erik has even been featured as a TED presenter.
The responses received have been nothing short of incredible, with standing ovations to prove it. Erik’s bestselling business book UNTHINK was hailed by Forbes Magazine as The blueprint to actionable creativity and by Fast Company Magazine as Provocative with a Purpose.
In The Spark and the Grind (his new book), Erik describes how he managed to escape the grind after his business came tumbling down, growing into a creative mindset that, while not devoid of grind, was fueled by sparks.
Wahl is offering a way to unlock the nascent power of creativity. He is also offering a way to unlock life’s treasures: to experience again the wonder you felt as a child at what you now take for granted.
By embracing the daily grind in a more open way, your mind generates new ideas, making you both more effective and more creative. As you wrote, the creativity is at the core of a well-lived life. So what’s the best way to approach the world? …To live?
«Structure creates freedom; this is the paradox of creativity. Everyone is creative, but it takes a high level of discipline and awareness to activate it. I can’t speak for everyone –or even anyone else—on the best way to live; I only know that my structure and daily routine are what give me the confidence, freedom, passion and curiosity to explore new dimensions of thought. When we create opportunities to disrupt, expand consciousness, differentiate from the competition and create unique customer experiences, this results in “aha” moments. It elevates our brand and increases our value proposition.
After 12 years of grinding silently in the dark to become an overnight success, I’ve learned patience and to embrace the delicious agony of the grind.»
One secret you share is approaching familiar things in unfamiliar ways: how can we do it?
«It’s critical to make a conscious effort to de-familiarize the ordinary. Creativity is often getting a fresh perspective apart from what everyone else thinks and does. So let’s say you go to work every day, that’s just part of your reality. But how you get there and what you do on the way are mutable – when you change up your routine, you allow room for inspiration.»
Do you already know what will be your next challenge?
«Right now, I’m waiting for technology and consumer behavior to catch up with my hopes and dreams. I already envision and create in a world of artificial intelligence, virtual reality, automation and social media disruptions. I have dozens of projects and investments on back burners waiting for opportunities to strike. But I’m trying to not look backward, and make the most of the present. I just keep creating, moving forward, collaborating, and partnering with the right passionate people who are also interested in inventing and exploring that which does not yet exist. I’ve learned that being an ambassador and early adopter for trends can be lonely and frustrating – but I can’t live any other way, nor do I want to.
More often we are the greatest barrier to our own happiness. Stop trying to exert so much control. Control yields a tepid existence. Try the braver path.
We love people whose creative genius arrives in sudden sparks of inspiration. Think of Archimedes in his bathtub or Newton under his apple tree.
Fall in love!»
He is Erik Wahl: graffiti artist, author, entrepreneur and philanthropist.
Cover: Erik Wahl – Anaheim – San Diego, October 2011.
The Spark and The Grind
The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. This book is about dreamers who do!