We Are Unmistakable Creative

(A manifesto)

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Welcome to the Unmistakable Creative!

I'm Srini Rao, and this is my ​corner of the internet for people just like us.

I define the unmistakable as art that doesn't require a signature. It's so infused with your heart, mind, and spirit that no one else could have created it. It's immediately recognizable as something you made—nobody could have done it but you.

Maybe you don't self identify as an artist, but I define art as any proactive act of creation: a project, interaction, blog post, report, paper, book, song, performance, company, the way you coach clients, teach, and so on. When we view our work and engage with it through the eyes of an artist, we can't help but see things differently.

Unmistakable people make a dent in the hearts and minds of humanity. They act from a place of wonder and possibility rather than fear and comfort. Unmistakable people create a ripple beyond measure.

My mission is to help you rediscover your inner Unmistakable Creative and unleash it upon the world.

​You are a node in the middle of a network of thousands, millions of people. And when you put your work out into the world, it will create ripples with beautiful, serendipitous, moments that you couldn’t possibly have imaged could occur.

You'll come face to face with your inner demons- the fear and uncertainty and host of other emotions that battle to keep you hostage on a more safe and secure path. ​But should you be willing to lean in to these challenges, you will learn more about who your are and what you are capable of in a month, than you had in previous years on the traditional path.

​This is is your one and only life and I believe it should, and can, be an unmistakable masterpiece. It certainly has been that way for me.

The Art of Unlearning

As I neared the end of my MBA at Pepperdine in 2009, I was faced with two choices. I could either continue on the tried and true path, or I could gamble on an uncertain quest that could lead me to disaster—or discovery.

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An early 30-something me about to graduate, supremely unfulfilled and probably drinking more than I should to cope.

As I started to examine the choices I had made over the last decade, I realized I had never been proactive. I'd always chosen from the options that were put in front of me. I'd settled over and over again. I settled for the first job offer I got. I settled for doing work that didn't mean much to me. I settled for the best I thought my life could be as opposed to thinking about and going after what I really wanted. ​​

​What the hell did I want, anyways? I had never stopped and thought about it.

I'd blindly signed the contract of society's life plan as if there were no other option but now I was starting to realize that it was and always had been completely negotiable.

The first seed of realization struck on December 31, 2008. I was 30 years old, on the tail end of a study abroad program in Brazil, a broke MBA student with a mountain of student loans. My friends had all gone home early because they ran out of money, and I was bored with sitting on the beach.

On a whim I decided to rent a surfboard and give surfing one last shot, after many failed attempts, before I returned to the United States. On the last day of the year, for a brief second or two which felt like infinity, I stood up on a wave.

For the first time in maybe 10 years, I had experienced unparalleled joy. The fear, doubt, and anxiety lost its power over me—I was liberated from all the trappings of what other people expected from me.

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Full disclosure- this is not a picture from the first time I surfed- probably closer to the thousandth time. Slightly hooked.

Surfing was something I did purely for the joy of it. There was no logic or planning for the future. No strategies or life plans. And it made me question the life script I had been following so closely. Up until that point, I never stepped out of line.

​I followed the rules.
Got the degrees.
Obeyed my elders.
Took the jobs I thought were reasonable and secure.

​The result was a life that was completely devoid of meaning, intention, or purpose. I had willingly chosen misery and when I looked at my peers, they were just as miserable.

​I had forgotten about doing things for fun, because I enjoyed them. Things that made me look forward to tomorrow.

Unlearning meant questioning where I had blindly accepted society's limitations for myself. These were ideals and expectations I'd carried for so long, I had stopped questioning their existence.

In a way, it's like we become institutionalized by society's "best common practices" and in the process, completely forget that life is what we decide to make it...if we find the courage to move boldly in the direction our intuition nudges us.

Elle Luna calls this "the crossroads of should and must."

It is a choice each of us makes every day, in a thousand micro votes towards or away from these life altering outcomes.

When I found myself at that crossroads of should & must, I knew I wanted to write. So I started writing every day. It's the one habit that made everything else possible- the incredible podcast guests, the book deals with Penguin, my dream publisher. I've been able to create a career that is designed around who I am and what I want for my future- my purpose is to help others do the same.

I started Unmistakable Creative to inspire and bring forth the creative within you, to help you remember and acknowledge the door is always open. When you're ready to step through the threshold, we'll be here. (Or, if you'd like to stay in touch and receive a weekly dose of creative rocket fuel from me, why not consider joining the newsletter below?

Welcome to the Unmistakable Creative. I'm really glad you're here.

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​Sunset at Trestles, my favorite surfing spot in Southern California

​Srinivas Rao

Founder, Unmistakable Creative
Author: Unmistakable, Why only is Better than Best & An Audience of One: Reclaiming Creativity for Its Own Sake

P.S. If this is your first time here, here’s a mini-tour of the site:

The Unmistakable Creative podcast: This is where you’ll find my huge archive of 700+ interviews with insanely interesting people from all walks of life. I’ve interviewed bank robbers, drug dealers, billionaires, performance psychologists, New York’s highest paid dominatrix, performance artists, entrepreneurs like Tim Ferriss and David Heinemeier Hansson, and many more, trying to understand what makes some people’s lives so uniquely them- so unmistakable. Find the latest episodes here.

Articles: I write every day. I publish big articles 2 times a week, and small ones every day. Mostly I focus on distilling lessons from my podcast guests as well as anything new or interesting I learn from reading books or experimenting with all this new information (I read 60+ books a year). Find my article archive here.

Resources page: You’ll find some of my best free books here in PDF form. At a minimum, check out the Instigator’s Compass- it’s some of my best work. It’s completely free, no email required, and it’s inspirational rocket fuel. Check it out & the rest of the resources here.

Speaking: I speak to organizations and professional associations about how to stand out in a sea of noise and build a more effective and attentive workforce.  Previous clients include Citibank, Bayer, The International Live Events Association, and many others. You can learn more about about my keynotes and workshops here.

Consulting: For the ambitious and the motivated, I do occasionally release programs or offer 1 on 1 consulting— mostly for creatives who want more clarity, focus and accountability, assistance with ambitious special projects that stretch you outside of your comfort zone, or helping authors structure their books and refine their writing. Find that here.

That’s the mini-tour!

Have a look around and if you have any questions or feedback, you’re always welcome to email me at hello@unmistakablemedia.com.