The Artist’s Way Part 3:
A Curious Mind by Brian Grazer
“So, what’s your story?” an inquisitive man asked me, his hair spiked atop his head as it were meant to touch the sky.
I was at an event in Palm Springs, in a home rumored to be owned by Leonardo DiCaprio, shooting for Amazon founder Jeff Bezos BEFORE he was declared the wealthiest man in the world. I was amongst “very important people;” but, in my naturally oblivious way, I was starkly unaware of it.
I proceeded to have a 20-minute conversation with this nonchalant man about my abridged life story, genuinely enjoying his insane ability to strip down the chit chat and get to the good stuff. We talked about the architecture of the house and both of our recent weddings in Mexico that were literally one day apart. He showed me pictures of his kids and wife… We were the same type of person, mirroring the comfort upon which fast friendships are made possible. He kept lobbing questions at me like a pitcher against a rookie hitter until after enough foul balls, I figured out how to hit the home run.
“So, what about you?” I asked.
“Oh, I’ve produced a few films…”
“Cool. Anything I’ve heard of?”
He began rattling off his “short list.”
“Splash, American Gangster, A Beautiful Mind, My Girl, Blue Crush, Liar Liar. I started Imagine Entertainment with Ron (Howard).”
Turns out Brian was responsible for just about every single movie I’ve ever watched in my 30 some years on planet Earth. Gotta love the ignorance I bring to the table as a transplant from the animation world in Northern California…
That same week Brian had been invited to sit on a panel with Ron Howard and Jeff Bezos to speak about his story of how he broke into the film industry. He had recently released his first book, A Curious Mind, which recaps how a younger and more eager Brian had gotten his start by randomly negotiating meetings with people he found interesting. These people could be anyone; a scientist, a notable explorer, a person who survived an insane disaster, an inventor, a writer, Ron Howard… you name it. He would simply become curious and reach out to that person, taking one meeting every month for years. Until… that boy knew everyone under the sun. And, what’s important here folks is that Brian did this without initially realizing how much he would learn by simply listening.
And, for some reason, he had decided to choose me out of a sea of people–at one of the most interesting events I have ever attended—with whom to have a conversation. I was just the meager photographer of the event… the “help.” But, he doesn’t see people that way because those are labels that are projected onto us; not who we really are. And, he gets that. He gets that you never know who we will elicit a morsel of wisdom from. Thus, in order to learn, we must be curious. And, in order to be curious, we must open not only our eyes and ears, but our hearts, to as many other travelers as we can in this life.
I’ve learned a lot of life lessons, but this one from Brian hit to my core:
Be a curious mind and, in turn, you will lead a richer life.
I remind myself of these words every single day and strive to be more like him in whatever way I can.
My 3 Recommended Books:
1) Creative Confidence; Unleashing The Creative Potential Within Us All by Tom and David Kelly
2) Big Magic; Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
3) A Curious Mind by Brian Grazer