On this episode of the Bet On Yourself podcast, I'm speaking to Maria Brito, author of How Creativity Rules The World. I have been itching to sit down with Maria because she is the ultimate example of betting on yourself, having left behind a successful legal career to pursue her passion – art. Now she is a Curator, a Collector and a Consultant to a long list of impressive names, from chart-topping singers to Fortune 500 companies. But how did she step out on to Wall Street one day and leave it all behind, before finding her new path? And how can you channel your creativity to enable success in the world of business? Well, she's here to tell us.
[Ann 00:00:00] Welcome to this week's episode of the Bet On Yourself podcast, where we speak with some of the world's most inspirational people who have all, at some point in their careers, taken a huge bet on themselves – transforming them personally and professionally. Today I am joined by Maria Brito – Venezuelan-born, New York-based art advisor, consultant and curator, and writer of How Creativity Rules The World, an eye-opening account of how anyone can foster and nurture innovation in the most creative of ways. What you might not know is that art wasn't Maria's first calling. It wasn't until after nearly a decade in law that she chose to take a bet on herself and jump into something completely different. I can't wait to share Maria's story with you all today, and if you love this episode as much as I think you will, please do let me know in all the usual places, such as a review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Youtube, or anywhere else you happen to be listening right now.
[Ann 00:00:55] Maria Brito, thank you so much for being on the Bet On Yourself podcast today. I have been so looking forward to this conversation.
[Maria 00:01:03] Thank you Ann I am very excited to be here and thank you for the opportunity. Hello to the audience and I'm excited to hear what you have to say. And the questions you're going to ask me.
[Ann 00:01:15] I was saying before we started recording that the hardest part of this conversation by far is editing down my massive list of things I'm excited to talk to you about into a single podcast conversation. We might have to do multiple parts because I'm...
[Maria 00:01:28] And I'll be happy to come back.
[Ann 00:01:30] So, in the bet on yourself podcast, we like to start at the very beginning. I'm wondering if you can describe for me Little Maria in Caracas, Venezuela, and what did she think she was going to be when she grew up?
[Maria 00:01:43] Yeah, little Maria wanted to be a singer and a performer, and that was my, it wasn't only my passion because a lot of kids are you know, oh, my goodness, I would love to be a singer or something like that. And they have no talent. I actually did have it, but my parents refused to allow me to explore that professionally because, you know, it was going to be, according to them, a path of, I mean, either I was going to starve or it was going to be a it was going to be the road to prostitution kind of thing. Right. And so it was one of those two or maybe both.
[Ann 00:02:22] I read that in your book, and I literally laughed out loud that your mom is like, no, no, no. Only prostitutes or singers.
[Maria 00:02:30] Right and that was kind of like, you have to put the thing in context. Like, I was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and I'm 46 right now. So it was a very long time ago. And, you know, it's a conservative society, it's a Catholic country. And also think about this, right?I mean, only child and super talented firecracker. And she's like, I'm going to be a singer and already auditioned and I have a contract. And because I'm a minor, you're going to have to sign it because I'm going to go on tour. It was like, you are absolutely insane, child, right in this house, you all ready know that you can only be a doctor, a lawyer or an engineer, And so, you know, look, it's so, it's - here's the deal. The story is written in my book because I want people to understand that, first of all, there, there are always miracles that will allow you to, if you allow them to happen to you, to shift the misery of a career that I actually chose, which was to be a corporate attorney. And I am not praying or regretting that I did not become a singer. I mean, my life is really fine as it is. And that was then and this is now. Right? I mean, but I think that the, the seed in the whole thing and whatever you want to learn about it is that, that there are always other chances and that you can bet on yourself and that's why I love to be here because there are bets that you can actually blaze and win.
[Ann 00:04:15] I really love that you've had several pivots in your career. I understand your parents instinct to want to guide you towards the quote unquote safe careers where they know you can make your own money. Money is power, especially as a woman. Your family has such an interesting story. Before we get into your unexpected pivots in your career, I love that in your book, you share that you're not the first one to pivot and reinvent themselves in your family. You share this very heartfelt story, reflecting on your grandfather's life in some very unexpected multiple pivots that he had in his career. I wonder if we can start there, because I actually thought that was a really fascinating foundation. And it kind of explains a little bit of the bravery you had in reinventing yourself later, thinking about him.
[Maria 00:05:01] I'm so glad that you mentioned that, because to me, such an important part of my own story and, you know, I had not revisited that story for a long time. And the reason is because, first of all, I moved to the United States many years ago, in the late nineties, and I barely went back to Venezuela, barely. And I have not been back in 15 years. Right. And so my grandfather died I had actually seen him a month before because I had gotten married and it was my wedding and it was really like the best goodbye we could have possibly had. You know? That was, that was 17 years ago and that, you know, once he was gone, right? I mean, I only thought about him in like happy times and, you know, how good he was as a person and things like that. And when I, when the pandemic hit, I, you know, everybody got a little their own emotions, right? I mean, it's the month of April or May or whatever after 2020. And I'm thinking about my grandfather, right? Where is he? You know what, what could he be doing - where, you know, or whatever. And, you know, I did something very unexpected. I Googled his name because first of all, again, my grandfather had been dead by about 60 years by the time I made that Google search. And also he had almost no relationship to the Internet. Right? I mean, like he barely had a computer you know, like he was he was 80 years old when he died and he was not a man of computers. And so why would I have done that, right? But I did it in anyway. And I stumbled upon this video from the late actually mid seventies when my grandfather actually was kidnapped in Venezuela for a month by the guerilla. And he, I found this video the day he was released. And look, I have to like right now, I have to like hold my tears because this is like it was one of the most unbelievable moments of my life. Honestly, like, first of all, I had never seen that video because, you know, it's not like you. Oh, my God. Let me save this video of like how I came back from my kidnap. You know, nobody does that, right? Oh, let's watch. No, I mean, like, nobody knows that. Second of all, like, there was no way to store these things in the seventies. I mean, you would have to have, like, you know, a physical tape and a projector. VHS. No VHS girl is from the eighties! Like, we're talking about the seventies, right? Like, none of those things existed. (Sure.) I stumble upon this Reuters video that has no audio, and I literally see the house where I grew up most of the time because, I mean, I live with my parents, but we spend a lot of time with my grandparents. I see him, I see my family. Wow. You know, it's like literally every part of my body and emotions is like it burst open with tears because first we were going through all this thing at the very beginning where we didn't know what was happening. And second, to be reunited with these memories and images after me, like, you know, not coming back to a country that is not even in the shadow of the former self, that it was right so, you know, my grandfather went through a lot of reinventions, and that's why I wrote the first chapter around his story because this, finding the video and starting the book, it all happened together. But he was a guy who he was my very own Renaissance man. Right. I, he was a man who was a very skilled and respected physician. He had an accident. And he wasn't as, you know, as dexterous as he thought, you know, he needed to be to carry out his job in, in the top excellent way that he always handled himself. And so he quit the job to become a banker at his family, had a financial institution. And he was so smart that within very few years he became one of the top three guys in the whole bank, coming from a completely different field. Right. And that's when he was kidnaped. And so once he got liberated, he had to spend every penny he had paying for that ransom. I mean, the money had been paid already with loans from the bank. And and also his savings. Right. And it was all gone. So he went from being this top guy, hot, 40. You know that the you know, the Cadillac the whole thing, the trips around the world to like nothing literally. I mean, he had his house and nobody could take that away from him right in like a little money and that was it. So what he did is that he reinvented himself again. And little by little he, I mean with some other loans and whatnot, he bought a printing company which had nothing to do with being a banker or being a doctor it's just that he had a lot of skills. Right. And this guy was not giving up so easy. On anything. And so he became the CEO of this printing company that he bought. And he was incredible in that role. And, you know, he he he did everything with such level of dignity and excitement. And he was curious, creative. He took, you know, canvases on the weekends. And easels. And he sat next to me with today we're going to paint with oil. Right. And it's like definitely the kind of man that I don't think it exists anymore. Very rare.
[Ann 00:10:41] Yeah. Very rare. Yeah. I love that story because I just, one I just felt so connected you even though our life stories are very different from different parts of the planet, I to have my father was an example to me of multiple stages of reinvention. And I loved a leader in the book in chapters two and three. You pull out these elements, that kind of explain his, his multifaceted Renaissance talents, where you point out that actually there's a long history of creativity following crisis. You look at examples of particular creative geniuses in the past and show that there's actually a pattern to some of this crisis. So that actually really resonated with me of now is such an amazing opportunity to lean into this because we've all been in this period of reinvention and crisis and lockdown. And I love the analogies you drew in the book of being locked in our apartments with his captivity. And that we can come out the other side and invent ourselves. And I also grew up my mom is a, is an artist. She's an oil painter. And so that really made me smile to think of you and your grandfather sitting there and experimenting and being creative. So with that framework of post-traumatic growth, which you also talk about in the book, it does kind of make your seemingly disjointed, crazy career choices make a bit more sense. So for those who aren't familiar yet with your story, how did little Maria, who dreamed of being a singer and traveling the world become a - go to Harvard Law School, become a very successful but very unhappy lawyer, and then pivot into your incredible art, curation and creativity genius that you are now?
[Maria 00:12:21] Oh, my goodness. Ann you know, it is right. But of course, it is a crisis, right? I mean, you have to face this type of moments in your life. And crises have many different faces and shapes. It doesn't have to be an earthquake. It doesn't have to be a pandemic. Right. It has to be at a significant moment where you actually get better or worse. Right? I mean, it's like that pivotal moment. And so I went to Harvard Law, as you said, I graduated. I moved to New York City and I started practicing law in different law firms, international, local, big, small, medium. It was almost like the next one is going to be the really good one, you know. And, you know, eventually you realize it's not the law firm. It's you. You don't fit into this world. You don't like what you're doing there is no love for, You don't like what you're doing there is no love for, you know, the profession, no meaning or purpose, nothing. I could not find any of those things. And I was constantly running this thing in the back of my mind. Right. I'm an entrepreneur, I'm a creative person. I have to mingle all these things that are instead of me bubbling up because I'm wasting my life and the kind of like the wasting my life saying was terrifying. Right? I mean, like, I can't be tied up to this desk for the rest of my life, this is absolutely unthinkable. And so I have been pondering this, right? So I practiced for about nine years and, like seven and a half years into it. I had been thinking about this and so several things happened since I had all this background in the arts that that had to do more with my parents and grandparents taking me to museums and to plays and if we had any surplus of money, was like, let's go take a trip because we want you to be cultured and things like that. So I always had a great respect and excitement for the world of visual arts, and I since I lived in New York, that was the silver lining, right? I mean, it is like it's the capital of the art world. So I could go to, in my very spare time, museums and galleries and get acquainted with what what happened. I had a group of friends that I had been informally recommending artists and the artist got hot and expensive. So they jokingly said, well, you should kind of pursue this path. Right and around the same time, I got pregnant with my first child. And this is really when things started to get crazy for me because I was thinking, you know, children learn out of their parents because it doesn't matter how many books you give them is like the behaviors that you model and the things that you do are the things that they actually end up having ingrained and integrated in their subconscious and in their conscious mind as well. So I can't really teach this child the life that I have right now. Because I hate what I do. It has absolutely nothing to do with the person that I am. And I think that I'm going to be always kind of like miserable and not teaching my kids. well, at the time it was just one right, that the value that comes out of the joy and the meaning of doing what you love, no matter what that is. So that was an impending thing that was going to happen. I was going to have a child and I didn't feel that I could be a role model by being an attorney. So that was that was that was a crisis right? I mean, it's like all these things came together to put me on a different path. And it was the crisis of actually the real crisis happened right after I had the baby and the third quarter of 2008 with the collapse of the economy and the Bernie Madoff scandal and the whole thing. Right. And I was my job was to work with banks at the law firm so the clients were the banks. And it was just crazy everything that was happening at the time. And I said to myself, who am I serving? What am I doing? This is insane. You know? So I drafted a business plan and it was very, you know, basic and whatnot. And I prepared, you know, my exit after January because bonuses were going to be paid in January. And I said, you know what? I even if I took three months off and take leave, they're going to berate this. But I'm not leaving this money on the table. Hell, no. So I went and I you know, I resigned. Nobody was crying. I mean, look, it's like 500 attorneys, right? I mean, I was one of 500 or whatever. And yes, I was, I was good, you know, but again, like, you are very replaceable in those environments. The truth is like even when parent like, you know, the partners sometimes, like I remember one of them left and went to live in India as a yogi because he couldn't take it anymore. And they were like, Bye! You know? And so, I mean, it's that's that's what it is, right? It really is. And it's pretty much the same in corporate America. I mean, like, CEOs are replaced left and right you know what I mean? And the company keeps going. So and I'm not saying this is right or wrong. What I'm saying is that this this was not for me. Definitely not for me. So, you know, I talked to my husband and I said, I'm going to open an art advisory. And it had a lot of different other elements at the time. And he said, whoa, you know, are you sure that you don't have like postpartum depression or something? And I say, well, listen, maybe I do, but I am doing this, you know, no matter what, you know, I can go on an electroshock tomorrow if you want me to but I'm not going to change my mind. And he was like, okay, I'm supportive. I you know, I want you to succeed. I want you to be happy. And I know you're miserable and I don't want you to be miserable. And so I closed that door. It's almost like when I left that building down on Wall Street, I felt as if a 500 pound black sack that I was carrying lifted It was when, you know, when Jesus Christ part of the seas kind of like I felt like I was, literally like the seas opened. There was a ray of light and angels were singing all around me. And the minute I left that building is everything changed. Everything changed. And to a level that I just can't even - there are no words to explain.
[Ann 00:19:07] I so relate to that. It was so hard for me to leave Google after 12 years, and I was very happy there. So that part is a little bit different. But I had this voice also saying, You're made for more. And I resonate with what you're saying about you were really committed to wanting to live according to your values, to be a living example of this legacy that you were hoping that your children would follow this example of betting on yourself, taking a chance on your talents and your passions, and valuing that above external visions of what success should look like and listening to your inner voice of this, this is not me. This is not how I want to show up in my single precious life. But wow. Okay, so you feel this weight lift. You have this moment where the angels are singing. I imagine it is. I'm about to talk about the end of that journey, and I'm very interested in the periods between that moment of the parting of the seas and your reputation now, because your reputation now, I literally wrote in all caps like, WOW, to do what you've been able to create in betting on yourself. You now have helped build art collections for hip hop moguls, Oscar and Academy Award, winning actors and musicians, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, Broadway producers, world renowned physicians, etc., etc., etc. This plan worked out, but I know as a solopreneur, I started out as a solopreneur on building my company. I was trying to do a lot of things. It took me a while to hone in on my zone of genius and to really find that niche in what people need. And I love in the book that you describe yourself as a guinea pig that your readers can learn from so that they can learn from the best practices, and also maybe some of the lessons you learned along the way. We're going to get into your book next. That's definitely - I have so many things I want to talk to you about that are in your book. But if you were to oversimplify that process as an early stage entrepreneur, I guess what interests me most, because it's for me has been the hardest part of the journey is how did you find that zone of genius? You knew your passion about art. You - I love that you looked at You - I love that you looked at what do I do in my spare time in your childhood, you were really passionate about art and culture. What did you do when your time as a corporate attorney was so limited, you had to be very choosy in where you spent it. You spent it in these environments. So I love you leaned into that. What was that process like of then getting yourself into your zone of genius and hitting a very unique point in the market and the demand out there how did you find that?
[Maria 00:21:31] That takes time. You know, and I think it's important for if people are thinking and they're listening to this and thinking about switching careers or opening businesses or whatnot, it takes time to refine your offer. It takes time to actually find the identity of who you are. But that cannot just happen in theory. Right? I mean, you just have to go through the practice of doing things. And usually what I recommend, if I can, if I may, is that you may do or you may start with a variety of things that are adjacent and see what happens. Right. When I opened the company, I had this idea that I also wanted to design the rooms where the art was and honestly, that was a job that paid a lot of money. But I it's not that I hated it. It's just that the market also was telling me that I was getting all these people asking me more and more to be just their art advisor because they already had the houses and because they had already hired the designers. And while it was fun and creative, I did not come to this world to put rocks in people's houses. I absolutely know that. Right. And so there is a combination of things that are going to happen along the way when you are building a business, right? You, either the market is going to tell you what you said, that your zone of genius is, because the feedback you're going to receive. Right. And unless you're blind or extremely stubbon which is not a quality that I recommend for anybody into entrepreneurship to actually be stubborn, you can be, but, but you know, but not with like change in the business when, when the numbers are not right or the market is telling you something. So the market tells you where is your zone of genius usually. Right. And you also start paying attention to what the media says about you and how they categorize you. And what are the things that are, you know, what are the hits, right? Like a lot of people obviously nowadays resort to online marketing, whether it is newsletters or blog or podcasts or anything and everything, social media, Instagram. So why are the hits there? What's people doing where people are clicking? Why are people calling? You know? So you've got to be very attuned to what is happening outside and surrounding the business, because that is definitely the thing that's going to tell you. And obviously, we don't want also people who are doing things that they don't want to do. And that's why I also didn't do the design anymore because it didn't give me joy as the other things gave me. Right. And it's very important to experiment. People who don't experiment don't get really far in life, the truth is, right, and every in every experiment there is a possibility of a failure. And that's okay because failures usually are just tremendous experiences and not in that cliché way, like, oh, every time you fail, you're going to learn a lesson that's kind of B.S. If you think about it in that way, it's more like, you know, failures give you skills. If you, for example, spend an enormous amount of time working on a part of the business that really doesn't pan out, you learned a hell of new things that can be incorporated, separated, and you know, and packaged in different ways. So I you know, there is always this part of the messy middle like people call the messy middle, which is like, you know, once you've gotten the business off the ground and you're kind of moving forward, then you get to the point where you're like, I don't know what's happening. You know, it's so strange, right? But I think the messy middle is important, is very important. And I think the messy middle can happen many times because in the times that we live we have to live many lives and we have to have many businesses within the business and we have to change the business many times. I don't see any company that started one way is going to continue being the same thing even five years from now or three years from now, because the enormous changes that are a societal and cultural, political, whatever, you know, you name it, right are going to require from us making these shifts if we want to thrive. It's not just barely survive and kind of like, you know, oh yeah, no, you want to thrive. And to do that, you require a lot of creative thinking and you require a lot of willingness to make shifts and pivots even when it's uncomfortable, even when it hurts a little bit. You know, I don't advocate for suffering, but I think that, you know, if you're feeling some pain and that means you need to shift, and if you have a learning curve ahead of you, that's going to be bothersome, but is the only way you have to really commit to that.
[Ann 00:26:20] I think that's such a beautiful segue into your book because not only are you this incredibly influential art curator to the fancy and famous, but you have now, as you've just said, you have now noticed that you have this gift for helping prime others to find their individual creative selves and bring it out, especially among those who might not self-identify as a creative in the beginning. And I really love that it's a core part of your business. So you have a creativity class called Jump Start, and I think it was out of that, that people started coming to you being like, You need to write this down. More people need to be able to experience it. Is that right? Is that what originally led you to the idea of putting all these best practices down into a book form?
[Maria 00:27:06] It started differently. I had the same clients who hired me to be their art advisor and personal curator were very impressed by my story, and I used to not tell everybody because it was like, Oh my God, if they know I was an attorney, they're not going to hire me. You know what I mean? But eventually there was an article in The New York Times that wrote about me was a profile a few years ago, and that was like, it was, you know, the cat was out of the bag. I mean, it was written that I and so then I was not ashamed of my Harvard Law School past anymore. I almost felt like I was a criminal, right. By saying I had been a ?. So those people were so impressed by this shift and by the acess that I had also to artists and artists studios and things like that. They had asked me to go to the companies to do workshops and day tradings to talk to their execs or their managers about like how you actually shift and what is necessary to see an opportunity where people have developed blind spots which is usually what happens when you're too big of an expert, is that you start missing things because you are so good at what you do, that you are not paying attention to all the periphery and all the other things. And also they wanted me to relate or translate for them the mind of the artist. And this is very important because artists are usually people who are brilliant and very extrovert, but it's very hard for them to say, how do you come up with your ideas? Or What is it that is inside of your mind? That makes you so successful? It's very hard for them to articulate that. And so I did this program some workshops, and then I thought, Well, it's going so well for these people, and I'm getting all these rave reviews and whatnot. Why is it that I don't create a program online for people who are not in these companies? And then just for a fraction of the money they can go and do it with me online and I created Jump Start with some of the information and principles that I had gathered for this workshops. It was not the same obviously, but it's um, but it was a spin off of that. And so they, my students started to get like very, very impressive results. And they were very empowered by what they what they had learned. And they started shifting their mindset around what it is to be creative. I had a doctor. I had this like real, real estate people. I had ecommerce owners, I had serial entrepreneurs, all sorts of different people. And for most of them, the I think the, the complicated part was thinking through this idea of what is creativity. And so a lot of people thought, well, is it just like painting or arts and crafts and cut outs Are you going to want us to like, you know, like draw things? And a lot of people thought, well, I'm not gifted because I'm not creative. I wasn't born with that thing. And usually, you know, I have to spend a good amount of time explaining to them that creativity is just simply the unique ability that you have to come up with ideas of value for your business or career that are relevant for the now. And also the second important thing is I and this is a true, is creativity is not just one thing. It's an amalgamation of skills, right? Like Risk-Taking, like autonomy, curiosity, empathy. And so that actually makes the whole thing so much more accessible when they understand that it's not something that Oh, it was granted by the gods and whatnot, but it is something that you can actually work at it. You can definitely improve things and thrive in any area if you hone those skills and it's not as difficult. You know, I think complexity kills execution right? I mean, immediately when you start making everything so difficult, people are like, No, but the concepts in my book and in the program are very straightforward. It's just that people do not see how easy it can be. The catch is that people have to work at them.
[Ann 00:31:19] I highlighted practically all of chapter three about what you're just talking about right now because it resonated so heavily with me. My career in Silicon Valley has surrounded me with some of the most exceptional thinkers of our generation. And when I dissect what makes them revolutionary thinkers, it's these principles you outline in the book. They show up every day. They do the really hard work. They don't self-edit. They just practice, practice, practice, practice. And that's why Silicon Valley celebrates quote unquote failures. All that is just the stuff that you're like, Okay, that didn't work in the way I thought, but now I'm going to pivot to this. You have this great quote in the book that says, Creativity is not a one single thing. It is an amalgamation of habits and mindsets nurtured by well and design. I love this part. Creativity is what allows artists and entrepreneurs to move, shake, invent, disrupt and transition as often as they need to meet today's challenges and tomorrow's in a convoluted world where change is the only constant. I loved that quote. And then later in the book, I think it's in the next chapter. You brought up the example of Picasso. This is a fact I did not know. I am based in Spain, so it was fun to - there were so many wonderful Spanish examples you brought out here, but you shared in the book that Picasso is certified by the World, Guinness World Records as the hi- as history's most prolific artist. I did not know this. His volume of work, not just the quality of his hits, that his volume of work is staggering. 13,500 paintings and designs, 1000 prints and engravings, 34,000 book illustrations, 300 sculptures and ceramics. That's the secret. They just are so dedicated they show up consistently every day, and they all had built these routines around their craft. I think that's so applicable to entrepreneurs, and I would love to hear more of your thoughts on that. And maybe if you don't mind sharing a favorite success story of somebody who had this creative awakening and unlocked an opportunity for themselves and their career that they hadn't expected.
[Maria 00:33:19] You know, what you said is just so, I mean it encapsulates everything, really. It's the work and how you put it in and out and the there is a quote in the book about, you know, Picasso had a friend who was a photographer from Hungary who lived in Paris, and he was obviously, you know, blown away by Picasso's career.And he he said, Picasso, Pablo, you know, how did you come up with all this many ideas, man? Because it's incredible. And he said, Every time I put my pen on the paper, the ideas start coming. And so it is an action. It is not like, you know, Picasso was not sitting down. Yes, he was. Of course, you know, he had drinks and whatever, but he preferred to be his studio working than just, like, doing anything else. Right. And you have worked with incredible people. And you know that so many years separate Picasso from those guys and so many years separate Picasso from, let's say, Leonardo da Vinci. (Right.) I mean, almost, almost 500 years separate them. And the habits are exactly the same. And that's why I love to touch on history, not only because it's fun and it's I love history. And so that's that's why there are so many historical examples in the book, but it's also because it immediately tells you that it doesn't matter the time in the end, the timelessness of the book that I hope it, it remains as a timeless guide for people. It's because of that and so I'm just making the point that if it worked for Picasso and it also works for Elon Musk Yes. Then there's got to be something there, you know what I mean? There's got to be something there that we have that is important to highlight and analyze. And, you know, in terms of success stories, like, like, you know, my students have had many. I've had one student who, she used to be a person who worked at a company that sold courses online. And it was it's actually the biggest company that sells courses for real estate brokers to stay, you know, with your licenses. Certification and so on. Yes. But also you need to continue credits. I'm not sure I'm not a real estate broker. So she she had a job there as a manager and she wasn't really that happy. But she was an excellent copywriter. And she had a lot of excellent skills as a computer person. And she knew how to code and whatever. So she quit that job and she opened a company that helps process people's visas she moved to Lisbon from Atlanta, Georgia to Lisbon, and she opened this business that helps process the visas of people who want to move to Lisbon. But then she realized that there was another business in that, which was a concierge company of helping people do the move. And then she found another business within that which was helping people buy the furniture. And so now this woman is making like €2 million a year, right? Like she was sitting down in like a cubicle in Atlanta you know, and she says, Maria, I owe this to you because, I mean, she owes it to herself, not to me, but she said your course for me. She said it was the mother of every course because all I need is the idea and to know that it can materialize. Right. Because that's the thing. Ideas are a dime a dozen. And so the what actually turns creativity into a create into a reality is when you take action and you decide which ideas to pursue. And so that you know that our habits, these are happy are absolute habits.
[Ann 00:37:09] I've seen that over and over again in Silicon Valley and with my consulting clients now. and that's honestly one of my favorite parts of your book, honestly. Normally, normally people forget the subtitle of a book, but I really particularly love yours. So your book is How Creativity Rules the World. Subtitle The Art and Business of Turning Your Ideas into Gold. And I love that Lisbon story. I think that's the perfect encapsulation of this principle. And I love that you not only have taught us through principle that the greats all have this regular practice, but you've guided us through what you call your Alchemy Lab. At the end of each chapter, you give us these reflection questions and ways to stay accountable to these little light bulb moments that we have, and to know which are going to change into gold. And I hate that our conversation needs to wrap up already, but I wouldn't - I would be remiss to leave our conversation without touching on the future, because so much of your book is about creating the life of your dreams, building it around your passions. And in my experience, in tech, whenever you're aligned with your passions and understanding your unique role in the world, the monetization of that follows later. I honestly don't think that comes first. So just first asking yourself, what makes me feel like the Red Sea has just parted in front of me and then taking that big, scary first step into it I think is important. I wonder if you can, as we're thinking about the future and I love this quote in your bookwhere I personally think that creativity is the future proof career strategy for sure. And you even say in the book, during the pandemic, the World Economic Forum called Creativity, quote, the one skill that will futureproof you in the job market. Artificial intelligence is disrupting everything. Computers are going to optimize our jobs. They're going to be able to take a lot of the mundane out of our lives. And hopefully we sit in that zone of creativity and genius. So what do you hope that readers take away from your book, listeners of this conversation do? Where should they start on their alchemy labs to prime themselves for creativity today?
[Maria 00:39:13] Look, I think that it's what the most important thing is to claim this reality. And I think that you know, we would not be doing anything if people actually don't end up believing that this is something possible for them. And it's not. It's just so simple, right? But it's the truth. When people have a rigidity of mind, nothing works for them. And I'm appealing to people who are willing to give me a 5% chance even that this works. And I know it works because it's, I have empirical proof, but also because I made a point that in almost every chapter there is a study that actually confirms the different things that I'm trying to prove with that particular habit or a skill set, because I wanted to make sure that people who are like this is not true because. Okay, well, so, you know, I actually have (You've got the data.) proof.Yes, I got proof here. Right. And so I want people to have this desire, an open mind and heart to understand why creativity is so important. And look to be creative is to also be willing to see things from a different perspective. Because for too long, I think people have been living in silos. And it's like an echo chamber where like all you hear is the same thing. And like people are just like, you know, you go to your feed and it's what you want to see because the algorithm knows you better than your own mother, right? I mean, it's like the algorithm are feeding you what you want to see. And then you surround yourself with people who think exactly what you think, and you have canceled everybody who is not on your same wavelength. Right. And I believe that there is nothing more counterproductive for progress than that. There are, there is no progress in society without excellent ideas. And there is no progress in society if we just have one idea. Right. And that could be your idea or mine. But like if everybody were to be thinking the exact same way, we absolutely doomed our future and this is something that is it's an urgent thing that we have to figure out how to help people reclaim their independent thinking, their critical thinking, not just critical judging, but the ability to actually, the ability to actually think it, you know, for themselves and question what's being given to them. If we didn't have a guy like Elon Musk questioning why rocket science, you know, rockets sent to the moon, we're so expensive for an answer, then probably we would not have all these other advances is that it's not only him sending people to Mars. I mean, there's a there are so many implications, right? I mean, if we we would have not had a guy who says, you know, we have to always pay for taxies in the freezing winter, then we wouldn't have Uber. Right. So it's about questioning the things. And I I'd like to end because we have to go with this idea that I always ask my students and I say, is it illegal or does it go against the laws of nature? If the answer is no to both, why are you not doing it?
[Ann 00:42:39] I love that. I absolutely love that. This book is incredible. I so enjoyed reading it. I read it like a like at the speed of a crime novel. It really just pulled me along. This book is for with specific lessons in mind. You describe in the introduction, 'In this book, you will learn to turn your business around to invent something new to get unstuck.' My personal favorite 'adopt habits and teach your brain to see things that others miss' I love that one. 'Make associations that you never thought about before and materialize your best ideas.' And I love that you not only give us the practices but you also address the fact that we might have moments of self-doubt and you hit that head on of howto have that conversation with yourself so that weI think if we've learned anything over the last two years, of this weird moment in time is that we need more voices, more ideas, more active participation in this world. And thank you, Maria, for giving us a way that we can contribute and bring out the best in ourselves. How can listeners connect with you, follow along with the book and all of your many projects and offerings that you're doing? What's the best way for them to connect.
[Maria 00:43:45] Thank you, Ann. Okay. So the book, as you said, is How Creativity Rules the world, and they can find it on Amazon or Rasa Noble or Target, Walmart anywhere where books are sold and make sure to engage your independent bookstores. If you ask for the book, they will have to go and get it for you. And my website is MariaBrito.com that's B R I T as in Tom O dot com and that are links and thumbnails and whatnot for my social media and a forum for email. If you want to get in touch with me and if you want to say hello, I'm on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
[Ann 00:44:21] Maria Brito, thank you so much for the conversation today. My mind is just on fire with ideas. Thank you for sharing this with all of us.
[Maria 00:44:28] Thank you, Ann. And thank you, everybody, for listening.
About my guest

Maria Brito

Maria is the ultimate example of Betting On Yourself, having left behind a successful legal career to pursue her passion – art. Now she is a Curator, a Collector and a Consultant to a long list of impressive names, from chart-topping singers to Fortune 500 companies.