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079: Maria Brito – Passion, Empathy & An Intuition for Business

Maria Brito is an award-winning New York based contemporary art advisor, entrepreneur, author and curator. She was selected by Complex Magazine as one of the twenty power players in the art world and Art News says, ‘she’s one of the visionaries shaping that world.’ A Harvard graduate, originally from Venezuela, her first monograph “Out There” published by Pointed Leaf Press in 2013, was the recipient of the USA Best Book Awards in both the Art and Design Categories.

Today, Maria joins the show to discuss working with Diddy and Gweneth Paltrow, entrepreneurship, and common misconceptions about creativity.

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Key Takeaways

00:52 – Jonathan introduces today’s guest, Maria Brito, who joins the show to talk about how she transitioned from a Harvard-trained corporate lawyer to an art consultant

11:51 – From launching a small business to working with Diddy & Gweneth Paltrow

20:25 – Art consulting & Jumpstart Creativity

25:31 – The universal nature of creativity

30:51 – The Alchemy Lab, explained

35:57 – Common misconceptions about creativity

39:35 – One thing we can do to be more creative today and one thing to stop doing

44:50 – One thing that Maria would want people to know about her and the one question she would want to know the answer to

47:24 – Jonathan thanks Maria for joining the show and lets listeners know where to connect with her

Tweetable Quotes

“The way that I teach my children about money being born and raised in New York is a very different story from how I grew up. And, the motivations they have and the things that they see are encouraging and different. And that’s not how I grew up.” (04:07) (Maria)

“I believe in God. Say whatever you want. I believe that you get the confirmation when you are on the right path. And, I think part of it is beginner’s luck, honestly.” (13:01) (Maria)

“I didn’t have that sort of pressure for anything to happen, right? I was like, ‘Look, I just want to prove that I am very good at choosing art – that I’m very good because I’m on top of my game and I can give a lot of value in this service business.” (18:25) (Maria)

“It’s very hard to be creative and not be empathetic.” (32:03) (Maria)

“I think that creativity and attention and mindfulness are very intertwined. I do not know anybody who is really creative and successful who is not paying attention.” (41:48) (Maria)

Guest Resources

Maria’s LinkedIn

Maria’s Website

Maria’s X

Maria’s Instagram

Maria’s Facebook

Maria’s Pinterest

Maria’s Book

Link to Jumpstart Creativity

Mindful Money Resources

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Episode Transcription

Jonathan DeYoe: Hey there. Welcome back. On this episode of the Mindful Money Podcast, I’m chatting with Maria Brito. Maria Brito is an, uh, award winning New York based contemporary art advisor, entrepreneur, author, and curator. Brito was selected by Complex magazine as one of the 20 power players in the art world, and Art News says she is one of the visionaries shaping that world. A, uh, Harvard graduate originally from Venezuela, her first monograph out there, published by Pointed Leaf Press in 2013, was the recipient of the USA Best Book awards in both the art and design categories. And the reason she’s here today is because we’re going to talk about how creativity rules the world. It was published by Harper Collins Leadership and has won the Axiom Book Award and the International Book Award in the business and Entrepreneurship category, as well as being chosen by Next Big Idea Club as one of the best business and creativity books of the year. Maria, welcome to the Mindful Money podcast.

Maria Brito: Thank you, Jonathan. I love to hear the accolades.

Jonathan DeYoe: It’s always nice to hear how good you.

Maria Brito: I mean, I hope not to disappoint people after all that.

Jonathan DeYoe: I know. I, uh, know it’s always a risk. Where do you call home, and where are you connecting from today?

Maria Brito: So, I have been in New York City for 23 years, and I’m originally from Venezuela, which is sad, but home is New York, and I’m, um, in Manhattan. No other place in the world to be.

Jonathan DeYoe: So why is it sad that you’re originally from Venezuela?

Maria Brito: Well, no, I mean, I have been here longer, so I feel myself very. You know, Venezuela is a country that unfortunately fell into both social and economic disgraces, and it’s quite shameful. But that’s for another day, because I don’t think that our listeners want to, um, know about money and creativity today. So let’s do fun things. Thank you for having me, and thank you for listening.

Jonathan DeYoe: Oh, you bet. You bet. So I am curious, though, growing up in Venezuela, what were the kinds of lessons you learned about money or entrepreneurship as a kid?

Maria Brito: Well, listen, not as many, right? Because the financial literacy for kids like me, who were middle class, was almost nonexistent, right? I mean, it’s almost, like, clear that the country wasn’t necessarily having this culture of, uh, let’s teach children or look at entrepreneurs and how they do things. It was a very traditional environment where people needed to go to a classic school and end up in a university, following the path of being a doctor, an engineer, or whatever. I mean, owning companies was nothing that I ever wanted to do or think that I would do, right? I mean, when I was little, that was not my dream. I wanted to be, uh, a rock star. And seriously, that’s what I wanted to do. And I love this question because nobody has ever asked that question. And I think that it’s important for people to know that the way that I teach my children money, or the way that they see it being both of them born and raised in New York, is a very different story from how I grew up. And the motivations they have and the things that they see are encouraging and different. And that’s not how I grew up. I was given a credit card when I was 18 or 17, I think, and with a very little limit. My grandparents had given me some sort of savings account when I was very young. But because, of course, the currency devaluated every day, I mean, it didn’t really matter, right? It was like a cent. So that type of thing. Americans sometimes don’t know how lucky they are, or we all are in a way that there is compound interest, that you can work in many different ways with your money, that you have access to markets, that you have 401, or that you have IRA accounts. All those things do not exist in, unfortunately, the third world. And it’s one of the reasons why also, there are so many inequalities, because if you have to constantly be hedging yourself against the currency exchange and inflation and hyperinflation and things like that, you can never fully grasp the value of. Yep.

Jonathan DeYoe: Um, so I want to jump into it. So how does a Harvard trained corporate lawyer become an arts consultant?

Maria Brito: So, when I left Venezuela, uh, that was my path out, which was great. And my parents, obviously, as I said, were concerned about what the future would be, and they had no other kind of training in their heads, that the way to do good things for oneself was to go to law school or to go to medical school and things like that. And so I thought that was kind of my insurance policy because I personally didn’t want to be in Venezuela, uh, and that was, as I’m telling you, so many years ago in the late 90s, but it was already turning into a communist, socialist, whatever it is. And I wasn’t happy there in the sense that, yes, I was well adjusted young person who had friends and go to parties and things like that, but I just didn’t see myself long term thriving and being independent because the system wasn’t made for that.

Jonathan DeYoe: Right?

Maria Brito: So as I told you, I wanted to be a rock star. So then my parents said, no, I couldn’t, right. So then my option B was to be an attorney.

Jonathan DeYoe: That’s kind of a let down, isn’t it?

Maria Brito: I’m a very radical person. So it was a very radical thing because I was like, they are not going to let me go to art school either, because it’s already, like, they would think that was not going to be the insurance policy. So while they didn’t have this kind of, like, let’s learn about money, they just didn’t have that type of chip in their heads. They did have this idea that you have to provide for yourself at some point. You have to take care of a family at some point. You have to be independent. And the only way for you to do that is to have this very serious, dependable career. So that was the serious, dependable career that I chose. And, I mean, like, there wasn’t anything better that I have a law school, honestly, for a girl from Venezuela. And those were very magical years for me. And I wholeheartedly thought that I was going to be an attorney because, first of all, it’s very different to be in a class talking about policy and constitutional law and whatever than being in a law firm with stupid documents until three in the morning. Right. It’s a very different thing. So I wholeheartedly believe that. And second, once you sort of get into the New York state of mind of making money, and everybody here really works very hard, or used to, but let’s say they still do, and that you get into this kind of, like, I can pay my rent in a nice one bedroom apartment in a very nice neighborhood, and I can go out and I can go to restaurants and I can buy little things of art for me. So you get into all that because law firms own you, and because they own you, they pay you very well. Then it takes time to sort of unwind that programming or that type of lifestyle, if you will, and for the longest time, I had to figure out what to do with my life because I think it was probably five or six years in, uh, and I was like, this is horrible. I just can’t do this. And I was like, literally put, uh, all my options out there. What can I do? Should I go back to school? If it’s like, no, I’m not going to spend $50,000 getting a master’s or something? It’s crazy, right? Because that’s the cost of education here, right? Or whatever it was. I don’t know, 25, 30, I don’t know. Should I try to work in a company doing something else? Well, maybe, perhaps. But then what really am I going to do in a company if I’m going to have to end up in the same type of, besides, I was doing work with banks, and you get a very pigeonholed once you’ve done something for a long time. So I said, what am I going to do? I’m going to go and work for doing what? Morgan Stanley or whatever. There was nothing really that I could figure out that worked for me. And since I had been buying art for me in little increments, and I had gotten married, and then my husband and I were buying things, and that was a world that I profoundly loved and intrigued me because it was also all this thing of money. At that time, it was very mysterious. Now it’s sort of very open, but at the time it was very secluded and very hermetic, so you didn’t really know who owned what happened. So I bought this book that was written by an economist. It’s about all the things that happen in the art world behind the scenes, like the guarantees that happen at auction houses, the big art collectors, all this sort of money machinery behind it. And I understood it really well because I was a corporate attorney. So it’s not that I was like, oh, you know, what’s this? And at the same time, I had been advising informally some friends about what art to buy, because they came to my house, always say, I love your art. I love your taste. You have such a good taste. Why don’t you do something with that? Or work in fashion, things like that? So I consider all these options, and at some point I was like, I’m in a dead end, basically, because I have worked many years of my life. At that time, I think it was eight, and I was pregnant with my first child, and I was just between the heart and the rock place of not knowing what to do, really. And I said, you know what? I’m going to open my own business because people who do what I now do, at that time that I saw them, I was like, those people are not smarter than I am. My motivation was like, I’m better. I’m really much better than them. And I love art and I love people, and I’m going to make this work out because there’s no plan b. If it doesn’t work out, I don’t know what am I going to do?

Jonathan DeYoe: The thing that’s striking to me, you did have the advantage of an excellent education. You are a very smart person. But growing up with no exposure to the capitalist system, no real exposure to small business starts and then going to a corporate gig, isn’t that a huge leap just for listeners? It’s like, anyone really can start a business. You really can start a business. And it really is something that can go well, it can go poorly, but so how did you make the leap and how was it in the beginning?

Maria Brito: I think that the leap was, as I’m telling you, it was just like, by elimination, nothing would work for me at, uh, that time. And I went and, like I told you, oh, my God, should I go back to school? No, I’m not spending that kind of money. And actually, I even went to an info session and I was there and I looked around and I was like, I could fucking do this. Like, I could be the teacher. You know what I mean? I was like, no.

Jonathan DeYoe: How do you end up so go from there. How do you end up working with Diddy, Gwyneth Paltrow? Like, how does that happen?

Maria Brito: Because I think that’s like, I think know.

Jonathan DeYoe: I don’t know. No one knows. That’s impressive.

Maria Brito: I believe in God, but just say whatever you want. I believe that you get the confirmation when you are in the right path. And I think part of it is beginners luck. Honestly and honestly, it’s because I didn’t create no preconceptions. I had no issues whatsoever doing crazy things or things that right now I wouldn’t really even do, to be honest. Like, uh, I would go and shake hands with the top collectors. And there was a time of, like, it was hard to find photos of these people because there was no instagram. The information was very buried. We’re talking about 14 years ago, right? So I had no fear to go and talk to those people. I had no fear showing up to this openings and talking to the owner. And meanwhile, there were people looking at me with her because why is she talking to the owner of this gallery? Doesn’t she know he’s like an ogre or like, he, you know? So I think that, uh, kind of bravado that I had because of starting something new and not having any sort of background picture running the kind of narrative was very helpful to me. And because of that, my elevator pitch, my introduction to people, was not only very honest and authentic, but it was very enthusiastic. So people really responded to that. And both introduction to Gwyneth was through. And this is very interesting, too, because people feel that I was connected. You know how it is, right? Like, everybody’s like, oh, my God, she has an upper hand. She’s connected. She’s white. She’s this. None of that shit. I met someone who knew Gwyneth in New York City after I had left my corporate job by literally going to some event. And when, uh, that person heard what I did and my take on contemporary art and living with art and being passionate about it and collecting and whatnot, she’s like, you need to meet Wyneth. She loves very strong people like you. She loves to. And at that time, yes, Wyneth was already very famous. But the thing that Wyneth had turned her attention to was goop. So at that time, it was a newsletter that she sent on Thursdays from her kitchen in London. And it wasn’t a multi million dollar company like it is right now. So she wanted both to support new people, to launch them, because she always had this sort of, like, insider information of cool things. And she also wanted content. So I actually went crazy and, like, literally prepare all this packaging and things. After I met her, I told my friend, could you please give me Gwyneth’s address? I’m not going to stop her. I’m going to send her something. So I sent her a package, and I sent her all the articles that I had written, which is like, that I didn’t have anything as capital to show her that I was worth being there. It’s like everything connected. Someone from a women’s organization had asked me to contribute an article for forbes.com. So I had written an article for forbes.com about collecting art. And it was very basic, so I printed some nothing of my company. I had nothing. And I asked a friend who had a company that sell photography to give me a photo for free on a frame. And I sent that to her with a, uh, bow. And nothing happened for three months. And then three months later, she called me. She’s like, thank you. I got the package. I got the article. I haven’t been in New York in three months. I want to do something with you for Coop. So that’s how I started working with her and with pop daddy. It was very interesting because it was a similar story. We had a common friend. And, uh, this is the thing again. It’s not that I was connected or not connected or that my parents or that I’m this or that. It’s that you end up meeting people when you are running on the streets of New York going for. I would literally go to every open. I don’t do that anymore. Like, every opening. I was there. I was there. I was there, I was there, I was there. And then I forged this relationship with a woman whose husband is in the music industry on the back of things in the music industry. And I love her. She’s wonderful. And she kept looking at me on Facebook and Twitter because that’s what it existed, and she kept in touch. And that was a time where you could really keep in touch with people, honestly, like, I’m overwhelmed. I can’t keep in touch with anybody. But I kept in touch with her. And then one day, she’s like, look, I have someone to introduce to you. And I was like, who? Oh, my God. It’s like he’s known my husband forever, and they’ve worked together, and it’s pop daddy. And I was like, oh, great. I have been a lawyer for so long. And it’s like, yes, but it’s not that I run on the streets, like, pulling my ears, uh, out. I was like, yeah, amazing. But I wasn’t like the fan girl. I was like, okay, great. When it happens. Then after that, I really was shocked. But it was that. But I didn’t have this sort of pressure on anything to happen, right? I was like, look, I just want to prove that I am very good at choosing art, that I’m very good because I’m on top of my game, that I can give a lot of value. That is a service business. Ultimately, there is a transaction of a good, of an asset. And so the truth to all of this is that I had passion, I had a hustle, I had an intuition for things, all the type of things that it doesn’t matter if you go to the best mba in the world or if you go to Harvard law. They don’t teach you that shit there. You have to make that happen. And it’s a very good question. What you said. Up until the time I left Venezuela, uh, there was sort of like a system of capitalism. Remember, that was an oil economy for a long time, but it was nothing compared to the United States. I mean, like, people who would own businesses. I mean, you either had them, like people who had the conglomerates, or then it was the guy who owned the bakery. You know what I mean? It wasn’t like you could never find a woman like me.

Jonathan DeYoe: Right?

Maria Brito: It just wasn’t, that wasn’t the thing.

Jonathan DeYoe: There’s sort of two things that pop out of this whole, the arc for me. One is you have to be willing to be lucky. You have to put in the effort, you got to put in the time, and then you get lucky. That’s just kind of, and the challenge is it’s luck. You can’t create it. It just happens. You have to kind of wait for it and keep powering through. And the second thing is, and I love you said this earlier, I don’t remember the quote exactly, but it’s success comes from stumbling from failure to failure to failure without losing enthusiasm. Like you said, you’re very enthusiastic all the time, so that’s a huge part of it.

Maria Brito: Yeah. And that people can read that for miles.

Jonathan DeYoe: Right. You can’t learn it. You just got to keep doing it. You got to keep going. Going. At what point does arts consulting, which seems kind of institutional, turn into creativity consulting, which seems very individual like, how do you make that transition?

Maria Brito: Well, I haven’t transitioned from art consulting because I still do that. Right. And that’s the thing. Uh, I’m like, I do so many things that people don’t know what I do, but people do. And that’s like a very interesting legacy from this kind of pigeonholing thing that we talked about. Like, you do one thing and then that’s the thing, which I was like, if I already was in the world of doing one thing, I’m going to come out big time and I’m going to do a lot of different things. And that was always part of having sort of like a very multiangular brand for myself. Right. I did product collaborations with artists. I did, uh, design around art with certain clients. I wrote books, and I did all this consulting on creative thinking and creativity that, ah, I still do. But the backbone of everything is really the advisory business, because it’s a business that is extremely active. It’s big, and it really, by volume of the transactions and the clients that I have been able to help throughout all these years is a very important part of my business, the most important part of my business. But when I realized the vast amount of experience and information that I had gathered throughout the, I guess so the whole thing started in the year that I was celebrating the 10th year anniversary of my business. That was like, four years ago. And I was reviewing all the data, I was reviewing all the interviews that I did with artists, I was reviewing all the collaborations I did, the things that I learned about manufacturing, which is crazy that I also went into that. The lessons that I learned from my clients, Didi and Gwyneth and everybody, like all the, I work with ceos of Fortune 500 companies. I was sort of, like, reflecting, and I said to myself, what is the next thing that I can do? Also, because I get bored myself, and I need to do things not to create chaos, like Elon Musk, whom I love as an entrepreneur, but this kind of guy who creates chaos to feel alive. I don’t need to create chaos to feel alive. I just really need to stimulate myself learning things all the time. So I said, what can I do now? And I thought, well, maybe I can teach people what I have learned, and I can create an online methodology and an online course.

Jonathan DeYoe: This is Jumpstart.

Maria Brito: This is jumpstart, jumpstart, which I love. And that really caught my attention. And it was like that idea that I couldn’t really put asleep, and I developed this labos, this kind of curriculum for that, and had my videographer, and it was long because it’s like a complete program on creative thinking. So I just was very excited about it, and I launched it, and it did really well. And then the people who were in that course, who were everything from lawyers to artists, would just really come back and say, I had the most incredible experience after I applied everything that you taught us to this and that. Right? Which is not magic. It’s just being first. It’s being generous with information and not just sort of like this gatekeeper and just giving trickles of nothing. It was just me being very honest with everything and thorough and then doing it right. One thing is you get everything and do not do anything with it, or people who do take the biggest steps and actions. And that was so fulfilling and so fun. And then the pandemic hits us in 2020, and I continue opening the course. But then I had the idea that the course could be a book so that we could reach more people with it. And while the book and the course are different in many aspects, they are also very similar in some others. I mean, people learn in different ways. So that’s sort of like, to me, everything is the same. Honestly. It’s like, oh, if I didn’t have the experience, then I wouldn’t have been able to put this together and this creative thinking and entrepreneurship and artistry and not artistry. To me, I see that everything is a different piece of the same puzzle. That is how I see things and how I approach my clients, my practice, my writing. And that’s kind of it.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, it seems strange, but I’m sure there’s a way to describe this, that you can teach creativity for painting and creativity for writing, and creativity for sculpture, and creativity for business innovation. And all these people can go through this course that are having different career paths and get the same kind of benefit out of it. So what is it about creativity that it makes it universally applicable?

Maria Brito: Well, I think that the concept of creativity, a lot of people immediately consider it, like painting or whatever, dancing, sculpting. Right. And the idea that I transmit with all the things that I do is that, uh, creativity is this kind of amalgamation of skills and attitudes for people to come up with the best ideas that they can and that they can execute those ideas, right? And even, like, children have ideas, you and I have ideas. So ideas are universal. They don’t belong to painters or dancers or rock stars alone. They belong to everybody. So I think it’s the universal application of creative thinking. And creativity, actually, as something that is actively happening, is applicable to anybody who wants to come up with better ideas and better businesses and better systems and better processes. And anything that you can improve that comes first from thinking and then from doing it. So, obviously, the two most important sources of inspiration for me are entrepreneurs and artists, because they think really similarly. And there is a professor from Stanford, I think I forgot his name. He’s a big venture capitalist, and he also has this same. I discovered that he had the same line of thinking after I had published my book, that he feels that entrepreneurs and artists have the same type of mindset, because they all start with a blank canvas, and then they have to figure out how to get to the masterpiece or how to get to the business plan or the execution of the business. And so the way that I try to communicate this to the world at large is by juxtaposing two groups of people that in the mind of, uh, the layman, couldn’t be more different, right? It’s like Steve Jobs and Leonardo da Vinci. They could be interchangeable in my mind, right. In my world, I see them as the same guy just 600 years apart. Right, or 400. But to other people, it’s like a sacrilegious thought, even that. How are you going to compare Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs? How are you going to compare Michelangelo and Elon Musk? Uh, and the truth is, uh, the ways of thinking are very similar, but important leaders that can be creative have the same kind of evolution in their thoughts, the same characteristics in their personalities, in the way that they run their businesses and careers. And it’s not exclusive of anybody. When people say, I’m not creative, you know, that’s a big lie, because, again, creativity is not one thing. It’s an amalgamation of different skills.

Jonathan DeYoe: In the summary, just to wrap that, it sounds like creativity is the production and execution of ideas. That’s it. It’s like in any aspect of life. Production, execution of ideas.

Maria Brito: Sure, I agree with you. A lot of different scholars have created all these barriers, right? Like creativity with big c and creativity with the small c. And when you’re in the world of academia, sometimes you tend to just veer towards the kind of separations and categorizations of things, which are great when you are in the classroom, but they are not necessarily that helpful in real life.

Jonathan DeYoe: I love the idea that academics segment things and artists bring them together.

Maria Brito: Yeah. In a way, that’s a very good way of showing the reality of life. And the concept of creativity that you just said is an ample, um, one. And it’s one where everybody can participate. Right. But again, it’s like when you dissect it, what is a creative person? A creative person is someone who’s curious, a person who is open, a person who is empathetic, a person who is willing to think outside of the limits of what exists, a person who is persistent. So it’s not just, oh, he is creative. And what does that really mean? So when you go and you dig into the concept, if I ask anybody will, can you be curious? Can you go the extra mile and research more? Can you question the rules that you were given in that book? Then they say, yes. Oh, of course I can. So then I say, well, so then you two are able to be a creative human being. In fact, you already are, because when you were a child, nobody could take you out of creating whatever you wanted to do with sand and dirt and mice, and, I don’t know, whatever it is you find to play with. But then as you grow older, you start learning all the reasons why you shouldn’t or couldn’t do that, which don’t necessarily mean anything. They don’t.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah. One of the things I like about the book was that the, uh, end of every chapter, you had this section called the Alchemy lab, and it sort of makes it accessible brings the ability to be creative to the reader. So, can you just tell us the purpose and describe maybe a few of those labs for us?

Maria Brito: Sure. The alchemy lab came out of basically the same way I structured jumpstart. The online course is like the series of exercises for people to take after each session and think through the material. So it’s not just read and philosophize about these things. It’s more like, well, here is a guideline. You can take it or leave it, but the truth is, the people who get the best results at everything are the people who try and test these things for themselves. So it’s bringing alive what you just read before. And, for example, it’s an interesting take on developing more empathy, which is a concept that I don’t think people get anymore, to be honest with you. Sadly, not the hatred on social media and the extremes of everything. So what I say is, it’s very hard to be empathetic and to be creative and not be empathetic, because when you are creative, you’re trying to. In a business, for example, you’re trying to sell something to a customer, or you are trying to make money, right? That’s a business. And to do that, you have to appeal to other people. And so to do that, you have to understand them, too, in a way, right? You cannot become them, but you have to understand them and appeal to them. And the best way to develop your empathy is to get out of your comfort zone, in the sense of, well, if I read this newspaper every day because it’s my favorite thing, and also it’s confirmation bias, because it backs up what I think, then I might as well just try a little bit of the other side so I don’t get entangled in this thing that continues to support and facilitate the loop that I already have created. And whomever says I’m m not biased is lying, because we are bombarded with information, and the algorithm feeds us what we want to see, no matter whether you’re X.com or you’re on Instagram or, you know, I mean, it’s like you figure out a way to not live with the algorithm, it’s fine. But in one way or the other, we’re all, uh, in this matrix that’s been run by big media, small media, social media, and so on and so forth. So if you live by this, then try that. If you only watch crime television, try to go and watch a documentary about animals. And this is important because knowledge that grows in leaps and bounds is the knowledge that accepts also those different points of views, you know, that the growth of knowledge and also the way that we work now and neuroscientists work with the brain is that the brain is malleable. It’s not like, oh, you are this. No, it’s like, we do have neuroplasticity for a reason. You can change, you can create. That’s why so many times we found those people who are like 400 pounds and they are, because I’m addicted to food and whatever. But then they really figure out all these new habits, all these new ways, and they keep doing it and they keep doing it. And they don’t need to go to the gastric bypass because they learn new things. And that’s a new identity that they assume. So that is the same for the empathy or the curiosity or even creative thinking as a whole once you have integrated these things in your life. So, yeah, I do encourage people, for example, in the book, that if they have been doing the same thing with the consumption of information for a long time, that they get themselves out of it. And I know that this is hard, and I know that it might not be very welcome, but I am sure your Audience is very smart and I am sure they are considering it.

Jonathan DeYoe: Totally welcome. I mean, I say this in my blogs constantly. It’s, uh, read from lots of sources. Don’t just read the same thing all the time. I loved what you just said, and I want to just point this out. I think business, especially big business in the United States, kind of gets a bad rap. But I love the fact that in order to be successful, a business that does not have empathy fails. A business that does not serve some consumer fails. The only successful businesses are those that actually serve people. And I love that. That is something that I think most people miss entirely. And they just go on this tangent of disgust or hatred towards businesses.

Maria Brito: Love it. No, we need businesses, totally. We do need businesses of all sizes. Big businesses feed the small ones, and we can go on and on and on and on.

Jonathan DeYoe: What is the biggest misconception that you hear about creativity in general?

Maria Brito: Well, I think it’s what I told you before, like, I’m, um, not creative because I wasn’t born with the gene of painting, which is funny, or kind of like, oh, only painters are creative according to this person. Or like, oh, my God, no, don’t ask me that because I’m not a creative person. And I say, well, what would happen if you are in your house and then there is a blackout and you have the fridge full of food right. Or something like that. I mean, oh, well, I will go on the street like crazy and buy a big box and fill it with ice and then, I don’t know, cold and whatever and dry eyes and, uh, my sister in the next. But you’re very creative because you just came up with, like, seven different things that would help the food not go bad if there is a blackout. Because that’s the thing. It’s like, that is being creative. It might not be sending rockets to outer space, but it means that you do have very good ideas. And sometimes what people need is to have. It’s very important to ask the right questions. Right. Because, uh, that will help you get to the right answer, which is what most people sometimes are. So I guess stuck in this idea of, like, I can’t come up with the different ideas of what to do. And I think probably it’s because you’re not answering the right question. And how do you get the right question is by peeling layers.

Jonathan DeYoe: Since you’ve been doing this for so long, do you think you’re more creative today than you were when you started? Is it a muscle that strengthens when you use it?

Maria Brito: It does. I think I am, uh, very creative, much more than when I started what I think. Unfortunately, I’m busier. And so I don’t have a lot of downtime to sort of. I mean, I do this. I meditate every day, and I sit in silence for at least 20 minutes a day, for sure. But I used to have bigger pockets of thinking. And now, because my business is busy and clients and things, and there is more and more, the art market grew a lot and a lot. And it’s just a, um, very big business busy for me. I can’t sort of deviate from that to think if, well, what could I do? What I do think that’s very helpful for me is that because of everything that I have learned, I do have a lot of resources in my head of solutions to problems, to day to day issues that I face that are helping me always sort of move forward. Right. And I think that that is, uh, an example of this big c, a small c type of thing. Like, I’m not necessarily right now thinking about what is the next launch? What is the next project, what is the next book. I’m more sort of like, who’s the person who’s buying this $1 million painting? Right. I’m thinking in the back of my mind, solutions to problems like that, for example, which are also creative in the way that the solutions that come up to my head might not necessarily be the most obvious ones, because then that’s not creative.

Jonathan DeYoe: So I ask every single guest to simplify their message for us, and so pretend for a second, uh, that you’re talking to somebody, they may have read the book, and they want sort of a cliff notes version, and they’re know, ria, what is one thing that I can do today that would help me be more creative tomorrow? And then what is one thing that I should stop doing today that will help me be more creative tomorrow?

Maria Brito: I think the first thing that I would say is, pay close attention to everything you’re doing today. Because of the amount of distractions that we are facing daily, people have lost the ability to pay attention. M and usually when you pay attention, you find a whole lot of information and a ton of important data that people are missing because they are on the phones, on social media, they are listening to a podcast at the same time that they are cooking, and the dog is on the back and the kids are running. So you’re literally paying attention to all these things at the same time. So I, uh, would invite people to be in the moment, and it could be a combination of mindfulness with also removing distractions, which is the thing that I feel that people get. The most detrimental thing that has happened to this society of ours is that our attentions have gone to nothing. I mean, people’s. It’s just like the tension span is nothing, right? It’s seconds, even, sometimes happens that I’m with this very intellectual friends, and they’re like, I don’t know what’s going on with me, but I cannot read more than ten pages at once. I have to stop, and then I have to check Instagram and act, because it’s addictive, right? I mean, these are loops that we have created in our brains that, uh, release dopamine, and for some people, it’s just refreshing the news, right? And seeing what horrors are happening. And for other people is refreshing the Instagram feed, and for other people is the x feed, and for other people. And so I think that creativity and attention and mindfulness are very intertwined. Stip dobs was a very huge meditator, and his thing was Zen meditation. Yes. A lot of people can be very creative and not necessarily be in silence, but I do not know anybody who’s really creative and successful, who’s not paying attention. Even if they have ADHD or whatever they say they have, which is fine, they still are paying attention to society. They are paying attention to their surroundings. They are, uh, paying attention. What are the kids doing? A lot of people dismissed TikTok and whatever, and if they would have jumped on what their kids were doing, they could have built audiences or invested in the company, whatever it is. And they were like, ah, this myth. It’s just like the amount of things that, understandably so. The amount of overwhelming stimulation around humans is very concerning. Yeah, it’s staggering. But also, people are like, leave me alone. And when you do that, then you miss excellent opportunities to make money. I have a friend who always pays attention to everything, and he’s very good at that. And so one day he came to me and said, that was like, maybe, I don’t know, nine years ago or whatever. He came to me and said, listen, I’ve been going to this gym, and I’m seeing all these girls that are wearing this leggings, and they have a horseshoe on the back. And I was like, horseshoe? What kind of horseshoe? And so he’s like, well, a, like, uh, I said, that’s an omega symbol, you dude. And he’s like, oh, yeah, that. And he’s like, what is that? And it’s like, well, that’s a company called Lululemon. Oh, my God. So he went, he bought stock, and then, uh, a year later, literally, he made like $500,000. You know what I mean? It’s like you’re going to tell that’s not being creative. I think it is, because he figured out if everybody at the gym is wearing that, this might as well be an excellent opportunity to get into something that he had never seen before. He’s like, I notice it every day, more and more. What is it? For most people, this is just noise. Uh, right. It’s visual noise. It’s like you develop blind spots when you drive to your office, uh, every day or whatever, and you take the same route. It’s almost like you’re an autopilot. You don’t need to pay attention to mall. I mean, you pay attention to the road, right? Like you’re a safe driver, but you’re not really looking to what’s happening in the periphery. And having peripheral vision is one of the most important things people can develop for their businesses if they really want to pay attention to opportunities.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yes. Fantastic.

Maria Brito: It was about 10 seconds, and I just went on to, like, 2 hours.

Jonathan DeYoe: That’s good. So before we wrap up, I just want to know, is there anything that people don’t know about you or that maybe you’ve told them and they don’t remember that you really want them to know about you?

Maria Brito: No, I think that we have covered a lot. I think that I. I mean, I have many facets, and so it’s like, I love that you asked me if I had left behind my art advisory. No, I’m still advising and people building art collections. I love it. It’s my job. But I also love this creative thinking path that I have in parallel. And I think it’s important for me. It’s like, I see the business has different divisions, and it has different things to offer, and they are all connected through both entrepreneurship and art.

Jonathan DeYoe: So if you could get the truth about one question about your life or future, I can’t give you the answer, but what would be the question?

Maria Brito: I don’t want to know.

Jonathan DeYoe: Uh uh. That’s a slippery answer.

Maria Brito: I don’t want to know. I think that it will take the excitement and it’ll take the hustle. I don’t know. I read this interesting passage of this guy. He was very rich, or it’s mythology. Uh, he was very rich or something, and he had this direct line with God and whatnot. And he’s like, you know, I’m sick, and I just really don’t want to die. So then somebody came in, and another guy who also had a direct line to God or whatever said, look, what are you doing here? Are you coming to tell me that I’m going to get well? And he’s like, no, I came to tell you you’re going to die. So the guy was like, oh, my God. Fuck, you know? I mean, how come? So the guy left, and he was like, God, please give me 15 more years to live. And so God said, okay. And the other guy came back and said, God, tell me. Okay, you can live 15 years more. So, basically, this guy wanted to know everything that was happening to him or what will happen to him, and then 15 years later, he died. So bottom line of the story is, I don’t want to know. I don’t want to know. It’s like, the truth is, I have been surprised myself by my life so many times, and I think in a good way. And I think it’s a great adventure to be building things for my legacy, whatever that is, and, uh, to be raising my children and doing great things for others. And I don’t want to know.

Jonathan DeYoe: Yeah, there’s value in the surprise. So tell people how they can connect with you.

Maria Brito: Well, my website is mariabrida.com. That’s just B-R-I-T as in tom o. And that, huh. Has links to all my social media profiles and LinkedIn and all that, and also has a form to fill out if anybody wants to talk to me directly. And that’s where I am. And it’s a link to the book, links to everything. I think that’s the easiest path for anybody.

Jonathan DeYoe: All right, maria, thanks so much for coming on. All that stuff will be in the show notes. I really appreciate your time.

Maria Brito: Thank you, jonathan. That was wonderful.

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