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Be Your Own Guru with Gautam Narang

Updated: Feb 28, 2022

We sat down with Gautam (Visual Smugglers CEO) and talked about authenticity

What 4 tips would you give to your young self?

Don’t only focus on your art, learn about other aspects of your craft.

I see it all the time, you got to work on the business side as much as your craft.

It’s not what you do when you’re busy, it’s what you do when you’re not busy. To me, when you’re not on a gig is just as important. When you're not working practising on your craft. How are you using your free time? Use it wisely.

Get used to saying No. You give your time, energy and end up spending your own money, so make sure your investment is really pushing you in the direction of your goal.

As artists, we tend to trust others and their vision, but if they can’t show you a process and only talk about vision. That’s a red flag. The first thing I do when working with a new client is to find their intention and goals. If you don’t do this, it can end up freestyle and you end up wasting your time.

What are 3 things you to do help develop who you are?

Self Reflection - The world will tell you what is wrong with you, but you got to block that noise. You have to not only be a critic but also objective.

You are your own guru. Only you know what you need to do. So it’s important to expand your mind and go down the rabbit hole. Books and Ted talks, help me understand my own behaviour and then take appropriate actions.

Knowledge - Knowledge is power, they can take away everything from you, but they can’t take away your knowledge. Everyday I push myself to learn a little more. If you don’t know, you don’t know what to look out for. Also, on the other hand, I’ve also found the more I learn, the more I learn I know nothing.

Trial and error - It’s true, success comes through failure. You got to keep experimenting. When you're a kid. To walk, you fall down 1,00s of times and then you finally walk. That’s like life. I think we all overcomplicate things.

What are your thoughts on social media?

It’s a double edged sword. It’s definitely affected our behaviour.

The great thing is, I’ve seen it change. It wasn’t really a problem when I first got exposed to it.

Instagram used to just be art photography and I remember not spending much time on it. When it was opened to the masses and stories was introduced. It became really addictive.

If we are what we eat, we are also what we consume. So now, I just end up following paintings and illustrations. I was noticing too much noise and don’t want to be bombarded by others. So I try and keep my feed evergreen and thus follow mainly painting accounts, photography and other agencies.

We need to disconnect from machines. There is something so great about going to a music store and having an album catch your attention. It’s the magic, digital can’t bring that. I feel one day, my goal is to be off the grid.

"If you had to summarize this whole interview in one sentence, what would be the main takeaway?”

Be self-aware, is important for growth and you got to be your own delegator, critics, cheerleader and objective. Nobody is going to help you but yourself, so go on a journey and discover who you are. Go down the rabbit whole.

Less talk more visuals

Visual Smugglers is a boutique agency that is focused on helping brands connect with new customers on social media. This blog is about the minds that inspire us and teach us to banish the fears that stop us from being more authentic and growing to our fullest potential. This is the code we live by...










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