This week I had the pleasure to interview Zain Al Rawi. He is a 25 year old student that lives in a Dutch city called Delft. Being as creative as he is, in the past he used to make videos and really enjoyed doing so. Now he studies Communication in the Hague, has worked as a DJ, and he went back to what he loves and started his own video making company with a friend when he was 19 years old.
The company is called ‘creativebros’. He talks about how they both could have done something else, have a career in which they are good at, however they decided to pursue what they love. Their art. Zain figured out that pursuing this passion could work and it could allow him to live of it. This let him to set a whole new goal in life. Since five years he has not worked another job. He talks about how the road is not always easy, but in the end it is worth doing what you love.
INSIGHTS FROM THE INTERVIEW
‘Do it for a name or portfolio’
At first Zain worked as a DJ, but that did not give him the fulfilment to continue doing so. He made the brave decision to let that go and pursue something else with his friend. They knew the music industry a bit because they both used to work as DJ’s. So they started to connect with artists and make music videos for free. At one point the connections with these artists let them to be assigned to capture entire events. And this time they got payed.
Zain did all this while still going to the Hague University and study. Doing it for free allows you the freedom to fail and get back up, to experiment, and to network. You have low risks and even though you do not earn much for a video, you gain a lot of knowledge and experience from it, and it allows you to build a portfolio.
‘I never look at it as a struggle’
The challenge of doing it yourself is very appealing to Zain. He enjoys everything about it, also the downsides. When facing adversities and overcoming them, it gives a feeling of being proud of yourself. It is a moment in which we can build our character and be persistent. It shows us to ourselves how much we really want it and what we are capable of.
‘That feeling of magic, it stayed with me, and it always drove me to make
something like that’
Every medium has its pros and cons. Zain talks about being fascinated with how stories can be shared and how it is experienced very differently through books, videos, and video games. In the latter you have a certain amount of control of what the character is going to do. In books, we tend to dive in and lose track of time. In videos we can be struck with awe, and it is this ‘awe’ that Zain finds magical. When all the sounds, effects, visual stimuli are combined perfectly that it is magical.
Zain was really moved by this magical moments in film that he felt that he wanted to create magic of his own. He started doing that with music, however, it did not give him the fulfilment that he was looking for. Switching to making videos has not been a wrong choice for him. He grows and develops himself to create this magical feeling for others. The further he comes on this journey the more he tries to combine all the elements of film making in order to be able to create this magical feeling.
‘It never really felt like a job’
His best friend with whom he started his company with, has the same drive and ambition as Zain has. They always challenge each other and motivate each other. This gives them motivation, power, and a drive to continue and listen to each other so they can keep developing themselves. They live together and work together and Zain gives his friend a lot of credit for his own skills.
Zain talks that he has put a lot of hours into his work and that he sometimes got fatigued as well. However, he mentions that if he had to do anything else, put the same amount of hours with the same amount of effort and the same amount of energy, he would have been burned out. Because he loves so much what he does and he does it with his friend, because they help each other, it never felt like a job but like a hobby becoming something he could earn money from.
I believe Zain describes two very insightful lessons here. The first one being that it is so important to figure out what it is that we truly want to do. This can give us so much energy and such a sense of fulfilment. Now the second insight regards the subject I spoke last week about. How the people you hang out with can influence you. Zain and his friend have influenced each other in such a way that they motivate one and other to continue to improve their craft and their business.
Zain challenges his friend to try new things and his friend challenges Zain to be more systematic and organized. They lean towards each other and have found a great combination to enhance each other’s strengths.
‘It all comes down to do what you love to do’
If you think you have a shot at something you love doing, if you enjoy doing it, if you can do it, then why not start doing it? It really matters in the long run that you love what you are doing. Zain talks about how he has met people that are high up in their work fields, but are really tiring themselves and running out of fuel. They are really ambitious but don’t like what they do.
You have to keep in mind that you are going towards a place that you really like to be in or like to do. Otherwise you cannot sustain in life or enjoy it. Money is not everything, social status is not everything, your position in the hierarchy is not everything. Eventually if you can enjoy what you are doing you can excel at it. You will feel that you have worked, but you won’t be exhausted.
Ask yourself if you are enjoying your current position, your current place in life. Ask yourself what could it be and do I need to do to get to a place where I can enjoy what I am doing. The road is not easy, but it is worth it. It all comes down to do what you love to do.
If you would like to share your story and/or insights, or if you know someone who would want to, please let me know! You can send me a message or an e-mail. More contact information can be found here. Let’s grow together.