Lin-Manuel Miranda Daydreams, and His Dad Gets Things Done | ReThinking with Adam Grant
In this episode of Re:Thinking with Adam Grant, Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of Broadway hits ‘Hamilton’ and ‘In the Heights’, and his father, Luis Miranda, a political strategist and activist, discuss the harmony between creativity and productivity, the rhythm between work and life, and the importance of taking risks.
The Role of a Supportive Parent
Luis Miranda closely follows his son’s creative process, finding it fascinating rather than mundane.
He notes that Lin-Manuel’s work always improves with each iteration and that there’s a clear rationale and path that he follows to arrive at the final product.
Everyone needs a posse around them who understands their experiences and their backgrounds. – Adam Grant
The Impact of Interest on Performance
Lin-Manuel Miranda excelled in subjects that interested him and struggled with those that didn’t during his student years.
This pattern is consistent with research showing that the most creative individuals often have ‘spikier’ grades, excelling in areas of interest and performing poorly in areas that don’t engage them.
The Importance of Deadlines
Deadlines play a crucial role in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s creative process.
He often works under pressure, writing crucial parts of his musicals on the day of workshops or readings.
This approach, while stressful, allows him to enter a state of intense focus where the rest of the world disappears, enabling him to produce his best work.
The Power of Community
Living in a Latino program house at Wesleyan University provided Lin-Manuel Miranda with a sense of belonging and allowed him to bring more of himself into his work.
This experience inspired him to write ‘In the Heights’, demonstrating the power of diverse and supportive communities in fostering creativity.
Art Reflecting Societal Changes
The evolution of ‘In the Heights’ from its Broadway debut to its film adaptation reflects the changing world, including the intensifying debate around immigration and the increasing gentrification in Washington Heights.
This highlights the importance of art in reflecting and responding to societal changes.
The Emotional Journey of Creation
Lin-Manuel Miranda discusses the challenges of carrying an entire show in his head before it’s brought to life on stage.
He describes this feeling as being ‘intellectually pregnant’ and shares the frustration of having to wait for the right time to bring the show to the audience.
The Influence of Parents’ Careers
Having psychologist parents had a significant impact on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s emotional intelligence.
He learned to name his feelings and understand his emotional responses.
This understanding and portrayal of complex emotions have greatly influenced his work.
I’ve always said what you said in the joking ways there’s there’s kids who do their homework on Friday night and there’s kids who do their homework on Monday morning and for the life of me I wish I were a Friday night kid I’m sure it would result in less stomach aches but that being said incubation is a really important part of the process. – Lin-Manuel Miranda
Resilience and Perseverance
Resilience and perseverance in the face of challenges are key themes in the podcast.
Both Lin-Manuel and Luis Miranda emphasize the importance of continuing to work on a project, even when it seems uncertain or not ready.
They highlight the importance of collaboration, understanding one’s role, and taking calculated risks in the creative process.