Today we’d like to introduce you to Chris Cirak.
Chris, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
The best stories are the unintended ones. A story that unfolds exactly as planned – if it ever does – strikes me as incredible boring, dry and void of any serendipity or magical “meant to be” moments. Who would want to go through life like that? When others look at where I am today, they might easily surmise that it’s come as a result of careful planning, hard work and maybe a good dose of luck. Not too long ago, I might have agreed with that, especially the luck part. I can recount precisely each of the lucky breaks that closed one chapter and opened the next and the 5 or so years of trying between each of them.
Today, however, I reflect differently on this mind-generated concept of “the past” that we cling to to keep our identities intact. I see not the fruits of will and determination but moments of getting out of the way of life happening organically, so to speak. Moments where a letting go gave way to something new, usually after a long period of struggle, of trying hard to apparent no avail. Does that mean hard work is and always will be a necessary ingredient of success? Maybe. Though not in the popular sense of reaching one’s goals by virtue of it. Only if it leads to a moment of surrender, because you’ve tried everything there is to try. Only if it leads to giving up and giving in. It’s those moments that put my life on its tracks.
As such, there is no beginning to my story. Nor is there an end. It was always just me doing things. Things that resonated. Things that I felt a connection to. School? I felt like I could self-learn more in a week than a semester in college. Work? It was clear from the get-go that I was most productive when I could set my own schedule. As long as passion was the driving force there were no limits. When something presented itself to me that resonated, I knew to follow it. Like Neo knew to follow the white rabbit. Twenty some odd years later, the picture becomes clearer. Without passion, I would have never lasted this long, in any field, no matter how much money or benefits or social prestige it came bundled with. Yes, you become good at some things along the way. But that’s not the point. The point is that with passion as your fuel, you stay fresh, you stay curious, you stay vital and you stay relevant to the present moment. These are the qualities that deep down we all seek. Even if you have just a little of it, it will attract more of the same. Stay true to the moment. Success, however each of us chooses to define it, will take care of itself.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The question of “has it been a smooth road” implies that if it was smooth, it’s a good thing, perhaps because the plan was well conceived of and executed. The way I look at it, however, the best thing that can happen is for the road to be un-smooth (and it was), so that it pushes us out of our comfort zones and our mistaken belief that we can actually control life and one day get to that place where all things are safe, comfortable and unchanging. This mistaken belief I chased for most of my life, until the obvious futility of wrestling with and resisting that which has already happened became abundantly clear. Life unfolds in the present moment. Don’t resist it. Let it grow you.
In the startup scene there is a saying: Fail fast, fail often, fail forward. Breakthroughs come not because you finally figured out the right formula or made the right contacts. They come because with each failure your desire grows, is sharpened, until you become an undeniable force of attraction. Let’s be honest. There is no better place to practice failing than L.A. It can be a rough town, until you find the sweetness tucked away in this city block or that suburb. It takes a special person to see it through in L.A. I cannot express enough gratitude to all the great Angelean souls I have met and continue to share paths with.
In particular, the team that has assembled itself around me. It is with sheer joy that I look forward to seeing their names and faces every day. They remind me of why it’s great to be alive, that there is always a deeper meaning to be found to infuse our work with, the time we spend together. I know this essence comes through in the work we produce and in our relationships with our clients. I couldn’t be more proud and humbled by it. The quality of our life is a reflection of the people we are surrounded by. I love my life. That speaks volumes about my team, my co-lifers.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Cirak Studios – what should we know?
Cirak Studios designs world class user experiences and marketing strategies for digital. For us, UX isn’t just a buzz word or even a process. It’s a new and necessary approach to navigating life in the 21st century, as we see it through both personal and professional eyes. The underlying principles of UX are based on Design Thinking, a solution-focused approach to problem solving that puts human values first.
We are deeply passionate about helping businesses integrate User Experience into their products, services and internal practices. Our work is to leave behind a legacy of expanded awareness of how we can infuse our work with meaning and help move the world forward.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Empathy. Insights. Results. Happiness. We look for win-win situations.
- Website: www.cirakstudios.com
The Cirak Studios Team