One of the biggest mistakes we make in our understanding of the creative world is separating the risk of living and the risk of creative living. The honest truth is that life is a gamble and that we are not in control. From time to time, things happen in our lives that remind us, yet again, that we do not run things. However, we do have the opportunity to steward what we have well. To take smart risks, to do or not do, to decide. We have the power of choice and it is wonderful and alarming. If you are anything like most people, the prospect of making a mistake can sometimes be enough to give you cold feet. I want to offer the perspective that taking a risk in your creative journey is no riskier than most risks you take every day.
By waking up, crossing the street, going to work, applying for work, attending school, hiring a babysitter, purchased any item, and/or signing any kind of a contract in your life, you name it… there was risk involved. No one lives a risk-free life. Life’s a gamble. A huge one. And the way it is set up, no one gets out alive.
We spend every day taking bets on how to live our best life, how to secure our financial status, how to keep it together, and the reality is that even our most “secure” plans are risky at best. If you have to take chances every day anyway simply because your life requires it, then why not take a chance on your imagination? Why not give yourself a shot? The worst that could happen in this creative scenario is no worse than the worse that could happen if you did it the “normal” or “correct” way. In fact, you may be more successful since these pathways are not as likely to be as congested as you think.
The reality is a lot more people dream of living creatively than those who are actually living creatively. A lot of that has to do with the misguided understanding that creative risks are somehow a bigger risk. Maybe training yourself to see your creative ventures as an innovative opportunity will help your perspective.
Also, there is no one way to take any risk in life. Some people dive into the pool right away and some people start out with their toes inching their bodies closer to submersion. No matter your method, I encourage to do try. Take your job for example. No matter how “safe” you deem it, there was ZERO guarantee you would land it. You had the experience (or maybe you didn’t), you had the material, you went to the interview, you crossed your fingers and hoped for the best, but you had no control outside of your part. Once you did all you could, you had to wait, you had to bet on yourself and wait to see if they would too.
Taking a chance on yourself creatively IS practical. It is practical because the process is no different than our day to day life. We can plan, we can prepare, we can put out, but then we just have to wait. We have to be consistent. We learn and we try again. We keep showing up, we keep taking chances on ourselves and our crafts, and we do not give up. It’s the only way, really. Where you are is no more or less risky than anywhere else, so embrace it. Live a lot, not a little.