Notes For Creators

cross fit for the creative soul

Risk assessment

I was speaking with a National Chess Master yesterday. One of the skills he is most intent on teaching his young protégés is . . . 

No, not castling . . . 

Nor offensive or defensive play . . . 

Nor memorizing strategies . . . 

It’s risk assessment

He takes them immediately to a world they are familiar with. Video games. 

For example, he says, take a first-person shooter game:

You come into a space and one person is facing you, another person has his back to you . . . the immediate risk assessment tells you to go after the person facing you. That is the greater threat. So I take them down that pathway.

This line of thinking rings profoundly true in the business world as well. 

Studies show that successful entrepreneurs mitigate risk well. They don’t take more risk; they are better at minimizing risk while moving into new areas. 

Having crashed — and almost burned to a char — twice — I’m far more sensitive now to what can take us under.
Creativity isn’t solely unbridled play. (Wheee!

Targeting (getting clear on what you’re after) and experimenting (taking inspired steps in the direction of your vision) are key components. 

After that, risk assessment (Whoa . . .): Assessing potential flashpoints and working around them.

When he first flew into the friendly skies, Richard Branson negotiated a buy-back option for the planes he purchased for Virgin Airlines after one year. Thus neatly minimizing risk should the plan go awry. 

Examples in the creative/indie biz fields:

  • Working on your creative project on days off . . . keeping that day job income flowing till you can afford to take flight in a new direction
  • Taking on a part time gig when freelance income gets scarce
  • Keeping expenses low, to maximize flexibility
I know an established artist who took on a part-time job to help her through the crash years. She was able to keep her home — and her art career — afloat this way.
Others waited too long. And in the ensuing mess lost their homes and their livelihoods. And all forward movement. It can take years to retrench.
This part-time job wasn’t beneath her . . . in fact it was the wind beneath her weary wings. That risk-minimizing, part-time work saved her years of recovery.
Is there danger lurking on the periphery that you’ve been ignoring? 

Is there something easy you can do to put your eyes on the goal again?

Sometimes it’s the smallest, simplest action — negotiating an out clause, bolstering income, taking a break and reconnecting deeply with your purpose . . . 

It only takes 15 minutes to identify an issue and come up with possible solutions: 

1 minute to identify it — you know what it is! 

14 minutes to let your mind free range ideas . . . while it’s still playful.

For you 

Evan Griffith
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Hankering to create with more force and focus? 


Check out this little book: 

Burn Baby Burn: Spark The Creative Spirit Within

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