“Creatives Are Adept at Burying Their Dead”
This was a quote from Patrick McKenna, Ingenious Media, at a recent talk at Goldsmiths University Institute of Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship on Risk.
He was discussing risk, the need to take risk and the outcome of risk.
Sometimes (or often) the outcome of risk is failure. What do you do with that failure?
You bury it and you move on as quickly as possible.
Many entrepreneurs gamble everything on a venture and if it fails they slink off into a dark hole, often to never be heard from again. Only the hearty ones come back for more.
Artists and creative people are more accustomed to failure. Our careers are littered with failure. So we become adept at burying the dead and moving on.
Or at least we should.
Sometimes you invest so much in a project that when it dies you grieve for a long time. We blame ourselves and even worse we often think it comes down to a lack of talent. If only we were more ‘talented’ we would have succeeded.
You took a risk. And it failed. That’s the nature of a risk. You probably lose more than you win.
So bury the dead and move on. That’s the only way to keep sane and creative over a lifetime.
Some projects will lose money. Hopefully, some will make money. Finding a project that does resonate with your target audience and does earn you some profit allows you the space to take a risk on something that might not.
But over several years, if you are managing things well and tracking the successes and failures, your practice should find an equilibrium.
One of my mentors, Ian Chance, once said that his whole career had been a game of ‘hot or cold.’ Moving towards that which felt hot and away from that which felt cold. The same principle can apply to financial management – move towards that which is generating revenue and away from that which is losing revenue. That’s not avoiding risk (there is still risk involved in being creative as your past track record is no guarantee of future success) it’s moving towards success.
This applies to your finances too. Sometimes you’ll take a financial hit. You can either let it ruin you, or you can bury the dead and move on towards something warmer.
Which will you choose?
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