Sunk costs, creativity and your Practice

“Ignore sunk costs” is the critical lesson of useful decision making.

The thing you earned, that you depend on, that was hard to do–it’s a gift from your former self. Just because you have a law degree, a travel agency or the ability to do calligraphy in Cyrillic doesn’t mean that your future self is obligated to accept that gift.

We hold on to the old competencies and our hard-earned status roles far longer than we should. The only way to be creative is to do something new, and the path to something new requires leaving something else behind.

New decisions based on new information are at the heart of leadership. But you can’t make those decisions if you’re also busy calculating how much the old decisions cost you.

Creativity is the generous act of solving an interesting problem on behalf of someone else. It’s a chance to take emotional and intellectual risks with generosity.

Do that often enough and you can create a practice around it. It’s not about being gifted or touched by the muse. Instead, our creative practice (whether you’re a painter, a coach or a fundraiser) is a commitment to the problems in front of us and the people who will benefit from a useful solution to them.

I built a workshop on creativity that’s run by the folks at Akimbo. The fourth session starts this week. If you’re ready to get serious about your art, whatever form it takes, I hope you’ll check it out.




Seth’s Blog

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