I read an article in Outside magazine last year about big wave surfer Garrett McNamara and his quest to surf some of the biggest waves in the world that break off the coast of Portugal. The story is amazing and I’m not even going to try to recap because the whole thing is worth a read. But one of the things he said in the article that really stuck with me, comes after a paragraph about the epic crashes McNamara has had and what a huge risk it is to surf big waves.
He said, “It’s calculated… It’s a calculated crazy. The only safe plan is don’t go.”
I could ramble on and on about taking risks with your work and tell you to be a little bit crazy. But I’m not gonna. I’m going to tell you to be crazier than you think is safe. Brush up against the edge of stupid now and again. And do it in a calculated way. Meaning that there’s a reason, a why, behind the crazy. Making something worthwhile is not safe.
What is your big wave? What are you willing to wade out into the cold, choppy waters for? No one will think it’s safe. Lots of people will think you’re crazy. And they’d be right. There is no safe plan for creating work that can change the world. The only safe plan is to not show up.