Fear, Risk and Creative Mojo


This, roughly, is Jonathan Fields’s path:

lawyer > personal trainer > husband & father > yoga instructor >
entrepreneur > author > speaker > educator > catalyst

Fields has designed his own life and defined his own success, navigating risk and uncertainty to become the leader of a media brand called The Good Life Project.


The Good Life Project’s “Living Creed”

At HOW Design Live, Fields will share a dynamic keynote presentation, “How to Build a Life.” He’ll challenge you to approach your quest to build an astonishing life the way you might approach the quest to create genius. To consider the constraints and limitations, the metrics for success, the big levers, resources and tools, the guiding ethic and core principles.

You’ll come away with ways to apply Big-D Design Thinking to the most important project of all: your life.

If you routinely second-guess your design solutions, pull back from the ledge of risk or face routine criticism of your ideas, then Fields’s book, Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance, should be required reading.

The book explores uncertainty, risk and exposure to criticism in the creative process — when they crop up and in what circumstances. Fields writes:

“One of the single greatest determinants of high-level success as an innovator or creator in any realm is the ability to manage and at times even seek out sustained high levels of uncertainty, bundled lovingly with risk of loss and exposure to criticism.

The vast majority of creators across all fields, from painters to entrepreneus and writers to CEOs, are horribly equipped to handle the fear, angst and anxiety that ride along with these critical moments. And it’s this very failure, much more so than a lack of creativity or vision, that destroys so many endeavors and careers—and at times even the creators themselves.”

“Uncertainty” tells you how to deal with uncertainty, risk and criticism not by shutting them down or ignoring them, but by thinking of them as allies. Fields’s analysis gives you insight into your own creative methods. And he helps you understand when to fight and when to walk away. Fields cites cognitive science, modern technology and ancient techniques for mindfulness and focus. In the end, his goal is to make the creative process a more enjoyable, more productive journey—to end the self-doubt, insecurity and punishment creatives tend to inflict on themselves.

Check out the trailer for he created for the book:

Fields takes the stage the opening night of HOW Design Live (Thursday, May 19) for a presentation that will surely set the table for the rest of the event—sparking conversation, inviting introspection and providing the creative inspiration for the program that follows. Hear Jonathan Fields—along with keynote presenters Tiffany Shlain, Chip Kidd and Stefan Sagmeister—only at HOW Design Live 2016.


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