We had the good fortune of connecting with David Kindness and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi David, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking.
Do what you’ll wish you’d done. No truly great upside is possible without a degree of risk: pursuing your passions might mean leaving a safe or conventional life path, starting a new career means leaving your old one, and getting good at something new might mean making a financial investment in it. Big changes like this can feel risky and scary. But if your dreams are big enough, and the upside is great enough, then the risk is worth it. When I started type1wild – my medical lifestyle photography brand – I had just left a position as a CPA (certified public accountant). CPAs, lawyers and doctors are some of the safest career paths in the world – pretty much everyone needs at least one of them (and usually all of them) at some point. It’s the type of career moms secretly hope their kids pursue because it’s viewed as safe. So as you might imagine, switching industries from accounting to photography was a pretty risky and uncertain experience. But getting paid to go on adventures, experience new things and take photos had been my dream for years. So to me, the risk of turning it into a business was worth the reward. It’s human nature to perceive risks as greater than they are, to forget the value of the potential upside that could be gained from taking the risk, and to seek comfort and stability. This belief system stops us from pursuing our dreams even though the actual risk is much lower than you might perceive it to be. But once you start travelling down a new life path, you start to see the path more clearly, you reap the rewards of the risks you’re taking, and each step seems less risky and more worth it. One of the keys to life is taking risks successfully, and the key to success in risk taking is three fold: take calculated risks with a likely chance of success, take risks that will legitimately make your life better, and break risks down into smaller parts in order to mitigate both the chance and consequence of failure. For example, a risk worth taking might be pursuing a career or lifestyle that you are truly passionate about and that can both cover your necessary expenses and would legitimately make your life more enjoyable. Let’s break it down: is it worth taking that risk? Well, if it’s your passion and you love doing it, then it’s probably worth it for you. How do you know if it’s a well-calculated risk? If you’re genuinely good at it, if you have a unique story that plays into it, and if you know there’s a market that needs it and will pay you for it, it’s probably a well-calculated risk. How can you break it down into smaller parts to mitigate the chance of failure? You could start pursuing it as a side hustle while you’re still working, you could do it as a hobby for a while, or you could find a job that fulfills it in some way. In my own life/career, this method of taking risks and pursuing goals has been hugely important. For example, photography was a big hobby of mine for several years before I ever made a dollar from it, so I had years of experience with it before I left full-time work to pursue it as a career. I mitigated the risk by saving money so I didn’t have to worry about necessary expenses, and I broke the risk down into smaller parts by working with one or two clients at a time, which proved to me that it was possible and gave me positive momentum to keep going. The risk was worth it, it was calculated, and it was mitigated. My life motto is “do what you’ll wish you’d done”. When you think about your future self, try to do the things that will make them happy and pleased with their life – the things you’ll wish you’d done. Take the risks that would make future you proud, and build a life you’ll look back on with satisfaction and joy.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a medical lifestyle photographer. Twelve years ago, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and was told it would never be cured. Six months later, I was diagnosed with celiac disease, a physical allergy to gluten. Both of these diagnoses completely changed my life, and they showed me that life is short and beautiful. They helped me understand that we only have one life and we should live it in a way that genuinely makes us feel happy and fulfilled. I’ve done photography for several years now, and I totally love it. I pursued adventure and travel photography for the first few years, and have recently transitioned into lifestyle and product photography. Specifically, I’m pursuing medical lifestyle photography. My goal is to create breathtaking, story-telling photos for individuals and companies who are creating technologies, therapies and innovations that change the world every day. Diabetes has had a profound impact on my life, so I felt called to start photographing for diabetes companies – particularly the ones that are solving complex problems for the tens of millions of people living with diabetes every day.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well we’ve got to start the days with some nature and exercise, so we’d go for a morning hike in Mission Gorge or explore Mount Laguna for a morning. Then we’d grab breakfast at either Olive Cafe in Mission Beach (this place is WAY underrated) or Fig Tree Cafe in either PB or Liberty Station. I live in Mission Beach, so I wouldn’t let them leave SD without skating/longboarding/biking/running up and down the Mission Beach boardwalk. Then what else can you do but play Spikeball on the beach?! Someone’s gonna get spiked on for sure. Maybe toss a frisbee or two as well. Of course we’d have to check out the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park for some classic San Diego tourist activities. We’d catch sunset at Torrey Pines Gliderport and Sunset Cliffs then grab dinner and a drink at Amplified Aleworks, then pick up a six pack from Mike Hess and play some boardgames.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Success is a group effort, especially given our interconnected, online, social media-motivated world. I would not have achieved any form of real success without the support, encouragement, and feedback from loved ones. I’d like to specifically thank my parents, Chris and Kris, for supporting and encouraging my goals without pressuring me to move in any specific direction and without expecting any form of ownership over my life. Their love and support has been unconditional and totally underserved, and I’m so grateful for the life I’ve been able to live so far thanks to them.