Is Risk a Bad Thing? (Part I)

What is your perspective on risk?  Are you an active risk taker or do you prefer certainty, safety and security?  Is one better than the other?

In order to discuss risk, I think we have to start with the obvious fact that risk involves the possibility of failure.  That reality is the reason that I am pretty risk averse.  There is something innate in my personality that does not want to fail at anything.  I am a competitive perfectionist, so, for most of my life, the thought of failure was completely unacceptable.  I have traditionally done what is safe and predictable in order to prevent failure at all cost.

I am learning, though, that playing it safe limits your success. Click To Tweet Most, if not all, of the truly successful people in this world have failed multiple times in their lives.  They were willing to risk small failures in their journey to huge success.  I read a quote by Abraham Lincoln that has fueled my thoughts on risk and failure:

“My concern is not whether you failed but if you are content with your failure.”  (Abraham Lincoln)

I have viewed failure as a negative, but maybe I have been wrong – maybe it is just a stepping stone to success.  (Just to clear up any misconceptions in case my kids are reading this … I don’t mean that it is fine to blow off studying for a test because failure is fine.  I am saying that if you truly try yet fail in the process, don’t beat yourself up.  Learn from it and try again next time) 🙂

In Matthew 14:22-33, we read the story of Jesus walking on the water.  Peter trusts Christ enough to get out of the boat and walk on the water toward him.  The winds scare him, though, and he takes his eyes off of Christ and starts to sink.  It’s easy to be critical of Peter.  He’s got the son of God right in front of him and he gets afraid, really??!!!  But, sometimes I think we are too hard on him.  He was the only one brave enough to risk drowning, get out of the boat, and walk on the water.  Yes, he was chastised by Jesus for his lack of faith; but, he had far more faith than anyone else in the boat.  That experience must have been a pivotal point in his relationship with Jesus.  Peter would go on to be one of the most effective apostles, sharing the salvation message with literally thousands of people.  Yes, he failed and started to sink when he took his eyes off Christ and now, two thousand years later we are still talking about it.  But that event helped shape his future ministry.  Who were the other disciples in the boat who played it safe?  I don’t know.  Scriptures don’t record their names.  They didn’t risk failure in that instance and maybe that also shaped their future ministry.

I am starting to think that I need to be willing to embrace risk more.  What about you?  I would love to hear what you think and your opinion about risk.  Let me know in the comment section below and please share this with your friends!

  • I have ever noticed that I have had an incorrect estimation of effort, or not having enough information. Maybe I had the sequence was wrong, or I had worked with falsehoods that misguided me. Altered importance and not looking at things exactly the way they are and going from that point towards my objective, one step at a time. I don’t think I really failed. I just found another way to do something. Bret would talk about it on Monday mornings. I miss my Monday mornings.

  • A good write up that makes you think Meschelle! I like to follow Teddy Roosevelt’s saying: “The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything.” To that end, let’s all get out there and make some mistakes today! It’s the only way we’ll learn.

    Keep up the great work!

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