Is Risk a Bad Thing? (Part II)

Risk taking – are you comfortable with it?  In my last blog, I talked about the need to become comfortable with failure if we want to embrace the chance of ultimate success through risk taking.  You can click here if you want to read it.  But I think there is another aspect of risk taking that is usually overlooked.

I believe that, as humans, we are born with a desire to take risks.  Think about it … have you ever seen a baby contemplating whether or not to take the first steps because he or she is afraid to fall down?  The only possibility where a baby’s first steps don’t end up with him or her falling down is if someone else picks up the baby to prevent it.  Babies fall down, cry for a minute and then get right back up again.  It’s the parents who are afraid – not the baby.  A few years later, that same child would probably jump down an entire flight of stairs in an attempt to fly if the parents didn’t prevent it.

Now, I can already hear the argument.  The child also lacks common sense and knowledge.  The parents have the ability to calculate the risk and determine what is a safe amount of risk and what is not.  But, for the sake of discussion, let’s set common sense and parental protection aside for just a minute.  If we would let the child jump down the stairs, he or she would learn that humans can’t fly.  After the cast came off the leg, he or she would probably think twice before doing it again.  Although there is no guarantee that it won’t happen again, the child would have concrete knowledge of the risk involved.  And that is what I think happens to us.  Our desire to take risks gets stifled as we start to experience the consequences, and as we grow up we become more and more risk averse. But when we stop taking risks we also stop growing and learning new things. Click To Tweet

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”   (Theodore Roosevelt)

Although I have always been rather risk averse, I think that I have become even more so as I grow older.  As I have experienced failures, I have conditioned myself to live in safety rather than risk failure again.  I’m guessing that you do it also in some ways – do you have your favorite restaurants that you always visit because you know the food and service are dependable?  There may be other ones that are far better, but you will never know.  Do you vacation to the same place year after year because you have had good times in the past?  You give up the chance to experience new things because of the familiarity of others.  Those are just small things that ultimately don’t really matter.  But, are there bigger decisions that you are afraid to make because of the risk involved?

I would suggest that you start re-evaluating these areas.  Maybe it’s time to try new things.

What do you think?

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