National Blog Posting Month – March 2013 – Risk
Prompt – Do you think it’s better to play it safe or to take risks?
It’s a fine line, isn’t it? Shouldn’t we just stick with the things we’re familiar and comfortable with? Or should we take our own direction and forge a new path?
Risk comes at all levels. I think that a lot of people associate ‘risk’ with either endangering their own life or the lives of others by physically doing something dangerous or indirectly by taking a chance on something that might result in the loss of a steady source of income. I agree, those are big risks, and too big in some cases to actually take. I mean, if you’ve got small children and a steady (but uninspiring) job, you probably aren’t going to consider a massive career change. That’s a huge risk.
But risks come in little packages, too. I know a lot of people who would never risk embarrassment by giving a talk, even in front of their co-workers. Many won’t risk a negative reaction by pointing out another person’s error (like when someone calls you by the wrong name), or even to tell someone that they’ve got toilet paper stuck to their shoe. Some of us won’t risk making a mistake by trying to help someone in need. (I’m not immune. See this.) Some folks will never try to write that book, poem, or song, because they don’t want the take the risk that someone else won’t like it. Some people never advance in their professions because they’re not willing to risk being assertive and potentially making someone else angry.
These ‘little-package’ risks we should be taking. These are the ones that we’ll curse ourselves for not taking later on in life. These are the ones that often lead to greater happiness and satisfaction in life, even though undoubtedly some will backfire. Playing it safe might be a good way to go when your life is on the line. But never following your heart’s desire because you’re afraid that some complete stranger (or someone close to you) might not appreciate it is foolhardy.
One learns a lot about oneself by taking chances. We learn our true limits. We learn also that we are much more capable than we thought. Occasionally we learn that we really weren’t up to the task, and that’s OK too. We learn to accept our doubts and use them as points of strength. If you never take a risk, you never know what you are capable of and perhaps never really know who you are.
So get out there. Try something new.