Life is a Revelation…be encouraged

A Few Words About Risk

Recently I had been thinking about risk. It isn’t a subject we hear much about anymore, unless your money is in hedge funds or your future is inexplicably tied to Greek futures. If either is the case, then you are living with risk every nanosecond of the day, but for the rest of us it is a subject that rarely comes up.

In fact, we have reduced risk in our lives to the point where it is nearly negligible. Our vehicles have lights, buzzers, safety belts, GPS units, and in the new Cadillacs an option that allows the driver’s seat to vibrate if you get too near an object. Smoke alarms, radon gas detectors, and alarm systems that can alert our cell phones if any unauthorized person tries to enter further reduce our risk to exposure. OSHA and others have been diligent in assuring the American worker they can perform their assignments without the fear of bodily injury.

Socially we’ve done what we can to reduce risk in a myriad of ways. There are books, DVDs, and seminars to help us eliminate the risk of bad relationships. Dating services have intricate questionnaires to assure the success (and thus reducing risk) of those seeking a life companion.

In sports rules have been tightened, scrutinized, and re-evaluated to reduce risk to the participants, and in some sports even to the spectators.

Up and down the continuum we have striven to eliminate every aspect of risk. Which for the most part is not a bad thing. As the driver of a 3,000 pound piece of steel down the highway, with my Grandson in his safety seat with a seat belt across him, I’m all for reducing his risk. Same way with my home, which is made out of logs, so I’m all for smoke alarms. As a cyclist I love that I can reduce my risk of a serious head injury by wearing a helmet that is specifically designed to withstand blunt force trauma and thus help me keep what few functioning brain cells I still have.

Now all of these efforts are good and I’m not suggesting for a moment that we take away any of the safety devices and laws that we have in place to protect us. But I wonder if there is not some unintended fallout. Something that in our focused concentration we did not think about. Could it be that we have curtailed a part of us that needs risk? Something within us that needs to push the envelope of what is possible.  The part of us that wants needs to live on the edge. I know when I ran across the United states I felt something deep within me. If I were a better writer I would be able to describe it. It was an excitement, like a live wire with a enough electricity running through it to juice you silly. I awoke with it in the morning and fell asleep with it in the evening.

Now that I am constructing a new company I feel it again. The act of taking an idea that was birthed while we sat on the hoods of our cars in a parking lot and talked about what would be the perfect company and then creating and developing the concept into reality brings out the feeling again. The feeling of risk. Of working without a net. If it works, it works big. If it fails, it fails big.

Perhaps it is time we let a little risk creep back into our lives. I’m not advocating a wild run amok, pitfalls be damned type of behavior. We don’t need any more hurt and pain, of any type, in the world. But maybe we do need a little risk, a little abandonment, a little willingness to loosen the reins, a little less scripted life.

Just be careful.

Be encouraged!

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16 thoughts on “A Few Words About Risk

  1. Steven, thank you for stopping and liking my posts recently. You have an interesting biography and I look forward to gaining insight into life based on your perspective. Your point about reasonable risk makes perfect sense.

    Take care,


    • Thanks Ivon. I don’t know how long you have been blogging, but I still get a twinge of nervousness when I hit the “publish” button. I have this little voice that delivers the “What if nobody responds?” or “What if they hate what I write?” I realize it is irrational, but there it is.

      When I look back on my life’s trajectory I do so in amazement. I’ve made it. I’m still alive. For the most part my brain still functions. I certainly have more than I deserve.

      For all of these reasons and more I have this huge desire to give back..or at least do what I can to bring about an entire change in how the world functions…I love a challenge.

      Be encouraged!

  2. Throw caution into the wind… live fully and take the risk. 🙂

    • Amen, Kara…that is the way to do it.

      Be encouraged!

      • livvy1234 on said:

        What are the financial and psychological costs of risky behaviour in business, health, emotional life, family life, friendships, politics etc? This is a great topic right now, as the USA reflects on the current Middle East Crisis. We cannot say live on the edge or don’t live on the edge. Emotional intelligence requires us to weigh the risks, step back, and think.

        Risk is part of addictive behaviours such as gambling, drug taking and even addiction to work; criminal behaviours such as theft and corruption; and, behaviours such as aggression and violence. (politics)

        Throwing caution to the wind? Depends. It really depends.

      • Mmmm…I think that was the reason why I was so cautious in talking about this subject. Can we take it (risk) and run with it to the detriment of everything else…obviously yes. Or can we exercise common sense (care to write about that subject?) and realize we need balance.

        I am in hopes that when I write, everyone will realize I am writing from the middle. I NEVER want anyone to take what I write, disregard every boundary, safe guard, and loving relationship so they can take off and run themselves into a black hole while dragging along those who care for them the most.

        As far as the political ramifications of what I write, I avoid it like the plague…I have my own ideas, but they are exactly that…my own…and that is where they will remain…forever.

        Be encouraged!

  3. livvy1234 on said:

    Risk is a tough one. Fear goes hand in hand with risk. What shall I risk today? Tomorrow? What risks are okay for me to take? Yes, it is good to jump off the cliff intellectually, physically, and emotionally sometimes. I think balance is important to reflect upon, when discussing risk. Can I balance myself on the seesaw? If it falls down, whose life am I affecting? My own or others? Lots to chew on with this article.

    • You are absolutely right. That is why it is so difficult to write about risk. You never fail alone. There are always those around you who are effected. Never risk anything and again those around you are effected, only in a different way.

      Balance is different for different people. Difficult for all…but different.

      Be encouraged!

  4. Improvise!! I recently had to resort to that in one of my classes and, thank God, it went well and none of my students noticed that I was off my own script…I think that at this moment in our adult lives we can improvise, live a little without causing too much turmoil, because we’ve got experience as a compass to guide us down the apparently unknown path we’re taking

  5. No risk, no reward. Important thoughts, Steve. Thanks for putting them out there. We should understand the risk inherent in what we’re going to do, gauge its possible impact, mitigate where possible, and then go for it!

  6. I so agree. I work with children who are so protected and never get the opportunity to experience risk because they are so sheltered and protected by helicopter parents. How can one learn to fend for themselves when someone else is always making the decisions for every move every day in one’s life? Thank you for posting such relevant and thought provoking messages.

    • Thank you…but honestly you are the one who needs to be receiving those words. Anyone who works with children has my deepest gratitude. Those children are our future and they have the smallest voice in the creation of their life.

      Bless you and the work you do.

      Be encouraged!

      • Thanks for your positive words about the work teachers do. It is great to have my efforts valued for something that I really enjoy doing every day!

      • For several years I volunteered as a mentor for behaviorally challenged children in our local public elementary school. I saw up close the struggles teachers endured so they could provide not only an education, but also structure etiquette, and love to those who were yearning for it, but not a clue how to ask for it.

        Teachers deserve our support for they are truly unsung heroes. My heart goes out to you, as well as my prayers. May you be blessed for the work you do for those among us who have no voice.

        Be encouraged!

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