Risk is a four-letter word to many of us, and one of
the worst four-letter words of all. After all, risk
takes the safety out of our lives, even if in that safety
we're not happy or content at all. Taking a risk can
put us in danger of losing whatever "security"
we've built up, any "safety" that we feel in our
lives. I've come to learn, though, that most of what
we consider to be safety is illusion, as the recent
recession has pointed out to us so strongly--many people
who never expected to be losing their jobs suddenly found
themselves without work, myself included, because the
organizations that paid them no longer could afford them.
And what do we do about that? Does that mean that we
all should run out and take risk after risk, just
because? Does that mean we should throw all our
money at stocks and bonds in the hopes of becoming
The people who consistently do the best with risks are
those who take the time to analyze them, to consider them
carefully before jumping into them. The most
important thing that they do is accept the fact that risk
is an important part of life, and they act
accordingly--they seriously consider taking the risk, but
they also consider passing on it. It's an important
balance to maintain.
I remember reading an article once about someone who died
when his plane went down during a brutal storm. The
writer of the article made the statement that this person
knew how to live life fully by taking risks instead of
being passive. I remember how much I disagreed with
him--while I think that taking risks is a very important
part of life, I also know that putting your life in
danger--and this person had passengers who also died--in a
foolish risk is not living fully at all, but being silly.
So is a risk simply a risk, or an opportunity as
well? Flying through a storm after having been
warned shows no opportunity, but many of the other risks
that we face provide us with great opportunities to make
something more of the lives we've been given to live.
One of the
most beautiful things I've ever seen happened in a park. There was
a mama and a papa who had taken--actually taken the time from this mad,
busy schedule of all these essential things to be done, to take their
to the park. Their little kid was walking down to the
lakeside. Papa saw this,
and started to stop him. Mama, who must have been a very unique,
person, reached out and grabbed him. She said, "Let him
go!" And down
toddled this kid, just barely able to walk. This tale has a happy
the baby didn't drown. I'm sure Mama's heart was pounding hard.
But all growth involves risk.