June 12
Why not go out on a limb?
Isn't that where the fruit is?

Frank Scully


Today's Meditation:

"Play it safe," they tell you.  And in many ways, I agree with them.  Yes, one of the major messages of people who tell us to live our lives fully is that we have to be willing to take risks and to say and do what we feel is right, but we also have to do so with discernment, and we need to choose our battles wisely if we're truly to make our lives exceptional and extraordinary.

Now, there are some limbs that are weak and flimsy, and even if there's tasty fruit out there, the risk of going simply isn't worth it.  Think of how many people have lost their entire lives' savings because they've been encouraged to take a risk and invest it because they might earn significant returns on their investments.  And on the other side of the coin, you may shimmy out to the end of a risky limb, pluck the fruit, taste it, and find that it tastes absolutely horrible.

When John F. Kennedy, Jr., tragically crashed his plane into the sea, killing himself, his wife, and his sister-in-law, we saw an example of taking a risk that simply wasn't worth it.  He was flying in weather that he wasn't qualified to fly in, and the three people paid the ultimate price for it.  Interestingly enough, I read an article a few weeks later from someone who praised him for being a risk-taker, for living life fully and not letting something like bad weather keep him from doing something that he wanted to do.  But he went out on a limb that wasn't just weak--it was already broken--and he did not succeed.

"Why not go out on a limb?"  There are many reasons not to do so.  There are times when I recognize that "taking this risk will provide no positive results at all," so I keep on keeping on and let the opportunity slide by.  And that's okay.  Other times, I've known that a risk is necessary, and when I've taken it, things have turned out fine; when I haven't, I've regretted my lack of action.  Yes, there may be fruit at the end of the branch, but make sure that the risk--and the fruit itself--are worth it.

Questions to consider:

What kinds of risks are worth us taking?  What kinds simply aren't worth it?  Why?

How might we distinguish between risks that are worth falling when the branch breaks and risks that aren't?

Why is the "safe" response so easy?  How might we recognize when we're making decisions based on fear rather than on possible outcomes?

For further thought:

Any life truly lived is a risky business, and if one
puts up too many fences against the risks one ends
by shutting out life itself.

Kenneth S. Davis


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