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most important word related to risk in my mind is
"discernment." Not all risks are worth taking, but very
many of them are. We hear stories over and over again about the
people who reach the end of their lives and regret the fact that they
never took any risks, that they never challenged life and stepped out and
tried something that was beyond their current existence. It's sad
when this happens, but it's very common--risk isn't easy for many people,
and they pay a heavy price for letting their fear control their decisions
about whether or not to take risks.
But again, not
all risks are worth taking. Sometimes we find someone trying to talk
us into taking a risk with them in a venture that will benefit them more
than it will benefit us. Other times, we face risks to our safety or
health that far outweigh the potential benefits of taking a risk.
Climbing a cliff with no training and no experience is far too dangerous
to be worth the possible adrenaline rush that will accompany the
feat. The chance of falling is great, and the chance of getting hurt
in such a fall is greater still. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't
be willing to take the risk of cliff climbing--but if we want to do so,
let's prepare ourselves for the risk, physically, mentally, and
By the same
token, a heavy financial risk in an unknown venture when you're hurting
for money probably isn't a good idea, whereas a financial risk in a known
venture with a trusted friend or associate may be.
Of course, we
can't prepare for every possible risk in our lives. Things come up
quickly and unexpectedly that force us to make decisions--risk it, or not?
Should I take the new job in a new city and move my entire family?
What happens if things don't work out? Well, that's risk.
Some people want
to take care of every possible outcome of risk before they're willing even
to take the risk. If I do this, then I'll arrange for the potential
failure and have everything taken care of, they think. The bad news
is that nobody's able to control life--that's God's job. We can try
to minimize the risk for the sake of our families, but if we try to
provide for every possible outcome, we're turning the risk into a
calculated venture, and we're trying to control it. We're trying to
"minimize the risk." When we do this, we lose a great deal
of the potential benefit of taking the risk, for we're only willing to
take a partial risk.
On the other
hand, isn't a partial risk better than no risk at all?
saying that we have to take risks, but the lives and writings of many
people who have reached the end of their lives with a great deal of regret
over risks untaken show us that risk is something that can transform our
lives. Risk makes us grow in many ways; it helps us to mature and to
learn and to become stronger, wiser people than we were before we took the
We have to enter
risk with our eyes wide open, fully aware of the potential problems that
could arise as results of our risk-taking. But we also need to weigh
risks carefully before we ever take them to find out if they're worth
taking or not. When you're faced with an opportunity to take a risk,
remember that risks not taken can be disastrous, but so can risks poorly
considered. Check it out, look it over, and think it through.
If you're not prepared for it, prepare yourself--learn, train, study.
We can't control
the risks or the outcomes of the risk--the only factor that's under our
control when we enter a risk is our own state. Be aware and be
alive--and remember that risks have the potential to be our greatest
teachers, our strongest benefactors, and our best friends. It all
depends on how we approach them.
would life be if we had
no courage to attempt anything?
you risk nothing,
then you risk everything.
those who dare, truly live.
people behind the words
Two - Year Three
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be alive at all involves some risk.
life truly lived
is a risky
and if one puts up
ends by shutting
out life itself.
And the day
to remain tight
than the risk it took to blossom.
To laugh is
to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk
To reach for another is to risk involvement.
To expose your ideas,
before a crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To believe is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken,
the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The people who risk nothing, do nothing,
have nothing, are nothing.
They may avoid suffering
they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live.
Chained by their attitudes, they are slaves;
they have forfeited their freedom.
Only a person who risks
(originally in prose form)
All life is a chance.
So take it! The
person who goes the furthest
is the one who is willing to do and dare.
your life is ever going to get better, you'll have to take
There is simply no way you can grow without taking
risk-taking is inherently failure-prone. Otherwise,
be called sure-thing-taking.
you're never scared or embarrassed or hurt,
it means you never take
It is not
because things are difficult that we do not dare;
it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.
more mortifying than to feel that you have
missed the plum for want of
courage to shake the tree?
Logan Pearsall Smith
to learn to swim and at the same time
to keep one foot on the ground.
people who have done big things are those
who were not afraid to
attempt big things,
not afraid to risk failure in order
to gain success.
must tell you I take terrible risks.
Because my playing is very clear,
when I make a mistake you hear it. If
you want me to play only the notes
without any specific dynamics, I will never make one mistake.
Never be afraid to dare.
One has to abandon altogether the search for
security, and reach out
to the risk of living with both arms.
One has to embrace the world like a lover.
One has to accept pain as a condition of existence.
One has to court doubt
and darkness as the cost of knowing.
One needs a will stubborn in conflict,
but apt always to total acceptance of every consequence of living and
Morris L. West
What stops people from
trying new things and taking new risks?
They keep doing
the same thing over and over, expecting that they will get different
results. Their ideas
and habits keep them in the same restricted path, like the polar bear at
the zoo who was
tethered when first placed in his enclosure, since it wasn’t finished
and there was
the danger that he might escape. After
the enclosure was completed, he was freed
of the tether, but he continued to pace in the same restricted area.
we sometimes do ineffective things over and over again, and view things
the same way over and over again, and therefore stay stuck where we
want to be (and don’t have to be, I might add).
be afraid to take risks. These need not be skydiving or mountain climbing,
but simply active efforts in simple daily activities that are so often
because of the demands of courtesy, social obligation, or the need to act
to the expectations that others have of you.
Make a list of ten steps you would take
if you were the person you would like to become.
Take that course that you have been
thinking about; invest in what you have been thinking about; try a new
try a new route to work; try taking a subway if you have been taking a
try taking a bus if you have been taking your car.
I am transparent enough to myself, then I can become less afraid
of those hidden selves that my transparency may reveal to others.
If I reveal myself without worrying about how others will respond,
then some will care, though others may not.
But who can love me,
if no one knows me?
I must risk it, or live alone.
It is enough that I must
I am determined to let down my walls, whatever the risks,
if it means that I may have whatever is there for me.
I am willing to put myself through anything;
temporary pain or discomfort means
nothing to me as long as I can see that the experience will take me to a
I am interested in the unknown, and the only path to the unknown is
breaking barriers, an often painful process.
Life is either always a tightrope or a feather
bed. Give me the tightrope.
that all of us can be hurt, that all of us can—and surely will at
Other vulnerabilities, like being embarrassed or risking love, can be
I think we should follow a simple rule:
if we can take the worst, take the risk.
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.
life frightens me and I’m tempted to retreat instead of risking
But when I challenge this fear and choose to take a risk, this
stretches my soul.
By forging ahead and trying something new—even
when I am scared—I perform an act of courage.
And this act of courage
strengthens my soul and strengthens my character.
we listened to our intellect, we'd never have a love affair. We'd
have a friendship. We'd never go into business, because we'd be
Well, that's nonsense. You've got to jump off cliffs all the time
and build your wings on the way down.
If you want to achieve great things in life, you have to
The first risk is daring to feel deeply, to be passionate about what
you want and care about. Enthusiasm is the key to breaking through
barriers, whether your dream is to touch one person or millions.
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|It takes courage to care for others, because
people who care run the risk
of being hurt. It's not easy to let your guard down, open your
with sympathy or compassion or indignation or enthusiasm when usually it's
much easier--and sometimes much safer--not to get involved. People
take the risk make a tremendous discovery: The more things you care
about, and the more intensely you care, the more alive you are.
the trouble is, if you don't risk anything, you risk even more.
All of life is the
exercise of risk.
William Sloan Coffin
|During the first period of our lives the
greatest danger is not to take the risk.
When once the risk has been taken, then the greatest danger is to risk too
much. By not risking at first one turns aside and serves
trivialities; in the
second case, by risking too much, one turns aside to
the fantastic and
perhaps to presumption.
give nothing whatever without giving oneself--
that is to say, risking oneself. If one cannot risk
oneself, then one is simply incapable of giving.
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Studies of people
who report high well-being in their fifties and sixties
indicate that they have lived lives that involved personal risks.
not people whose lives have been calm and predictable. A life under
tight control sometimes produces quiet desperation. High well-being
a life that has depth and quality. Risks, losses, problems, and
add pain to a life. That pain becomes a teacher. We learn;
the pain gives us no choice.
careful examination is essential in many situations. But it's
not always possible to know what's around the next corner. Even the
imperfect unknown can be edited once it begins to take form. Therein
lies the serendipitous nature of risk. Betting on the stock market
all sorts of possible losses. Yet investors often risk losing out on
wins if they stay behind. . . . It's easy to walk away from the unknown.
But as comfortable as it may feel to be risk-free, the loss of what could
be something wonderful and exciting can leave you empty and unfulfilled.
Anyone can make a list of all the good reasons for not doing
Indeed, how can the comfort of the familiar possibly compete with the
uneasiness associated with unexplored terrain?
Ice Cream for Breakfast
Most people live and die with their music still
unplayed. They never dare to try.
Mary Kay Ash
Take chances, make
mistakes. That's how you grow.
Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail
in order to practice being brave.
Mary Tyler Moore
always brings its own rewards: the exhilaration of breaking
through, of getting to the other side; the relief of a conflict
the clarity when a paradox dissolves.
way of life today is dedicated to the removal of risk.
Cradle to grave we are supported, insulated, and isolated from
the risks of life--and if we fall, our government stands
ready with Band-Aids of every size.
Shirley Temple Black
about risk, because risk is so nice. Once you begin to become
hooked on risk, your whole life changes. But change and growth take
only when you're willing to risk and experiment with your own life.
never sure of anything. Everything's a risk. I remember many
years ago I
sold everything that I had--much against everybody's advice. I
go around the world. I wanted to hear a crystal-clear temple bell in
I wanted to sit in a rice paddy in Thailand and talk to people, or at
them. And I did. I sold my insurance policy, my house, my car,
I owned. And I went. People said, "Oh, my goodness.
You gave up your
secure job. You're never going to find another job. You're
going to starve
when you come home." I came home with about ten cents. I
I learned. So much more important were the things that I learned.
Living, Loving, and Learning
are thousands to tell you it cannot be done, there are thousands
to prophesy failure. There are thousands to point out to you, one by
one, the dangers that await to assail you. But just buckle in with a
of a grin, just take off your coat and go to it; just start to sing as
you tackle the thing that "cannot be done," and you'll do it.
All serious daring starts from within.
the big woods when you leave familiar ground and step off
alone into a new place there will be, along with the feelings of curiosity
and excitement, a little nagging of dread. It is the ancient fear of the
Unknown, and it is your first bond with the wilderness you are going into.
my mother or my grandmother tried to keep me from climbing
too high, my grandfather would say, "Let the kid walk on the
got to learn to do things for himself." I loved my grandfather
me so much. His name was Fred McFeely. No wonder I included a
elderly delivery man in our television "neighborhood" whom
we named "Mr. McFeeley."
World According to Mr. Rogers
of the great heroes of Tibetan Buddhism, a man called Milarepa,
once encountered a host of demons bent on driving him mad with
fear. Some of them he chased away. Others he tamed
with his huge compassion. But the biggest, meanest, ugliest
monster of all simply would not leave until Milarepa, acting
either on his profound intuition or a drug overdose, walked
straight up to it and lay down in its mouth. As it swallowed
him, the demon disappeared, and Milarepa achieved enlightenment.
Whenever you are contemplating a risk that is necessary to achieve
your heart's desires, there will come a time when the only options
are to live with a demon spirit--the ghost of a hope that will not
leave you and will not die--or walk right into the thing that
terrifies you most. After going through it a few times,
you'll recognize such situations sooner, and walk toward the
monster with less uncertainty. Oh, you'll still be
scared. If you're doing something really important, you'll
be scared beyond description. But you'll also feel the
yearning to go on, fear or no fear. You'll find that you can
take that sweetness into the most dangerous undertakings, and that
just as your terror destroys the person you used to be, someone
stronger and braver always appears. It really doesn't matter
what risk you take.