May 2      

Today's quotation:

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

Today's Meditation:

We've simply got to take risks.  Not all the time and not in every situation, but often and in many situations.  If we don't do so, the changes that we need to have happen and that keep our lives dynamic simply won't happen, all so that we can keep doing the same things, over and over again, never growing or developing into the people we were meant to be.  Risk isn't the same for everyone-- one person may thrive by learning how to rock climb, while another finds it incredibly risky to apply for a new job.

When I finished college, I bought a one-way ticket to Europe with virtually no money in my pocket, and I ended up staying there for three years.  That was a risk that somehow didn't faze me.  On the other hand, I have a very hard time talking to people I don't know, and I often back off from doing so for no reason other than it intimidates me.  I'm getting better at it as I grow older, but it's still a risk for me to get to know someone on a level deeper than that of casual acquaintance.  I know that the risk I took in going to Europe has helped me in innumerable ways; I also know that the risks I haven't taken in getting to know other people have kept a lot of richness out of my life.

We tend to classify risks as "necessary" or "unnecessary," "smart" or "stupid."  And the definition of each changes from person to person, of course.  We need, though, to be able to identify risks that we really should take, and we need to be able to distinguish them from risks that we really shouldn't.  If a new business venture could mean losing all our money, then we probably shouldn't take that risk if we have a family to support; if we're on our own and the potential damage isn't nearly as drastic, then perhaps it's a risk that makes sense.

We like safety and security, and that's not a bad thing.  But when all that we do, we do to preserve that security, then we may be refusing to take risks that could be very important to us.  After all, few people get ahead in life without taking risks, and few people learn new things without stepping outside their own little secure worlds.

Questions to consider:

Why do we get so caught up in trying to maintain the status quo, instead of trying new and different things?

What kinds of risks do you consider acceptable?  Unacceptable?  Why?

Think back on a time when you took an important risk.  How did it turn out?  Do you regret having taken it?

For further thought:

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

more on risk



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