Risk and Failure: What to Know About Measuring Life Risk
It is curious to me that so little has been written about the four-letter word – RISK. Those who do not take sufficient risk in life, whether in pursuit of relationships or achievement, become frustrated and resentful people. We all know those who have stayed too long, whether in a job, in a relationship, or in a neighborhood.
The endless moaning for “the good old days” often shines a mirror on an individual too afraid to change. Young people find this enshrinement of the past difficult to understand because of their confidence in being able to meet any challenge and this confidence is usually undented by the many potholes in life. A balance is necessary, however, between the overconfidence of the young and the frequent resistance and reluctance of the old.
The focus of much of our national attention is presently on the scourge of drug addiction. One wonders if the best description for the last quarter of this century is to describe the United States as the addicted society. Food, alcohol, drugs, sex, or money has become a source of gratification and security that is short-lived and extremely costly.
There is a correlation between the reluctance to grow through exposure to risk and the need to tranquilize the mind and heart from the grimace of opportunity.
We worship winners. In fact, being a fan of a winning team is somehow considered more noble by many than being one of the losing participants.
Here are some things to consider about healthy life risk:
- There is such a thing as information overload. As a culture, we have more access to knowledge than at any time in world history. Such opportunity can spark inertia as much as achievement. If the expectation is that one should not move ahead until one knows everything necessary, productive movement is stopped.
- Collecting opinions on which way to proceed beyond three trusted sources can guarantee gridlock.
- Failure is a teacher, not a judge. The greatest personal cost of failure is in what we think it means to other people and, ultimately, what they think of us. Test out the truth of this by listing your five greatest failures, as you perceive them, and then ask your best friend whether he holds the same perception of you.
Risk sharpens our capacity to adjust. It is our adaptability as a species that has saved our behinds, not our worship of “the way we were” and the “Don’t rock the boat” philosophy.