“Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all cost, and that is the risk of doing nothing.” Denis E. Waitley
Our awareness of risk has increased ten-fold in recent months. If we are older, or in another vulnerable group, our sense of risk may be greater than others who are younger or less susceptible. Even if we are in a so-called safe group, we know friends or family members who are less safe. Because of the pandemic, our awareness of risk is much broader today. What should we do with this knowledge?
In an article in Magnolia Journal, titled “Stepping into the Unknown,” risk is defined as a situation that exposes you to danger. This very short piece suggests that danger does not always look like what we might expect.
“You could be in danger of falling in love. You could be in danger of having the best day of your life. You could be in danger of getting everything you want. You could be in danger of laughing so hard it hurts. . . You could be in danger of opening your heart instead of closing it.”
Most of us have probably heard of risk-reward analysis. Often this evaluation is used as a financial tool by business owners or individuals who buy and sell stocks. The principle could apply to almost any major decision we make. Or to any major segment of our life.
While I do believe that risk assessment is important, we need to remember that there is no way we can eliminate all risk. This pandemic strongly proves the validity of this truth. Many business owners that were successfully running profitable companies are now faced with zero or reduced revenues. Unexpected. Unplanned. It may not have been a factor in any risk-reward analysis. Yet, here we are in the middle of a pandemic, sorting out damaging economic issues and working on short-and long-term solutions.
As someone who has been around a long time, I look back at my life and have little regret for efforts I attempted that did not turn out successfully. Some were business related and some were relationship oriented. I have no remorse that I at least tried.
The real regrets that I have are for things I did not attempt. I never played organized football. I can go down a list of reasons, but none of them satisfy me decades later. What I do remember and find extremely gratifying is that I did play baseball. And that choice changed my entire life—because of a single game. Which leaves me in some of the idle moments, which are prevalent in today’s pandemic climate, to wonder what I missed by not playing football.
It is too late to go back and play high school football. That train left the depot long ago. Fortunately, for me, that regret and lost opportunity became an encouragement in my adult life to take more chances. Not to sit on the sidelines when I really want to be in the game! To risk taking a swing of the bat and possibly striking out. Much of the success I have enjoyed in my life, both personal and business, have been anchored in a strategy of taking some risk which was built on an early history of not always taking risks.
Ten years from now, when all the pandemic challenges have been conquered, what will you regret not doing? Which of the choices that you did not make will haunt you in idle thinking moments? And, which choices you did attempt—some that did not turn out successfully—will provide much satisfaction?
What have you always wanted to do and have yet to do in your life? What are you waiting for?
What will your life be like 10 years from now? What kind of person will you be?
Success is being and becoming the best at what I am meant to be and do in life.
The referenced article finishes with this paragraph:
“Just like risk can take lots of different forms, rewards often appear in unexpected ways. Hard conversations can give clarity. . .Endings guide us to some kind of new beginning. Sometimes the reward is nothing more than a slight shift—a change in how we see the world, or even who we are. Others may not be able to spot what’s different, but inside of us we know: the reward was in the risking.”
Today is the first day of the rest of my life.
Today, I could be in danger of having the best day of my life. The day I took a chance.