“To dare is to momentarily lose one’s footing.
But not to dare is to lose one’s self.”
What do you want to say when you look back on your life?
- I followed my gut or I followed the masses?
- I gave it my all or I gave up too easy?
- I played to win or I played not to lose?
Let’s be clear. These aren’t easy choices. It’s easy to write them as snappy sound bites for a blog post, but it’s quite another thing to really make the choice.
Following your gut, giving it your all, and playing to win will leave you hanging out in the wind and exposed to danger at points. Things could blow up.
But here’s the thing—and it’s easy to miss. Following the masses, giving up too easy, and playing not to lose also leave you hanging out in the wind and exposed to danger. It’s just different dangers. But in many ways they’re actually more dangerous dangers.
The danger of taking a risk is that things don’t work out as you plan – i.e. you lose. However, the beauty of taking a risk is that, as long as you’re doing it intelligently, you’re creating momentum. You’re learning, growing, and getting better. You’re moving in a positive direction. it doesn’t have to be perfect; you can make tweaks as you go.
The danger of avoiding risk is that you never put yourself in a position to learn, grow, or get better. You’re not moving in any direction. You’re not creating any momentum. You have nothing to work with.
Risk taking is like a boat leaving a dock. The rudder is your learning and correction mechanism. If you leave in the wrong direction, you can always use your rudder to get back on course. But if you never leave the dock, you never get on course, and your rudder is useless.
A lot of people do cost/benefit analysis around taking a risk. It’s a good and important exercise. However, they often miss answering one critical question: What are the long term costs of NOT taking this risk? The answers to this question are often feelings of disengagement, stagnation, no growth and general malaise. Very costly indeed.
What do you see as the long term costs of NOT taking risks in your life?
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