Risk is a close cousin of change. It’s a good cousin and important one, but not to be confused with recklessness. Our language gets in the way sometimes, and we call things the same name, but the meaning is completely different. Such is the case with the word risk. It means a situation involving exposure to danger and who the hell wants to be exposed to danger? That would be reckless.
But the synonyms of the word risk are very revealing. Possibility, chance, probability, and likelihood. Danger, peril, threat, menace, and fear. Two sides of the very same coin. You can’t have one without the other. You cannot embrace it without the possible consequences of the other.
Metaphorically speaking a lot of us make decisions by flipping a coin. We charge in, or tell ourselves that its best not to charge in, which in turn is nothing more than a flip of the coin. I’ll throw this at at and see what happens. I’ll just work harder, I’ll invest more time, I’ll invest more money, and in the end, I hope and I pray that everything is going to be alright.
This is a dangerous way to treat our time and money and effort. Our lives should not be decided by the flip of a metaphorical coin. We need to know the dangers and the threat to what we want to accomplish. We must also do something with the fear we experience. If we are able to do so, we get to behold something that many people never do. We get to embrace the possibility, probability and the reality of dreams come true.
You have to risk something. You have to invest something of yours into something else in order to profit by it. Otherwise it is just charity work and happenstance.
The world needs to find a new tolerance level to risk. Good risk. Well researched and well prepared for risk. Not the gambling kind that will leave your house without lights and your fridge free of food.
We need to be conscious of what our dreams cost. We need to know that cost and mitigate as much of that cost as is humanly possible to predict. We need to know the cost of things in our life and we must not be afraid to risk.
Risk something in order to become and be something else. That is the only way to get anywhere in life. A piece of wood must be consumed by the flame in order to create heat. Nothing ever dies in our world, but its energy simply gets transformed into something else.
We should never fear risk, whatever part of our life that it shows up and tries to scare us. We must not be afraid of it, but think of the possibilities. We cannot stand by either but do all we can so that we can limit its sting and remove its poison.
Risk is a beautiful word. A word that scares many people and makes them run in the opposite direction. But there is no reason to run for you and me. There is no reason to be scared. It is a time to dream and believe that risk, treated with respect, is one of the best experiences we could hope to embrace.
Cover photo generously provided by photographer Lubo Minar.