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Three Things I Know Are True: Taking Risks

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I’ve been attempting to find “true north” in a lot of things lately. This series explores what I’ve found to be true in my own life. Your answers will probably differ; the point is to find what’s true for you.

Today’s topic is taking risks. Here are three things I know are true.

1. Most risk is perceived.

For example, it’s not any riskier to work for yourself than it is to work for a company, and it may actually be less risky. Why would you trust someone else with your well-being? Self-employment is actually a very safe and conservative choice for many of us.

Therefore, it’s very important to rethink the role of risk in your life.


2. The times that I’ve taken risks have usually turned out well.

I don’t think you should always take a risk; it’s clear that there are a lot of risks not worth taking. I just think, on balance, that it’s usually better to make a bold choice than a tame one.

When I think back on things I wish I’d done differently, whether in work or life (or even travel), I see a clear pattern. I don’t remember many times when I’d evaluated a risk, and having taken it, ended up thinking later, “You know, I wish I hadn’t done that.”

However, I can remember profound regret related to times that I’ve wanted to take a risk but chose not to.

There’s also this:

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ―Anaïs Nin

3. Most risk is relative, and what was once risky can become comfortable.

If we want to improve and challenge ourselves, we have to look for different kinds of risks. I recently started following Kevin Richardson, a South African guy who plays with lions.

Crazy, right? But he’s doing it for years, and as the videos demonstrate, it’s totally normal to him.

Playing with lions would be risky for most of us (I got to play with tigers once, but in a controlled setting). Risk is relative, in other words. If we want to take more risks, perhaps we need to find some lions who are ready to play.

See also: Tyler Tervooren’s strategy for becoming comfortable with risk.

How about you? Feel free to use this format for your own blog, journaling, or just thinking.

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Image: Nicholas

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