ON TAKING RISKS
“He who has never taken real risks in his life never had a life.” says Nicholas Taleb in his book Antifragile. It is almost perpendicular with the poetic lines of Tennyson when he wrote “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
Taking risk is, well, risky to start with. It is actually a leap of faith. One must enter a terrain with a mindset of winning and yet must have to contend with forces devoted on difficulty and therefore must coast along bumpy roads to reach the desired end at a designated time. Unable to reach it or reaching belatedly means a failure and no one wanted to be a loser. It stretches credulity, it pushes one to the extreme, it unsettles a person’s normal stride. Hence, a lot of people would rather stay away from possible risk because it means threat, because it means hardship, because it means danger.
There are even courses on evading risk or programs on how to stay away from risks. This is unfortunate since this oftentimes lead to a sheltered life. Something like being sensitive to a fault, too soft for comfort and may even promote a spineless disposition. There is no strength derived from an inactive, unchallenged and unprovoked situation.
All stories whether fiction or adventure filled, blockbuster or bestseller, begin with the assumption of danger, of uncalculated risk, of undefinable peril as mark. Without it, the story is drab, monotonous and unexciting. Worst, it carries no theme at all. It would only amount to what could refer to as a ”bug’s life”—short, unintended, insignificant and irritating to the rest of the creation, except for its predator.
On the other hand, those who dabbled with risks are strengthened to confront reality and eventually win in the end. A lot of successful people and I mean all of them virtually lived a life under the shadow of intimidation. What made them a cut above the rest similarly situated is the fact that they chose not to be intimidated at all.
Moses lived a princely life until he chose to lead the Hebrew slaves out of bondage. It was a perilous journey but he won for his people.
David, a fledging shepherd, went ahead to confront colossal Goliath and in winning, became celebrated as a giant slayer and eventually became a King.
Abraham Lincoln, a self-taught man, struggled during his early formative years. Orphaned earlier on and continuing deaths had visited his family, despondency led him to join the rebels. His crusade to abolish slavery became the hallmark of his leadership until he was elected President. He was considered one of the three greatest US Presidents.
Steve Jobs struggled to formulate technology tapping the best minds that nonetheless fired him out despite the success of Apple which he introduced as a popular medium of global and mass based communication. Jobs persevered thereafter and founded Pixar and entertainment did not become the same again. His perseverance reduced the world into a virtual playground we happily lived in.
The list is endless. The possibilities are almost infinite. Risk takers succeed hands down.
But there is one instance however when taking risks leads to failure. This is when one is afflicted with disobedience on trust; when one does not believe in himself; when there is no confidence in his natural tendencies to overcome odds. Look at Adam and Eve, they made Man mortals and cursed.