Are you a risk taker?

Iron rusts from disuse; stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.
Leonardo da Vinci
1452 – 1519

How would you answer the question, “Are you a risk taker?” If you’re like most people, you probably want to know to the nature of the gamble: putting money in the stock market; investing in a business; changing jobs or even professions; moving to a different part of the country; or something else entirely.

All of those actions could be considered high risk; it all depends on how you look at them. But my question to you is, how do you look at such opportunities? Are you more inclined to play it safe?

The majority of people think of themselves as conservative: they take a dim view of risk. And the older they get, the more conservative they tend to be.

Now here’s the real question I want you to consider: what’s the biggest risk in life? Mull that over for a few minutes. Is the biggest danger losing all the money in your IRA? Losing your job? What about the threat of divorce — could that be the biggest risk you’ll face in life?

This is a very important question, and the answer will surprise you. But first, you really ought to give this issue some serious thought. To help you out, let’s turn the question around a bit: when your life is over, what do you think will be your biggest regret?

Chances are, you aren’t going to cry a lot about something you did. Your biggest regret will most likely be something you didn’t do. That idea brings us to the surprising answer about the biggest risk in life: it’s inaction. The biggest risk you have in life is failing to take some specific action. It’s letting opportunities pass you by. Failure to follow your dreams can haunt you until the day you die.

Playing it safe, in the long run, is not very safe. Life isn’t about playing it safe; not when it comes to achieving your full potential. We’re programmed to seek fulfillment in life. Unfortunately, we all have the ability to override that programming. We can and do choose to limit our risk. But limiting our risk increases the real danger of life passing us by.

We get very content in our comfort zones and we lose opportunities to make something of our lives. While the risk seems high, the risk of not taking a chance is much greater than the threat of failure. We can recover from any failure and learn from it. The only thing we learn from inaction is to be more inactive.

Your biggest risk in life isn’t in the mistakes you might make, but the regrets you may accumulate. Don’t miss out on life by playing it safe.

It is only by risking our persons from one hour to another that we live at all.
William James
1842 – 1910

Copyright © 2018 John Chancellor


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