When was the last time you took a risk? I mean a big risk. Is it possible that your life has become so safe and predictable (i.e. boring) that risk is sneaking its way out of your consciousness and vernacular?
When I say risk, I’m not talking about the kind that comes from the “I’m indestructible” mindset that makes teenage boys the most susceptible to dying from adventure activities; or the “it’ll never happen to me” category that keeps a young girl from giving up smoking. Those kinds of risks come from the denial of facts, and thank you Lord for helping me to survive those days (mostly unscathed).
I’m talking about the risks that come when you know the dangers. You understand the possibility of failure or rejection. The ones you realize go against conventional wisdom or “the way things are done around here”. My friend Brian, who I mentioned yesterday, has lingered in high adventure sports longer than most men his age. He was explaining to me what it is like to do street luging on curvy mountain roads.
You lay down feet-first on a long skateboard with your body two inches from the asphalt. Once you launch, you pick up speed rapidly and, as long as you don’t sit up, your speed quickly and steadily increases. The more you can keep the board to the center line of the road, the easier it is to steer through the curves with just slight shifts of your weight. When you get to the road’s edge your danger of crashing increases with the rough terrain, and one misplaced rock can mean devastation. Let alone an oncoming car!
Brian said they go up the mountain early and take several steps to reduce the danger. They sweep the road thoroughly and stage vehicles at either end of the run to stop traffic. But he also told me that he had to give the sport up because he was reaching speed of 80+ miles per hour and had lost his fear of crashing. Smart man.
Conscious risk-takers haven’t lost their grip on reality. They just don’t let circumstances and an overactive imagination sabotage decisive action. Part of why I wrote about galvanization yesterday was a response to the timidity I sense among strong people who are hiding their light. Their strength has gained them a great deal of comfort in life and stepping out into the unknown feels like a major risk.
Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, and one of the foremost authorities on success, said one of the most common characteristics of successful people is decisive action. When you are stuck in comfort it is good to remember his saying.
“Don’t wait. The timing will never be just right.”
Since when did we have the power to predict the future with 100% certainty? When you know your values, risk is simpler. Not knowing what your values truly are is plenty of folly of its own. Reckless behavior will always be foolish, but action (risk) that is in harmony with your core values is characteristic of the most successful people we know.
As it has been said,
“A ship is safe in the harbor, but that’s not what ships were built for.”
Stop right now and write down one thing you are hesitating on that needs your action. Don’t just give it a momentary thought. Write it down and go do it. Deal?
PS Who do you know that needs to read this? Pass it along to them.