Life is dangerous. We all do things that risk our lives, our health, our finances, our hearts. Even those of us who try to prioritize safety above all else occasionally have to stick our heads out the door. As for the rest of us, well, adrenaline is the spice of life. They can be little risks, like ordering something different off the menu of your favorite take-out place, or big risks like running into a burning house to save someone or something. Sometimes we come out ahead, and sometimes… not quite so much. Either way, we keep taking them and even though I’m about safety and risk avoidance, I don’t want to and I’m not going to tell you to stop. Here’s why:
Even if the odds are wildly against you, it can still be worth it to try because the amazing potential win that might result. Your chances might be slim, but if you manage to make the risk pay off, you might make a dream come true. Or at least learn something really neat or add something really fantastic to your life. It can be scary to dare to ask for that cute guy or gal’s number even though they clearly seem out of your league, or to try to strike up a conversation with that really interesting person who is definitely too cool for you, but it might lead to one of the most fulfilling friendships or relationships you’ve ever had.
It can be worth it, too, because losing while standing for the right thing can still be preferable to winning while compromising your morals and principles. We do this every time we refuse to quietly accept some manner of injustice or call out some type of misbehavior. Maybe we did it for some tiny incident, in some tiny way, but we still did it. And we can still lose – the injustice and the misbehavior may continue. But now the bad actor, the victim, the watching world are all on notice that not everybody is okay with what happened there. It might not change anything today, tomorrow, or ever, but introducing a pause, causing someone on the outside to reconsider, showing the victim that they are seen…that’s important too.
The trick is to carefully consider what the risk really is. You need to think about the likelihood and the consequences of everything going wrong. The odds might be a wild guess, and your imagination might go wild with every way you can lose. You might realize that it’s not really so bad after all, or that you can make a few adjustments that will reduce the level of risk or improve the potential outcomes. Or you might realize that an awful result is not only possible, but likely, but that you still want to try for the prize anyway. It’s up to you. And fortunately, you can pre-game a lot of that analysis, so that in an urgent moment, you choose the right balance of risk and reward, whatever it is for you. After all, life is dangerous. Rather than avoid everything that makes it so, let’s embrace it, the right way.