dictionary tells me that to risk is
"to expose oneself to the chance of loss." I suppose that is true.
Another piece of literature I was once given (author unknown)
To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out for another is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk exposing
your true self.
To place your ideas,
before a crowd is to risk their loss.
love is to risk not
being loved in return.
live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair.
try is to risk failure.
You may avoid suffering and sorrow if you don't risk, but you simply
cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live. The greatest hazard in
life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing, does nothing
and has nothing. Only a person who
Make a Difference!
What causes individuals to shy
away from taking a risk, even if it is a low risk and will give
them something they really want? Well, certainly high on most
people's list would be fear of loss, failure and perceived
humiliation if the loss were to occur. Why would we
automatically think that we would fail at something? Why
wouldn't we first try and see, and then if we did fail, learn
from that experience and move on? What causes us to have these
thoughts of inferiority?
Well, I believe it dates back to
our little life. And, since risk-taking, to my knowledge, is not
a subject that is taught in school, it would lead me to believe
that a person's fear of taking risks might stem back from before
they can even remember. When you were a child taking your very
first steps, it wasn't uncommon to hear one of your parents or
guardians say, "Be careful, you might fall." Or, "Don't do that,
you'll ...." Though some of this is rhetoric and you don't
really pay much attention to it, for some, it begins the pattern
of playing it safe.
Think of how much better equipped we
would be to face life's challenges and succeed, if we had
repetitively heard, "Take a chance and don't worry about falling,
because you're going to fall...probably quite often.
Failing is an important part of learning."
Many of the greatest lessons you'll receive in life are going to
come from falling ... from your failures.
Failing will never make you a failure
Unfortunately, very few people heard that when they were small. The
vast majority of our population have been mentally programmed to
play it safe.
In my seminars I have often said that
a little baby is a natural born risk taker. The baby never considers
the consequences of falling when it is learning to walk. Falling is
acknowledged as a natural consequence to learning to walk. I guess
you could call it a calculated gamble; it's a prerequisite to
mastering a myriad of motor skills required to get you on your feet
and moving. It's a natural progression in movement.
Virtuous Circle of
Why then, wouldn't we stop to consider
that any movement into unchartered territory should be viewed with
the same consideration? What happens to us?
Why is it that we do not see the
process of reaching our goals as having steps similar to the ones
the baby must take in order to learn to walk? There will be some
stumbling and falling in the learning process, but success can only
be reached when we are prepared to take those steps, all of them,
even the ones where we may fall down. The real win is the
confidence and experience we acquire which translates into new
growth, enjoyment and expansion in all areas of
When I was a youngster in school,
I participated in track and field. Pole-vaulting was my
specialty; it was the one event I seemed to excel at. I clearly
remember knocking that bar flying more often than I cleared it.
I also remember I was not very enthusiastic when that happened.
Knocking the bar off left me with a feeling that because I had
failed, I was a failure. I had failed and as I remember, no one
advised me of anything different. In retrospect, it would have
been an excellent opportunity for one of my teachers to help me
understand one of life's greatest lessons. But, it never
happened and it would be many years before I learned the truth,
the hard way.
we're still on the topic of children, I'll throw up another caution
flag. There's a four letter word that most parents use around their
children so frequently, that the children pick it up and before too
long it is buried in the treasury of their subconscious mind. That
four letter word is CAN'T. This word has done more damage than a lot
of other frowned-upon four letter words put together. I know of some
forward-thinking parents who have literally banned that word from
their children's vocabulary! >>
Can't is a word that paralyzes any
constructive progress. It switches your mind into a negative
frequency. It is a four letter word that will open your mind to a
never ending flow of logical, practical reasons which will enable
you to justify why you are not able to do something you sincerely
want to accomplish.
The only alternative to that
four-letter word is its polar opposite –
I can is far more important than IQ. You don't necessarily have to
be very smart to win ... but you must be willing. Reaching the goal
is not success; success is moving toward the goal. When I was
knocking down the cross bar, I was attempting to reach the goal. I
giving it everything I had. That could hardly be considered failing.
Every time I tried to clear the bar, I was risking being ridiculed
by the other kids. I risked having them laugh at me when I missed
... and they did laugh.
However, every time I ran down the
field and lowered the pole into the box, attempting to vault myself
over the bar, I was challenging myself. Taking risks is essential
when you want to reach a goal and the purpose of goals is growth.
When you challenge yourself, you bring more of yourself to the
surface. If you knock the bar flying today, at least you will know
you are challenging yourself;
you're a success!
If you dream of living your life
in a really big way, you must accept risk-taking as a very real
part of the apprenticeship you must serve. Make a decision right
now to change. Decide this very moment there will be no more
playing it safe ... no more "saving it for a rainy day" type
thinking in your life. When people get caught up in the habit of
saving for a rainy day, that is generally what they get ... a
I clearly remember the first time I
heard Earl Nightingale. Earl was telling a story about a farmer who
was out walking in a field. He looked down and saw a tiny pumpkin
growing on a vine. Nearby, he spotted a small glass jar. The farmer
reached down and placed the tiny pumpkin inside the small jar. The
pumpkin continued to grow until it filled the inside of the jar.
Beyond which it could not grow.
There are a number of people like that
tiny pumpkin. They limit themselves and refuse to take a risk. They
never truly test the strength of their
abilities. You will never get to second base if you keep one
foot on first. Too many people go through their entire lives playing
their cards close to their chest. They never step out and bet on the
surest thing in the world ... themselves. If you hope to
accumulate great wealth or achieve high goals, history records
that the first few steps have a high degree of risk. You must turn
your back on safety and security. To make it big,
take big risks. You will very likely have to put yourself
in a highly vulnerable position. It is also worth remembering you
cannot almost take a risk.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, "You gain
strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you
really stop to look fear in the face." Follow her advice and
liberate yourself from the crippling emotional state of fear and
enter into a world of freedom.
The Magic of
Leader: 4 Attributes