We talk about taking risks as though it’s some grand act of bravery. A venture into an unknown void which takes thought and courage. We talk about taking risks as though risks are a rare part of our overall existence. But we’re taking risks all the time.
To get up in the morning is to take a risk, to sit at a laptop is to take a risk, to watch TV for three hours is to take a risk. Yet, we only see risks as the big things- that life change we want to make, the new and difficult habit to adopt, that one big thing we’d like to achieve. We often avoid these seemingly big, risky, life decisions, because we believe that the alternative is safe.
What if we thought of life as multiple options of risk?
To sit at a laptop daily might cause risks in the long-term, to learn to sail a kayak at sea might cause risks in the short-term. To try out a new career path is a risk. To keep on going to a dead-end job is a risk- to wellbeing, to motivation, to the people you work with as a team member.
We’re all so full of ‘what ifs’ of the future that we fail to think about the what ifs of the here and now. Our routines are familiar, and we know them so well that we can be certain that they’re not risks, right? Even when we are disrupted by a big life event, an illness, a marriage, a death, a birth- we still consider it a fluke in our everyday. Sometimes we amend the routine slightly, and we continue on our risk-averse path.
Of course, some risk-aversion is sensible, but most of us use the concept of risk to avoid doing the things which we’d really like to do. We create backup plans, which become routines, which become our lives. Then we live our backup lives in a cycle of dreams, false-impossibilities, and denial.
But we can escape the backup life, we can recognise that to live is a risk in itself. We can use that knowledge to choose risks with greater potential to benefit our lives in new ways. We can deconstruct our concept of risk and use it to be more present, to do more of what we love, to really live.
How will redefining risk change how you live? What risks will you choose to take?
Featured image: Tobias Rademacher via Unsplash.