Risk: Your Life, On the Line - NoScheduleMan.com

Risk: Your Life, On the Line

RiskI recently shot a video blog (below) where I was trying to make a point about how natural it is for us to assume a major risk for very little reward. What got me thinking about it was how routinely I see people making potentially high-risk driving decisions where the probability for personal harm goes way, way up. I see things like that happening all the time, despite the fact that the “reward” can only potentially be the benefit of saving a miniscule amount of time. And yet, when it comes to living a life more true to ourselves, doing what we love for a living, really speaking openly and honestly and allowing ourselves to be what we would consider to be vulnerable, many – if not most — of us think that’s too much of a risk. This fascinates me.

Tip-Toeing Safely to Death

Bob Proctor has been heard to say, “Most people tip-toe through life trying to make it safely to death. What a dumb game.”

I’m beginning to really understand what he means.

Something interesting happened to me when I reach the age of 40. I went from an almost constant anxiety from feeling like I had run out of time, to being completely resolved to work harder to make the most of whatever time I might have left. I also began to feel a lot less concerned with risking disapproval, judgement or failure, when I compare that to the risk of getting to the end of my life and not having been more true to myself or done what I believe I am here to do. In fact, I think I’ve done more in the last 6 months then in the previous five or six years combined. So, what am I really risking here?

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Trading Your Life

In his extraordinary little book, “You2,” Price Pritchett says, “Risk believing in yourself. Risk acting on the assumption that you can succeed in making a Quantum Leap. Otherwise the risk is that you will settle for only a fraction of what life has to give you.”

John Assaraf often speaks to a similar notion with the reminder that we are trading our lives for what we are doing right now. That idea speaks to the risk Pritchett refers to in “You2,” that we’ll one day arrive at the end of our days wishing we could have our time back so that we could try the things we wish we’d tried and done the things we always wanted to do.

Think about it for a moment and see how it feels: You’re trading your life for what you’re currently doing, each and every day.

Once the moment is gone, you can never get it back. That’s not risk so much as fact. In many ways, I find that thought rather sobering. But it’s also empowering if you’re willing to accept impermanence as a fundamental fact of life. I believe I have, and have since made a lot of changes because of it, with many more to come. I’m determined, one way or the other, not to risk settling for less than life can give me. Looking back, I can see that I’ve done enough of that already.

Why is This So Hard?

Why do we find this so difficult? What could possibly make us so casual about something like driving into traffic when we are, very realistically, risking our lives in hopes of saving a few seconds of time, yet it seems unnatural to stop and ponder the risk that we are feeding every day that we will get to the end of our life without ever really haven’t felt fulfilled. Are we not “risking our lives” in both cases?

We seem to be so afraid of the unknown that might await us that the great minority of people won’t accept the risk of stepping out of our shells and breaking away from the herd in an effort to live the life we really wish we could live. Why do we just assume that the things we don’t yet know will affect us negatively? Why can’t change mean possibility and opportunity? Even just the thought of change can trigger feelings that something’s got to be wrong. Why?

Is there not ample evidence of people that have done this over and over – made the leap to live more aligned with their true essence and values – and been wildly successful? Is there also not an equal (or greater) amount of evidence to show that people often do exactly as Proctor has suggested: “Tip-toe through life trying to make it safely to death,” only to get to the end of their days filled with regret that they wish they’d been more true to themselves, said what was really on their mind, or done what it was they really felt they were here to do?

Tiptoe

Are you tip-toeing through life?

Which risk is greater? Why are we afraid to take one risk but not the other?

What a Dumb Game

We embrace what we view as “safe” even if it makes us miserable. And we fear what we view as “opportunity” because we think of it as too big of a risk.

As Proctor said … what a dumb game.

In his book, “You Were Born Rich,” Proctor offers the following: “You must always remember you will never hear of, read about, or see anyone who achieves anything of greatness in his or her own life, without first taking some kind of a risk.”

I guarantee you that he is not talking about driving foolishly into traffic.

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Comments:

What is it that you would really like to be doing, or not doing, if only you were willing to take the risk? Please leave a comment, below, and let me know what that looks like for you.

Resources:

I read and make notes on a couple of pages from “You2” every single morning. It’s a fascinating little book. Proctor and Assaraf are also among my favourite mentors.

Want to know how to think and act more positively more of the time? Click here for more of my story and how John Assaraf’s Neurogym has been such an enormous help.

14 Responses to “Risk: Your Life, On the Line

  • Yet another interesting and thought provoking post you have written Kevin. I am really in two minds about whether I am a risk taker or just hang back and see what happens. I’ll explain.

    When I was growing up I thought I would always stay in my hometown in the UK. And then I met my wife-to-be online. I made the decision to move to Australia, moving away from my family and starting a new life. You can’t get much of a bigger risk than that.

    But apart from that monumental risk. I like to play it safe, and so have the easy life. After reading this post though maybe I am not being true to myself and I should risk more. I think I have stepped off the gear as it were since my big move.

    • Gee, Owain, it sounds to me like you’ve proven you’re not afraid of taking a risk. Wow! Good for you. But I see what you mean. Most of us – myself included – live inside our comfort zone. That’s fine, I suppose, but there’s very little opportunity for growth there. And the risk in that is getting to the end, looking back, and wishing we’d done more, or less … depending on what feels most true to who we are.
      Thanks for your time and comments. I always appreciate your insights.
      Best wishes,
      Kevin

  • Actually I took a risk for living the life of my dreams. Even I had a good opportunity to live in exotic country with a good job, I could not be able to live my dream life. So I quit my job and try to make money online. I still don’t know what will happen and sometimes I feel bad about my decision. But I also believe that I can achieve my goal. This keep me going and will keep me going. Great writing Kevin.

    • Wow, excellent, Furkan! I admire your determination and vision. I’m certain you’ll figure out a way to make it work. All kinds of other people have done it – why not you, too?
      Keep at it. As you know, I enjoy your site and look forward to hearing you share stories of success in the days ahead.
      Best wishes,
      Kevin

  • Great article Kevin! I’ll admit I spent a long time just following the herd and doing ‘what’s safe’. Having gone through some tough times I found mindfulness and running. Both were hugely influential in turning my life around. Granted I still sit in the office for eight hours a day but those eight hours are spent in a new position I was promoted to as I was not afraid to step up and suggest changes. These changes led to increased productivity which led to a happier workforce!

    In exercise I decided to run that little bit further every day! Push a little harder. Hurt a little more. The rewards outweigh the pain ten times over. And I’ve just completed my 3rd marathon! I don’t know if I’ll go further than that though. Marathons are tough!

    I still think that I have a lot to improve on – to step up to the boss and ask for that payrise. To possibly get a better job that isn’t so ‘safe’. We’ll see….

    As someone somewhere said at some time: “I don’t want to land safely in the grave in a well-preserved body, but rather I’d rather slip in sideways, broken and beaten saying:

    ‘Wow! What a ride!!'”

    • Hi Dan!
      Wow, our stories sound very similar. Exercise and mindfulness practice have both been a BIG help to me.
      Congratulations on completing your marathons! Incredible!
      I appreciate your thoughts and like what I’m hearing from you. Keep it up!
      Best wishes,
      Kevin

  • Hi Kevin

    Great Post and Video.

    I think most us either don’t have the time or are busy worrying about the uncertainty of taking risks. Although we see people succeeding we worry of failure and that will probably always be there to some degree. I think you need to fail lots of times in order to succeed. When you do finally take the risk and succeed the feeling and self fulfilment is amazing.

    I have experienced this with moving to a foreign country for an extended period. It is amazing how much you can learn and the experiences you can have by simply getting out of you comfort zone.

    Cheers

    Chris

    • Hi Chris,
      Thanks very much for those comments. Good for you for making such a bold move! That’s something I’ve not yet done but see a lot of work-related travel in my very near future. It makes me a tad jittery but only because I’m not used to it. So that’s good, I suppose.
      I like what you said about failing lots of time in order to succeed. I think you’re exactly right. Trying and failing IS succeeding, when compared to not trying at all.
      Thanks again and best wishes,
      Kevin

  • Hey Kevin , great article. Life is definitely not worth living without at least little bit of risk. I have taken risks with life’s circumstances all my life with outcomes of failures and reward. I moved out of home at 15 and have fended for myself since. I have a many a time sold everything I have owned and started a fresh, I find this to be very liberating. I have no regrets and I wouldn’t change a thing. I really enjoy reading these sorts of articles thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • Hi Shane!
      Thanks for that. It sounds to me like you’re a very resourceful person, and definitely not afraid of taking a new look at life. Good for you. I admire it.
      I appreciate your kind words. Thanks for stopping in.
      Best wishes,
      Kevin

  • Hey Kevin,
    I quite enjoy reading your articles and this one is another thought provoking one. I agree its crazy people put themselves in danger by taking those kinds of risks yet fear speaking out or taking an opportunity to better themselves in life.
    I find this strange…life’s fill of opportunities and if you sit back you miss out. As I said in one of your other articles, it’s a confidence or self esteem thing. I guess I’ve always had confidence in my ability…so speaking up and acting on an opportunity comes natural to me.
    I get your point and it astounds me.
    Thanks for another great article.
    All the best
    Murray

    • Hi Murray,
      Thank you for your very kind words. I’m grateful. I agree with you: we’re a curious lot, we humans, thinking very little of things that may very well put us in immediate potential danger, yet many of us will our entire lives without every really trying to step out and live life on our own terms because we think that risk is too great. It’s an interesting thing to ponder, I think.
      Thanks again for your visit, Murray
      Best wishes,
      Kevin

  • Kevin,

    What amazes me is that we put more faith into our car protecting us, then we do our God. For believers, anyway.
    When it comes to income safety, Robert Kiyosaki, explains it the best in “Rich dad, Poor Dad.” We will work a 40hr week for 40 years to get a paycheck at a job that we hate because we are afraid to take a risk. Good article.

    Thanks,

    Ed

    • Thanks Ed! Well said re: Kiyosaki’s point. That’s it exactly.
      Be well,
      Kevin

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