I watched this confident paraglider soar above my head in December, steering his soundless contraption to a successful landing not far from where I was standing. It was hypnotic to observe the skill and ease with which the paraglider slid through the sky. He would have come from the highest point of 1950 metres, and descended leisurely to where I was at 1000 metres.
In a more youthful rendition of myself, I fancied a parachute jump. I wanted to know the sensation of flying freely through the air. Then as years take hold, our priorities shift, and our risk-taking impetus dims. Still I looked up at the gracious flight of the paraglider… wondering how risky it might be to try.
Risk is defined as ‘a situation involving exposure to danger’ or ‘the possibility that something unpleasant or unwelcome will happen’. Most of us have probably experienced the impact of one or the other, even both at some point in our lives or careers. The words danger, unpleasant and unwelcome are hardly motivators for a propensity to take risks. So why do we?
Confident or regular risk-takers press on undaunted. They are wired to see potential, rather than danger. They test, review, and adapt their course if blighted. The risks outweigh the crushing alternative of waiting fearfully for life to happen to them.
By taking risks – even reasonable ones – say by choosing a particular career path, or business venture that comes with higher risk of failure than say a more obvious, safer route to earn a living, we nonetheless feel more in control. More enlivened. By the possibilities, the potential, the prospects for a more interesting, more rewarding work life. We create value in the path chosen, and are happy to beat back the undergrowth barring our progress. Because the risk of failure outweighs the crushing alternative of waiting for life to come to us. It’s only when the blade of our scythes becomes so blunted by our efforts, we must re-evaluate the risks of continuing on this path. Pressing on senselessly, or hoping for some miraculous break through is not in the risk-takers’ DNA. They are sharp. Like the scythes cutting their fresh path. At any given point on the journey they take stock, weighing up options. Sometimes, more often than they’d care to admit, the only option is to put down the tools, and look for another way out.
Do they regret the risk they took, now the outcome has proven unfruitful? How do they reconcile the efforts furnished and the failed attempt? The operative word here being ‘attempt’. They tried. They saw an opportunity with potential and gave it a thorough go. That is to be applauded. In itself.
Here’s to all the undaunted risk-takers out there who never regret their failures.
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© Amanda Yensa Manor 2016