The worst thing that happens to us when we grow up is we realize the meaning of “risk.” Risk is the potential loss after committing an action. In 1957, Parker Brothers released a board game called Risk where players take turns trying to achieve world domination while moving their infantry around a political map of the world. That certainly involves risk.
Risk is something we don’t think about when we’re kids. We are quite aware of consequence – logical outcomes of our behavior, such as “If I don’t clean my room Mommy will get mad,” and so forth. But we don’t think about risk. We don’t think that we will lose anything because we took a chance. Giving our second grade crush a flower will not result in us losing our faith in love. Saving our money for a baseball glove will not result in us losing our life savings when we find out we have no hand-eye coordination. Fighting Billy after class will not make us worry about having a bad reputation, and climbing a tree could cause us to break our arm, but who really breaks their arm? Or so we think.
There is a risk behind almost everything we do, but innocence–or ignorance–blinds us from seeing it. And naturally, the older we become the more serious the risk involved in our daily lives. The knowledge of risk is not entirely bad. It can cause us to think about our decisions and make wiser choices. It can also make us hesitant and stop us from taking chances:
What if this goes wrong? What could I lose? If I lose this I will never get it back. It’s just too much RISK.
All of these thoughts go through our mind when we are faced with a choice or an opportunity, and all too often the weight of risk wins out. I started thinking about risk because this summer I am working for a local art business that is opening its first location. When someone decides to open a small business the level of risk is sky-high. People put their money, jobs, retirement, and livelihood on the line to make a dream reality. And why not? The opportunity is there, and trust me–it won’t come around twice.
I am blessed to have a heart that can easily and fully believe in dreams. I don’t take that lightly or claim it as my own. I tend to think that if I set my mind to something, it’s going to happen. Why wouldn’t it? Of course, there have been many times when it didn’t, many times when I had to submit my will to God’s. Perhaps my youth keeps me from being discouraged. However, I believe that if you want something and you’re willing to work for it, you can gladly have it. Isn’t that the American Dream?
This summer, I’m learning that great risk does not mean take the path of least resistance and stop going after your dreams. Sometimes risk may leave you worse off than you are now, but not all the time. Have you ever thought about the risk of not taking a risk? What could you fail to gain if you never took the chance of losing something?
Great risk means great reward. And by reward I don’t mean just money, fame, and fortune. Reward may be pride, satisfaction, peace of mind, provision. Reward may be the day when you wake up and your dream is no longer a dream; it’s real. And even then, you keep running.
Cover Image courtesy of mrpuen /FreeDigitalPhotos.net
“It doesn’t matter if you are the lion or the gazelle, when the sun comes up, you better be moving.” Roger Bannister