Where’s the Function Key for “Risk”?

When I saw the greeting card pictured here while out shopping with a friend, I busted out laughing so loudly, I gave my friend a start. The card now sits prominently on my desk at home (I wouldn’t dare display this on my desk at work. It doesn’t inspire confidence in those who are in positions that require they follow my lead).

I am not a risk taker for the sake of throwing caution to the wind.  In my humble opinion, to be that juiced is delusional. It seems not just careless, but indicative of a certain level of impatience and laziness. Nevertheless, I can’t help but envy those who exemplify, “with great risk comes great reward.” Actually, the people I admire are those who embody “with great risk comes no reward, in fact it completely failed, but, whatever, I’ll try again, or maybe just move on to the next thing.” They have a moxey I don’t.

When I’m inspired; not just daydreaming, but truly inspired, I am a risk-taker. I’m motivated to leap forward and take a chance. But mostly I fall into the, “I find the prospect intriguing, so it might be worth investigating” category, which means I’m a calculated risk-taker. I study, research, discuss, plan, and when I’ve exhausted all that effort, I take a little bunny hop into action. That’s why the greeting card cracked me up, because for all my planning, etc., I don’t hit the mark as often as I would like (plus, truly, I am bad with mathematics).

It’s not that genuine risk-takers neglect preparation. They just don’t use it like a safety harness, the way I do. If pushed, gamblers will admit to taking precautions, and will agree that skill—the kind that comes from a certain amount of preparation and training—is a solid foundation from which to set forward with taking risk.

But no one can call a genuine risk-taker, “calculated.” What sets apart calculated risk-takers and all-out risk-takers is spirit and confidence. Risk-takers are trail blazers. They give the rest of us the assurance that having faith in the untried is as important as the calculated risk-takers’ need to first assess the realm of possibility. For that reason, I am encouraged by genuine risk-takers.

Regardless my admiration, I will probably always remain as I am, for as Warren Buffet is credited as saying, “Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.”  However, I try to push myself, because I think the following quote attributed to Ray Bradbury embraces the spirit of having faith in one’s ability: “…risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down.”

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