Risk and Risk Aversion

Just discovered this poem which is very relevant for me (and maybe you too?)


To laugh is to risk appearing the fool,
To weep is to risk being called sentimental.
To reach out to another is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk showing your true self.
To place your ideas and your dreams before the crowd is to risk being called naive.
To love is to risk not being loved in return,
To live is to risk dying,
To hope is to risk despair,
To try is to risk failure

But risks must be taken, because the greatest risk in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow or love.
Chained by his certitude, he is a slave; he has forfeited his freedom.
Only the person who risks is truly free.

Often attributed to the poet and thinker, Leo Buscaglia, the real author of this inspirational verse is Janet Rand.


5 thoughts on “Risk and Risk Aversion

  1. Hi Amanda, This has got me reflecting on the word risk. I don’t use the word risk, I am not sure why but I feel I never say to myself I am going to risk that, because when I do eventually gain courage to do something I am afraid of I have come to a realisation of the possible outcomes from the action I may want to take, it is not so much a risk but a fear based challenge to step in a direction that I feel is going forward. I am finding it hard to explain my feelings eg. When I started speaking some truth to people, I already knew the possible outcomes, or most likely outcomes, so it was very likely I would lose certain friends and family etc, due to the fact I felt I placated them for so long to keep them as friends and knew somewhere inside the reason I hadn’t been honest for so long was because they would take it badly. So it wasn’t a risk more of a likelihood (or assessment of the fear based outcomes) and having the courage to do it anyway, but maybe the risk is not knowing what comes after, will I be alone forever, are there people out there that like the new more honest me. I don’t know. I mean if we know the outcomes of the risk ie, breaking the law, we know we could go to jail. Is it really a risk or just us hoping to avoid the real outcome that most likely will occur from our actions. Because then it becomes a decision of, is what I wish to do more loving than what may arise in response that I am afraid of? Oh dear I don’t think I am being very clear, but thank you for this post.

  2. ps. But in the end the outcome (although seemingly hard and scary because of our fears) is always pleasant if we step towards love and god, so really there are no risks involved 😮

    • Hi Laura thank you lots for your insights. I always learn lots from you. The risk for me was that for a long time I had an intellectual fascination and hunger for God and for information about Jesus. Gradually my emotions became involved and it started to hurt to be a christian. In my little circle I didn’t see this happening to anyone else except perhaps when they were going through a difficult life event. When I found these teachings my fear of experiencing pain is/was a huge barrier and that felt like a huge risk plus my shame and embarrassment about having a desire for God was weighing me down.

      • Oops plus the big emotion of loving a male daddy figure as God carries with it lots of feelings of betrayal of the rest of my family. I still feel I am risking punishment, disapproval and ridicule if I love God and absolute condemnation and excommunication if I have any contact with God. These are the family emotions projected onto me of course and my unwillingness to feel my own childhood terrors. When we’ve lost one parent’s love then the prospect of losing the others feels too much of a risk.

      • I have been reflecting on what i said to you and what you just said i just want to add in the hope that this helps that i have started to let myself feel the actuality that these things will happen. If i am afraid of it happening then it most likely will (and from some of my facebook posts you know it has). For me stepping towards God has been less of an issue in how people think i am a Christian or judge me for believing in God. Those things i am finding less painful it is more that people don’t accept me for me, that people criticise but dont want to help, that i have sacrificed love for myself and for God because of my terror that i should sacrifice my happiness to keep others from feeling bad and from them projecting that negativity towards me or holding on to fear that keeps me from experiencing these projections from others when i do step towards God. In the end after a big knock on the head with a vomit thing the last 3 days i just have a lot of fear and terror to allowing these things to occur and how will i grow if i don’t take God’s hand and let myself experience what i need to to change. I feel i have had to allow excommunication to occur if it has flowed that way (there isn’t a way around it the only way is to go through it) and for relationships to dissolve and be rebuilt even if it takes years. With the view that God is there and is helping me rebuild my life in a better way with love and because i cant see what is out the other end while i am experiencing it, it is really faith that God loves me and by taking God’s hand i will always end up in a better place. I am finding that the more i act towards the thing or things that i know gods love would do, and go through the process above the more i am finding a closeness to God forming through it too. If you take God’s hand, even if you are blind going through the process you wont get lost. 🙂

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