By Kevin Thomson – Staff Writer
I’m reading a book called "Chancing
It - Why we take risks" by Ralph Keyes a book
about the risk takers of the world. We all know the
definition of risk, right? Well, at least we all
know how risk applies to ourselves. That’s
because it’s a very personal thing. We all
take risks and avoid others. Keyes suggests that "Often
the risks we avoid say more about who we are than
those we take".
Apparently the biggest problem Mr. Keyes faced when
writing his book was to get the people he was interviewing
admit that they took risks at all. He spoke with
skydivers, artists, high-wire walkers, strippers,
businessmen and families. Even the wildest stunt
or adventure was not deemed ‘risky’ in
the eyes of the person doing it.
This sounds strange at first, but consider the fact
that we all have choices. What’s riskier -
to skydive from an airplane, or to climb a wall of
ice? If you choose to look at these activities purely
from statistics, they are both safer than driving
to work. Do you consider yourself a risk-taker as
you drive to work? Probably not. We have convinced
ourselves that it is safe.
Herein lies the problem of defining risk. It’s
only as risky as you believe it to be. I recently
watched a video about extreme skiing. One of the
skiers was providing some tips. One was "Don’t
listen to other people tell you what you can’t
do, because they’re only telling you what they
Risk is personal. An important point in the book
was in evolutionary terms. "For 99 percent of
human existence, danger, fear and the need to confront
fear were our daily companions. We were risk takers
because we had to be." Now we are risk takers
as we desire. And to some degree, we all desire risk.
For some, it may be riskier to deal with the guilt
of being too scared to do an ice climb, than to actually
climb the darned thing. So they take the easy way
out and climb it. For others, the concept of climbing
ice terrifies them so much, they drive to their favorite
ski hill on the most dangerous road in the area and
go skiing to forget they ever heard of ice climbing.
Say no more to risk avoiding excuses... Take a moment
to consider the risks that you’re already taking
in your life. Your career, your relationship, your
sports, your pastimes, your education, your future.
Whether you think so or not, each decision you have
made in each of these areas are all risks.
Ask yourself if taking these risks have made you
feel better about yourself, and your control over
your life. If the answer is yes, then please make
sure you keep taking them. If the answer is no, then
take some more and check again. Risks are powerful,
and risks are part of your life. Take control. Seize
Visit the Ralph Keyes website at: