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The Biggest Risk

Like many people, I enjoy reading a wide range of books, newspapers, websites and blogs.

And probably like you, I don’t always have the time I’d like to dedicate to learning more about this world we live in.

Unfortunately no one has advertised to date for a job as an ‘inveterate, voracious, self-selective reader’.

Well I suppose ‘editor’ might be partially there, but even most editors have to: 1) focus on their niche and read articles and manuscripts in the genre that are coming in, and 2) make corrections, suggestions, rewrite directions and well, umm, edit.

Ditto for book reviewer. I can tell you it’s great when you get to choose the books you want to review, but no one’s throwing throwing gobs of money at you when you do. Or even mini gobs of cash (would that make them ‘goblets’?). And paid reviewers don’t always have a say in what they have to review.

So anyway, back to my original point. I like to read on a wide-ranging array of subjects. Recently I stumbled upon a fun blog, Tyler Tervooren’s Advanced Riskology.

I was intrigued by the tagline ‘Better Living Through Uncertainty’. A man after my own heart.

Because as much as I like to control as many aspects of my environment as the next person (and oh yes, I sure do try), I also know that our greatest growth comes not from control, but out of those uncomfortable moments of uncertainty, chaos, freefall.

Tyler has what he calls his 1% list in which he lays out his personal and professional goals to live life to the fullest doing challenging things that less than 1% of people will ever do.

[It's essentially an inverted Bucket List like Alice's: rather than list what you'd still like to do when time is dwindling or running out, it's a (perhaps similar) list of what you'd like to do if time weren't an issue, when you're young and starting out and think you have all the time in the world.]

Tyler provides a monthly update to his readers as to his progress toward achieving any/all of his goals. Which is rather cool, in my opinion, to insist on public accountability for what sometimes can be private goals.

Earlier this month (June) he reported on May progress on his 1% list. At the end he posed an interesting question: What has been the biggest risk you’ve ever taken, and how has it changed your life?

It got me thinking about a number of different things, times I’ve knowingly and unknowingly taken risks. Times I’ve gambled big on something, certain that because my actions were in alignment with my intentions, it would all work out.

As I was sifting through the possibilities — deciding between two different schools and courses of study when I went to graduate school; saying yes to a couple of exciting but risky new jobs when the so-called ‘wiser’ choice would have been to continue in the current high-profile position; walking away from my career at its peak to try something completely new; moving abroad; becoming a writer — it suddenly dawned on me.

I’d often chosen the ‘higher risk’ option. Not always, but often.

Why? It felt right.

I had an abiding faith that it would work out: I’d do my best, give it my all, and live with the consequences. I truly believed that whatever happened would be for the best, even if it didn’t feel that way at the time.

Sometimes the roll of the dice has paid off handsomely. Sometimes, not so much. Other times I’ve ended up at what feels like a dead end.

But deep down inside I know that what I’ve learned and experienced along the way have more than made up for whatever ‘setback’ I may think I’ve encountered.

So I guess I’d say that my biggest risk has been to remain open to choices and opportunities.

Akin to Robert Frost’s ‘The Road Not Taken’.

And it’s made all the difference in my life.

What about you? What is the biggest risk you’ve taken, and how has it changed your life??

[Image credit: Salvatore Vuono's portfolio 659, freedigitalphotos.net]

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