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Mondays Mean More: Risk

Whenever I think of "risk" I think of two things. 1. The board game. and 2. Men playing it. Risk is unavoidably male in my mind. Men playing games that last for days. Strategizing. Plotting. Trying to take over the world.

I've never played. I've never wanted to. I think I've always assumed that I'll be overtaken after a careless calculation or oversight. Or that it will drag on forever, I'll get bored, throw my chips in and be officially laboured Loser: Non-Ruler of the World.

(Interestingly, my dad has an old, old game that is similar to Risk called Diplomacy. But it seems to me that Diplomacy is quite a different game. In this board game, you should be making alliances and bartering for connections between countries. If you wanted to form diplomatic relations with Great Britain, it would cost you more than say, Spain. Bringing Iran into your fold of friends would require a very specific set of goods to trade and careful manoeuvrings with other countries. It would be a matter of careful consideration, patience, and weighing the pros and cons. Instead of the winner being the conquerer of all, the winner would be the person with the most friendly relations.

Come to think of it, this would make a great board game. I should pitch this idea to someone. Right after I finish pitching my best-ever reality TV show idea.)

Anyway, the point that I'm trying to get to is that I'm not a huge risk taker. And I've been thinking about this a lot, especially since I read the book Courage. This quote has been haunting me:
Courage doesn't depend on practical outcomes, risk versus gains analysis, or collateral impact on others - that's pragmatism. Pragmatism is the application of practicality, utility and consequences to decision making. Courage is addressing wrongs in the face of fear, regardless of consequences, of risk to self, or of potential practical gains.
I'm a pragmatist. And while pragmatism is not wrong (in fact, I think it's often wise), pragmatism falls short. It means that I take the tiny but guaranteed "successes" over massive but uncertain gains. Every time.

I fear failure and hold back in order to avoid it. Or at least, to try avoiding it. It seems to find me anyway. But I don't want to live my life this way. I want to do the things that I believe are best (it's not always a matter of right/wrong) even when I don't know if I'll succeed. I want to be willing to make mistakes. I want to stand up for what I think is right even if it gets me nowhere.

So where do I start? How do I bring a healthy dose of risk into my life? How do I move towards courage?


Anonymous said…
I don't like Risk either. Much too boring. Monopoly is tons better.

Anyway, risk in life. Courage. To be honest, to some extent much of what others have seen as courage, I've generally thought through pretty pragmatically. It seemed to be the best option at the time. Whether that was leaving a job, or moving to Africa for a time, or asking a girl out.

There is generally an acknowledgement that often there is much to lose, but there is a security in the knoweldge that i'll never lose so much that I'll drop through the bottom and that my life is secure in the arms of someone who aint gonna drop me.

Since I started viewing my faith as a journey and that I am a follower of the Way, rather than simply a labelled Christian, i've found it much easier to take risks and worry less about potential consequences. The destination never changes. A little stumble and a bloody knee because I tripped on a branch of the path that looked like it had a better view, might slow me down a little, but the glory of the ultimate goal will still be the same.
nadine said…
Risk scares me. Which is weird to admit considering I recently quit my job to work FOR FREE, ready to jump into the unknown with no real safety net.

For me, the most difficult thing is figuring out what I actually want. Because I want my risk-taking to make sense. I want it to reflect who I am and who God's called me to be. I want it to count.

Maybe this little career risk is my "practice story" before embarking on something even greater....

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