What Safety and Risk-Taking Can Learn From Each Other

Enter at your own riskAre you more likely to classify yourself as a risk-taker, always ready and willing to jump at the opportunity to perform feats of derring-do?

Or are you more the safety-conscious risk-averse type who has no objection to being called the boring ‘stick in the mud’ again and again?

Or, perhaps you generally fall somewhere in between those two extremes?

Risk-taking isn’t all about excitement, courage, and adrenaline-fueled variety. And safety isn’t all about boredom, fear, and predictability. Combining attributes of both extremes is what would probably make each a little more realistic, wouldn’t you agree?  Either way, sometimes it is easy to forget that safety and risk-taking do have a somewhat unpredictable relationship with each other.

No Guarantees Either Way

Some people do risky things on a daily basis and other people are overly cautious all the time; both personality types can live long prosperous lives.  Yet neither type is immune to unexpected misfortune, even if one seems to tempt fate far more than the other. Luck and fate plays a role regardless of your risk-aversion levels.

We have all heard stories when luck eventually runs out for seemingly invincible extreme athletes like: free solo climbers, skydivers, Olympic-hopeful freestyle skiers, etc.   And, we have also heard stories of when the most inoculate situations unexpectedly end in tragedy when some poor soul has the misfortune of encountering carelessness or simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Best of Both Worlds

Risk-taking doesn’t need to be reckless. Reckless risk-taking is less about courage than it is about stupidity anyway.  Nothing is really accomplished by tempting fate unless achieving that adrenaline rush is your main objective.  Risk-taking can be made safer and more purposeful with practice, preparation, and planning.  Following safety guidelines does not have to make a situation boring.

Inversely, safety-seekers can learn to enjoy the excitement that comes from pushing the boundaries of safety.  After all, operating outside of your comfort zone is where the benefits of risk-taking will occur, i.e., innovation and entrepreneurship.   With effective planning and practice to anticipate or minimize the effects of something unexpected happening along the way, riskier waters can be skillfully navigated.

No One Is Immortal

Either way, we do learn more from challenges than we do from the status quo, right? Why not embrace the lesson-learning character-building benefits of risk-taking by expecting that the potential for errors or failures will always exist as a part of life anyway and take some calculated risks.

In the end, no one is immortal, safety-conscious or not.  Trusting one mode without respecting the other will always be at your own peril.


Photo Credit: title=”Enter at your own risk” by shawnzrossi, on Flickr.com

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