Life is all about taking risks. You have to risk it to get the biscuit, right? It’s the saying that comes to my mind nearly every time I hear the word risk. But with risk can come regret or reward.
There are times in life you have to take risks. For example, if you get into a car and drive a daily commute Monday through Friday for work, you take a risk each time you get behind the wheel. Why? Because driving a car is one of the most dangerous things you can do. There are around 10 million car accidents each year, and about 77% of all drivers have been in at least one accident. Talk about risk-taking, and it isn’t the only one we make daily.
Another daily example is pedestrians because merely walking around is a risk. Studies show at least one person gets hit by a car every hour or so. Now, these are risks we don’t have much of a say in taking. If we want to get to our destination, typically, we must drive or walk there. Yet, past the usual everyday suspects of risk, comes a more mind-numbing, emotionally stressing, set of risk factors.
Have you ever switched jobs or career fields and regretted it? Went to or didn’t go to college, and regretted it? Saved or didn’t save money and regretted it? Got or didn’t get a pet and regretted it? Surely, you’ve done at least one, if not all, of these. We all have regrets. You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone in life who hasn’t wished they would’ve done something differently throughout their lives.
Risk versus reward
However, comprehension is vital when it comes to risk versus reward scenarios. We must understand the inherent risks in life that have to be taken, which ultimately shape our character and help us become better people. But perhaps more important is controlling what we can and taking solace in fulfilling our purpose.
We must analyze risk versus reward situations. Write down the pros and cons of an imminent decision. Changes in life will happen. Let’s look at the career example again. As an example, let’s say you have either a husband or wife and kids. At your job, you’re offered a new position in another state. What’s the risk, and what’s the reward? Well, the pros of accepting the role are: more flexibility in working hours and paid time off, no state taxes, excellent schools, affordable housing. The cons are less pay than your current job, higher insurance costs, losing better housing, and leaving the area you raised your family in.
You discuss the matter with your spouse and children, and you’re all unsure what to make of everything. It’s a lot to digest. Firstly, you must look within and think about what you value as a person and want out of this lifetime. While doing so, you should keep the important people of your life in mind. Does your significant other have better career opportunities in the new state? What about your kids’ education? Are you closer to family, or further away? Do you value having more discretionary income or spending time with your family?
Sure, you make more money right now, but how much time do you get to spend with your family to enjoy it? Your kids love their neighborhood but aren’t too fond of their school, and you question the curriculum at times. Should that be a reason you stay or go? You will have to pay more for insurance in your new state but will have no state taxes. Is that a fair trade-off? You’ll have a decent house, but not as extravagant of one as you are currently in—all of these determining factors matter.
Yet, as we dive deeper, we must be cognizant of our morals and ethics. Though the family won’t have as nice of a house if they move, what does it matter if they never get to spend time in it together because the parents are always working, anyway? Less of a salary means fewer vacations, but does that matter if you have more flexibility of working hours at your new job and have more paid time off to enjoy frequently? If the schools are better in the other state, but you have a longer commute to drop your kids off and go to work, is it worth it? Your answers to these questions matter, and ultimately decide what the outcome will be.
Unequivocally, the most critical aspect of risk-taking, in general, is timing. We can look at our example for guidance. Two years ago, you and your family may not have been ready to take on such a daunting task like moving states. You quite possibly didn’t have the finances or resources to do so. Maybe things are going relatively well with your living condition, but you want to move to the other state because you have a loved one who is sick and in need, and you want to be closer to them. Timing is so essential to taking risks, but it’s not everything.
They always say, if you wait around for something to happen to you, you’ll be waiting forever. I am very much an advocate for being the change you wish to see. You can’t just talk about whatever dream you want to pursue; you have to be about it. It brings to mind one of my favorite sayings,
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
As a basketball fan, this quote always stuck with me because it is right in every sense of the words. If you don’t take chances in life, who will do it for you? No one. Taking risks is about being confident, but mainly consists of believing in yourself. You must have faith in yourself and your ability to remain resilient, regardless of your decision’s outcomes. Because sometimes you won’t be happy with your decision. But all it takes is one, one risk that could change the rest of your life and be the best one you’ve ever taken.