This is a post on the current theme of risk from community correspondent Marilena.
As an overprotected, only-child coming from a Greek family, I am not sure that I am the right person to speak about taking risks. I was never really encouraged to take risks in life and many times the outcomes were at my expense. I would like to tell you that taking risks has made me move forward in life as it has helped me get rid of a somewhat nurtured rigidity. Most importantly though, I have re-evaluated through the years what it means to take a risk. At the first glance we can be certain about one thing about risk itself: it involves a potential hazardous effect and it comes with an opportunity.
In addition to that, risk is always subjective; it cannot be perceived in a fully rational matter as the way we react to it is mainly emotional and complex; it reflects our values and confidence. For example, I do not value convention or predicting outcomes so it is easier for me to take challenges than other people. Equally, when I don’t feel confident, risk is not something that I am going to take as easily. Therefore, we can see that taking risks is not only about the risk itself but more importantly is about how we are in the given moment and how we want to be.
I used to assume that risk is something more-or-less concrete. For example, quitting your job, getting a divorce, starting a business are risks. Unfortunately, though, the most important risks that we face in life are not concrete but involve great danger with no significant positive outcomes. If we want to be honest, risk is something a lot more abstract and nothing really in life comes without a risk. Ironically, doing nothing is by itself a risk! Speaking on the phone while driving, having a bad diet, avoiding exercise, smoking, being in bad relationships are far greater risks than starting a business or moving to another country. The problem is that these risks do not feel risky but instead, come with instant gratification.
Reading this, one could think “Is she over-reacting?”
I honestly don’t think I am! Living in a time of such information, many of us fail to live a protected life and properly educate ourselves about real dangers. To be conscious about every choice we make is very hard and to take life seriously requires a lot of work. Additionally, a lot of reflection is required as every choice has its pros and cons. When we realise that we have the responsibility to protect ourselves and live a happy life, we can place ourselves in situations that can bring us positive outcomes.
‘Fitting in’ and ‘feeling good for some moments’ will never feel as good as being proud of myself about my conscious decisions in order to move towards a better direction. When my mum used to be overprotective during my childhood, it was because she cared about me. Now it is time for me and you to care about ourselves but also take well-calculated risks in order to progress.