Risk: It’s Safer Than Comfort

If you want to get it right, you must first be willing to get it wrong. There is no life without risk, only existence.

But what you find on the other side of risk is that it is actually much far more enjoyable to make a mistake in the pursuit of something – and then work out how to fix it – than it is to give into inertia, and to be so afraid of getting anything wrong that you refuse to act unless you can foresee and prevent in advance every little thing that might go awry. Not only is this approach futile – only Gods are blessed with such omniscience – it is exhausting.

When you calmly accept that a good life involves risk, and that you can never be 100% certain on anything, and that literally the only thing you can do is just make your best guess in every moment, then day by day, scene by scene, you may well appear to be taking two steps forward and one step back.

Perfect. You’re still moving foward. And you’re doing it a lot quicker than if the only time you ever take forward steps is when you are completely certain that you can rule out backward steps.

If this is you – and I can say this because I admit that more often than not, it’s me – then I hate to be the one to tell you, but there are snails making more out of their lives than you are.

Err on the side of taking risks. Firstly, because you never know – it might work out. Secondly, because if it doesn’t work out, you will handle it. And then you’ll be stronger and wiser than if you’d never took the risk in first place. You cannot lose.

Taking risks is, ironically, the least risky way to live.

In going where you have to go, and doing what you have to do, and seeing what you have to see, you dull and blunt the instrument you write with.

But I would rather have it bent and dull and know I had to put it on the grindstone and hammer it into shape and put a whetstone to it, and know that I had something to write about, than to have it bright and shining and nothing to say, or smooth and well-oiled in the closet, but unused.

Ernest Hemingway – Preface to “The First Forty-Nine”

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