I have lived a highly risk-averse life.
- Risk is defined by Google as a situation involving exposure or danger.
- According to Investopedia risk is the chance that an investment’s actual return will be different from expected. Risk includes the possibility of losing some or all of the original investment. Different versions of risk are usually measured by calculating the standard deviation of the historical returns or average returns of a specific investment. A high standard deviation indicates a high degree of risk.
I have used the second definition most of my life. I’ve made every decision calculating my returns, completed a cost benefit analysis on love, jobs, experiences and relationships. If I didn’t like the results of the equation, if my losses were to great and the returns not high enough. I approached the person, place or experience like a scientist calculating my best exit with the least amount of personal loss.
This method has failed. I woke-up one day realizing I had lost some of the best years, opportunities and people in my life.
I realized for myself this was no way to live a passionate, mission and purpose-driven life. Notice I didn’t use the word job. In my opinion, a job is the sibling of risk-aversion and the antithesis of ‘living a full life’. Work tends to define us and usually by the most inconsequential set of skills we possess. We are greater than these sum of these skill-sets, but continue to allow ourselves to be defined and trapped by them. Jobs also provide us an idea/identity of safety. We will do anything to protect this safety net, including avoiding risk, i.e. living a risk-averse life.
I’m not saying all jobs or a job is bad, but sometimes we become so defined by the job that we forget to attempt happiness. I don’t mean the happiness that comes on the 15 and 30, every two weeks, in a beer, a cupcake or a kiss; ask yourself, what makes you happy in between those paychecks and fleeting moments?
If you live this calculated and risk-averse life, there are hundreds of opportunities you will miss out on. You may wonder how I can say hundreds? Well if you consider that every moment of your life is an opportunity, than hundreds is actually too low. Consider that when you step out of your door each morning that you can trip, fall and break your leg. This could change your entire life. Your life will not be changed just because of the injury, but it will most definitely change your choices, thinking and perception of yourself.
Maybe prompting you to view life as a continual leg-breaking experience…living a risk-averse life. Defining yourself as ‘injured’ in someway.
It’s this new perception of yourself as ‘injured’, that is the problem. This is my definition of living a risk-averse life: walking around with a perception of yourself as: ‘injured’, ‘limited’, and ‘not-enough’. You don’t believe you have/are ‘enough’ to do whatever it is you want. You don’t believe you’re talented enough, smart enough, driven enough, artistic enough, etc. I’m sure you can fill in your own ________.
This is what living a risk-averse life is like. You hold onto everything tightly for fear of breaking something. You make safe decisions all the time. You make decisions that will never breed ingenuity. Ingenuity can’t be created when there is a safety-lid on your imagination.
What I believe and now know: You can’t BREAK your life.
You can make mistakes, you can fail even, but your life is not broken. The perception of a broken ‘self’ is just that. If this is true for you, as it was once for me, YOU can fix it.
Defy Fear. Fulfill your Destiny. Chase your Dreams. Are you defying the risk averse life? Tell us about!
by Sontaia P.Briggs