Life rewards the risk takers among us. This message used to be captured in the American spirit, but somehow our society seems to have replaced this “go get ‘em” attitude recently with a lackadaisical “play it safe” message.
However, history tells us that to succeed in life, you have to be willing to take risks. You have to have courage.
Risk Takers and Love
Consider the example of the bold guy versus the shy guy. The bold guy asks the pretty girl out and she accepts. They date for a year or two and she’s attracted to his daring spirit. They get married and they live happily ever after.
The shy guy, not willing to take the risk of rejection, stays home eating pizza on the couch lamenting the fact that he didn’t ask out the same pretty girl and that now she is taken. He carries this regret and many other regrets with him throughout his whole life. He knows his life would be better if he could only muster up enough courage to take risks.
We’ve all been through similar personal situations where we debated in our minds the risk versus reward. If you think about it, it’s almost always the people who are willing to take risks who get ahead in life whether it be in personal relationships or in business. Risk leads to reward. Always playing it safe leads to a life of missed opportunities.
Taking Risks in Business
Consider the woman who has been a loyal employee of the same company for seven years, never called in sick, and never missed a day. Her boss has a reputation for being hard-nosed and difficult to deal with. Should she march into his office, remind this guy of all she does for the company, and ask for a promotion and a raise?
There’s definite risk involved. Her boss may think she’s unhappy in her current job and salary level and make her life miserable at work or even find a way to dismiss her out of spite.
On the other hand, if she gets the promotion, it means a $10,000 a year raise and much nicer office with a window.
Risk takers would look at this situation and think, “nothing ventured nothing gained.” They would go for it and they’d probably get the raise and the nice office. A woman not willing to assert herself will stay in the same lower paying job in the boring cubicle for many years to come—afraid to take risks.
Famous Risk Takers
Most people don’t realize it, but Warren Buffett invested in highly volatile companies in his very early investing days—contrary to the teachings of his mentor Benjamin Graham. He took substantial risks in his investments and look where it got him. He’s now one of the richest people in the world. Since then, of course, he has fine-tuned his strategy and focuses on growth instead of immediate profit.
Not only has the Oracle of Omaha succeeded for himself; he has left an indelible mark on society with his philanthropic activities plus his investment philosophies have changed the worldview on investing. People hang on his every word!
Entrepreneurs who are willing to take risks make the world go round! They change the world forever.
A lot of people thought Jeff Bezos was crazy when he quit his lucrative job on Wall Street to start Amazon, now one of the most successful businesses of all time. Keep in mind that this was in 1994 when internet businesses were considered a pipe dream by many, so it was a much riskier move than it would be today. In taking this risk, Jeff Bezos pioneered broad scale e-commerce. It is thought that the internet would not be what it is today without Mr. Bezos’ contributions.
The fact is that leaders have specific qualities. One of the qualities that come to mind about a true leader is someone who is brave. They have courage not only to stand up for what is right and defend the team, but also to try new things. They are willing to put it all on the line in order to take things to another level instead of stagnate.
Leaders tolerate risk. Lemmings crumble under it.
I’ll leave you with one final thought. The next time you are wondering if taking a risk is worth it or not, look up in the sky and wave at the plane flying overhead. The Wright brothers were the ultimate risk takers, thought to be crazy by many, and look how they changed the world. They are historical legends who will never be forgotten for their gift to the world.
Risk leads to reward, not only for the individual(s) taking the risk, but for society at large.