Taking Risks … Are You Scared Riskless?

Tiger vs ElephantNothing ventured, nothing gained.

Chances are, this tiger can’t take down an elephant by itself. And the chances are, he’s going to get shot in the process. But if he can pull this off, everybody with stripes is gonna be eating real good for quite a while.

That’s risk. Plain and simple.

There are all different kinds of risk. There’s reckless abandon, calculated risk, there’s rolling the dice and betting the farm. There’s taking a chance and knowing you’re going to lose. There’s taking a chance and knowing you can’t.

Most of the risks that manage to stare us down are pretty small. There’s not much to lose and a lot to gain, but we still can’t take the risk because of perspective. We believe we’re going to lose a lot more than we will. The truth is, almost anything you can imagine, but can’t do, has been done by someone else who took the risk and made it happen.

And every risk you take, no matter how small, no matter whether you win or lose, teaches you that. Here’s an old ad I clipped out of Rolling Stone a long time ago:

Too often we are scared.
Scared of what people might think if we tried.
We let our fears stand in the way of our hopes.
We say no when we want to say yes.
We sit quietly when we want to scream.
And we shout with the others,
when we should keep our mouths shut.
After all,
we do only go around once.
There’s really no time to be afraid.
So stop.
Try something you’ve never tried.
Risk it.
Enter a triathalon.
Write a letter to the editor.
Demand a raise.
Call winners at the toughest court.
Throw away your television.
Bicycle across the country.
Try bobsledding.
Try anything.
Speak out against the designated hitter.
Travel to a country where you don’t speak the language.
Patent something.
Call her.
You have nothing to lose
and everything
everything to gain.


Go on. Get out of here. Go take a risk. And I’ll promise you one thing …

Maybe you won’t pull it off. But if you do, everybody with stripes is gonna be eating real good for quite a while.

14 thoughts on “Taking Risks … Are You Scared Riskless?”

  1. A great, inspirational article. I have decided to run the London Marathon on 22nd April. I am not an athlete by any stretch of the imagination, but I have committed myself to raising £1200 (approx $2000) for charity. Is there a risk of failure? Perhaps. But I am going to succeed. I am determined to do it.

    The same applies in business – if you do not take risks, you will not make those huge successes.

  2. Hi Shane

    Sheesh yes I sure have been in training. Not being a runner before I applied has certainly opened my eyes to the stresses put on your body by running such long distances! Wish me luck for the 22nd!

  3. Wow awesome article you got there..it’s very inspirational. I’m going to save that as well! And it’s absolutely right, you need to take risks. You don’t want to live life and later on regret for not trying something…

    “We let our fears stand in the way of our hopes.” Very true indeed. Fear of what people will think and fear of the outcome… I need to overcome some of those..

  4. Regret is for the things behind you. When you look forward and move forward, regret doesn’t exist.

    Feel the fear and do it anyway Gregg!

  5. I have at least three friends who spend at least a third of any friday night beer session describing the startup they ‘might just do one day’. It’s always a different idea, they vary from awful to genuinely interesting. What stops them? Fear. Huge waste of potential.

  6. I’ve got a few friends like that Steve. And … I can raise my own hand up and plead guilty as well. We all can.

    These days, I try to look at it like this: If it’s a little scary, it must be worth doing!

  7. Pingback: Stuff - Zoomstart
  8. If memory serves me correctly, that Nike came out around 1990. I clipped the ad out of a magazine and saved it for years. Then I lost it. I thought I would never see it again, but then here it is on your blog. Awesome.

  9. Hey MBI,

    I had that Nike ad on my wall at one time. I eventually threw it into a file with a bunch of other clippings and had to go on a little hunt through my junk to find it.

    It’s always cool when you find something inspiring that you thought you’d never see again.

  10. This is an amazing artical and it has taught me a great lesson. Have fun on your marathon, and mabye when your done you cant stop!

Comments are closed.