“If we listened to our intellect, we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go in business because we’d be cynical: “It’s gonna go wrong.” Or “She’s going to hurt me.” Or, “I’ve had a couple of bad love affairs, so therefore…” Well, that’s nonsense. You’re going to miss life. You’ve got to jump off the cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down.” ~ Ray Bradbury, Words of Wisdom …
It may seem a bit confusing to hear that we should plan for the future, while at the same time, be told that we should live like there is no tomorrow. Yet both of these lines of thought are proposed to us repeatedly in life. And while at the surface they may seem mutually exclusive, they are not, for all opportunity in life requires risk–risk that stimulates growth, confidence, understanding, and acceptance. And although there is a certain amount of security in knowing where things are and what might happen next, true security in life is a myth–we cannot control life, we can only better prepare ourselves to deal with and overcome the obstacles we encounter. Thus to gain any level of security, we must be willing to take risks to grow and become more than we are today.
Perhaps you avoid risks because you fear death, loss, suffering, or the unknown. After all, people can hurt us, relationships can fall apart, and we can face embarrassment, failure, and loss. But that does not mean we should put up walls to keep others away from us; there is no love to be found there. And avoiding taking risks because we fear failure or loss only perpetuates the cycle of avoidance of opportunities; we could easily rationalize our lives away in such a manner. Furthermore, both agony and ecstasy coexist in our lives, and we can never feel the joy and wonder of having taken a risk and changed our lives without the contrast of having taken a risk that did not end as we had hoped or planned.
Life is never easy. But we are wonderful and resilient beings full of infinite potential. We can deal with the pain if we allow ourselves to grow, blossom, and bloom into the wonderful and unique individuals we are created to be. And although our intellect might tell us that if we jump off a cliff, we might die. How often do we think about what will happen to us in the long run if we do not jump off any cliffs at all? Perhaps we might get a few bumps and bruises; but then again… perhaps we will soar!
Open up to others, take a disciplined risk, embark on a new journey. Live your life!
Questions to consider:
Why do we value our intellects so much?
Who teaches us to avoid risk? Is such a lesson of any true value?
What might happen if you jumped off a cliff and took a risk? Would you build your wings on the way down?
For further thought:
“Any life truly lived is a risky business, and if one puts up too many fences against the risks one ends by shutting out life itself.” ~ Kenneth Sydney Davis