wavy pattern

what do you think about risk?

how just one sentence got me thinking differently

- Posted byHannah Miller

There’s been so much in the news and on the socials over the last few weeks about vaccines, vaccine rollout, vaccine safety, anti-vaxxers, vaccine hesitancy, vaccine efficacy and many other long words and concepts. Don’t worry – I am not going to get into it today, but one sentence in a particular post from a doctor friend of mine got me thinking.

Everything in life is about risk and reward.

I stopped and thought about this and realised that this simple statement sums up a great deal of human behaviour. We are constantly working out the balance of risk and reward and in every situation we find ourselves in, from the personal to the professional, from family to finance, from the heart to the mind.

The concept of risk and reward originates in investment and enterprise. Any investor or entrepreneur knows that with each business decision there is a trade-off between risk and reward. You cannot guarantee that your investment will make a return, you may lose it all. You cannot ensure that your new business idea is going to work – even great concepts don’t always make it. When embarking on investment and innovation, there is a whole load of risk involved: financial loss, reputational damage, lack of security, business failure and a whole heap of wasted time. So why on earth do people do it? Well sometimes it’s because they are convinced it will work (and it doesn’t) but ultimately it is down to the trade off with potential reward. There’s a considerable amount of potential reward when you start out, too: financial return, autonomy, freedom, security and opportunity to leave a legacy.

Each business decision involves a weighing up of the risk, a weighing up of the return, and making a choice.

But so much more of life is actually based upon this concept, whether we realise it or not. Our attitude to risk and reward, our attitude to safety and adventure, opportunity and security shapes the way we lead our life.

Take love. When you embark on a relationship, it’s about risk and reward. There’s the decision to be made between holding back (because this might end and leave me in tatters) and let’s go all in (because this could be it and be the most important relationship I will ever have). Take friendship. It’s not that dissimilar – I can choose to trust a friend or colleague, let them in to my internal world where the reward is depth of relationship, collegiality. The risk is of course broken trust, disappointment and a lack of reciprocity.

Now let’s take our dreams. Our hopes, ambitions, goals for the future.

This is all about risk and reward. Do you stay put, doing what you’re doing, continuing along the path that you are on? Or do you push the boat out, go for that new role, take that opportunity, discover your purpose, do that further education (*insert own personal dream here). Of course, there are risks. You might fail. You might hate it. You might lose money, or reputation, or both. Sometimes the risks are too high and it’s wise to say no for all the right reasons. But what are the possible rewards? A different kind of security, a sense of purpose, fulfilment, courage, satisfaction.

It’s quite easy to talk about the clear risks and rewards associated with stepping out into something new.

But let me ask you this: what are you risking by staying comfortable?

I’m going to leave you to think about that one.


Hannah x



P.S. You see the trouble is, the greatest risk is to take no risks.

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