On Risk Taking

It’s just a fact that life involves some risk taking. The thing is, there are different kinds of risk taking — everything from getting up and driving to work (which includes the possibility of getting in an accident) to deciding whether or not to buy a house. Many of those risks either directly or indirectly impact our financial lives.

First, there are the financial risks — things like not preparing an adequate emergency fund or not carrying health insurance. What happens if you lose your job or get sick? That sort of financial risk taking can leave you broke and unable to get the things you need in short order.

Then there are the more subtle risks — like sticking with the same job for years even though it’s not what you want to be doing, and not paying you what you’re worth. That’s the kind of risk taking that I want to talk about today.

Stepping on the path

Don’t let fear keep you from doing the kind of risk taking that could really make a difference in your life. This quote from Amber Naslund spells out exactly what I mean:

Sometimes you need to step on the path before you know where it’s going to lead.

If you want to do something that’s important to you — whether that’s starting a side business or moving to a foreign country, you’ve got to understand that you’re probably going to encounter things you didn’t expect. There’s no way to prepare in advance for everything that might happen.

There is no perfect

There is no being perfectly prepared, for anything. Prepare as best you can for the things you want to do, and then go do them. Of course there is a chance that you might fail. That’s a part of risk taking. But there’s also a chance that you will succeed, and if you’ve done your research and gotten yourself in good shape for what you think you can expect, that leaves taking action.

Don’t let the fear of failure keep you from success. Prepare reasonably, and then step on the path.


  • High risk = high reward. However, calculated risk = even higher reward, IMO. Taking calculated risks is the best way to grow a business, gain blog followers, earn a raise, and generally be successful in life.

  • Great idea here and I agree 100%. My blog’s name came about from a similar idea taught by a famous Rabbi – “The whole world is a very narrow bridge, but the most important thing is not to be afraid at all.”

    We take risks every day. Being afraid to take the first step is all that is holding back many people from huge success in life.

  • Seems like a lot of bloggers are talking about taking risks right now. Looks like 2012 will be a year of great accomplishments if calculated right!

  • Great short post! The thing is so many people don’t see these things as risks because everyone is doing it. Like stay at a job they don’t like or driving to work. But mention starting a business or quitting your job to blog and its the end of the world. Nothing is perfect and even if you have a job you like and pays you well you still could get fired or laid off without notice.

    • That’s true, a lot of the “safe” things that we do because we think they are safe really aren’t. They just give us the illusion of safety.

  • Motivating message Jackie! I agree, there’s no way to plan for all contingencies. If there was, then we would never learn anything and that just wouldn’t be any fun.

  • Action beats inaction, and many times (not always, but many times) the downside is not as bad as one fears. Taking risks is often a necessary component to big success.

  • Risks are what make life enjoyable, though I’ve never been one to shy away from it. Have to say quitting a job is a liberating experience, you may freak out a day or two later but it’s the hardest first step of the process.

  • So true. I believe in taking calculated risks. You should do what you can to mitigate the damage caused my reasonably probable events. But if you try to avoid being annoyed or mildly inconvenienced by the remotest of risks, you’ll never do anything.

  • So relevant to my life right now. We just took a huge business risk this week, and are working hard to make sure it pays off. We still have health insurance and an emergency fund though. :)

    • Sounds like you’re doing it smart by making sure you’ve got health insurance and an emergency fund. Good luck with your business! :)

  • Love Amber’s quote! So very true.

    And yes, the “known” often feels safer than the “unknown,” even if that means we are dependent on one main source for our income.

    I believe it was Harv Eker who said that inaction is really the action (the choice) of being inactive.

  • FG

    People often forget that inaction is also a form of action, and that there is also a risk to doing nothing or staying within the comfort zone. ;)

    P.S. Your comment box is too small for the area, it seems.

  • FG

    Eh, I mean the area is too small for the comments box. ;)