Worth is Worthless without Risk

Yes, I understand, you wretched person. You are faced with choices and challenges every day; you have to make decisions, to determine where you will invest your time, money, effort, love, and other God-given resources. And what if the choice you make does not work out? It has happened before. You were left broken, helpless, lost, questioning every choice you made. You made a very bad bet, once in your life, and you are still paying the interest.

And so here you sit, still as a stone, for fear of knocking over the precariously piled-up stack of chips that you have successfully gathered over the years, adding to it one chip at a time, terrified of the possibility that it all comes crashing down.

Get Over It

But here’s the thing: it is not the tower itself that has value, but the individual chips that make it up. Whether they are in a stack or in a heap, a thousand chips is a thousand chips. Should the tower collapse, as long as none of the pieces are lost, nothing is lost.

And should you make a wager once more, and once again it does not pay off, the game goes on. You can get back what you lose, and then some. It’s all about learning from your losses.

And should you encounter a situation that you never have seen before, and you fear you don’t know how to approach it, approach it anyway. When has opportunity ever presented itself in a form that was not different from other chances that have presented themselves to you previously? If it were exactly the same, it would not be an opportunity, but another version of the sameness that you find yourself stuck in, day in and day out.

Become a Better Better

Be not afraid of what comes. Be willing to take big punches to dish out big hits. Go all in once in a while. Trust in your judgment. Trust in your worth, and in your ability to create and accumulate worth.

Your willingness to risk what you have is, in some respects, what shows others that it has value.

Right or Wrong, Just Make a Call

Shit happens, and more often than not, they force us to weigh risks and make decisions. At the beginning of our lives, we have our parents, older siblings, and a bunch of other authorities to rely on to make calls for us. At some point, though, we have to get out of the baby seat.

Case in point: last week, I was driving alone in a suburban neighborhood when the car suddenly to shake violently. Something had come loose. Every few feet I drove, the car would protest with a fit of automotive epilepsy. Every time I pressed on the brake, the pedal seemed to push back a little bit, then fall as if whatever was holding it up suddenly fell apart.

So there I was, faced with a choice: do I call for a tow truck, or drive back?

I know from experience that calling a tow truck would take a long time; a half hour if I’m really lucky. I was also not sure whether a tow truck would be allowed in that neighborhood since public utility vehicles and trucks were not allowed in. Finally, getting towed is really expensive. On the other hand, driving back could be dangerous. Who knew what was wrong with the car? Would it get worse if I tried to drive it any further? I didn’t know, and not knowing made me feel a little nervous.

I had gotten the car serviced a few months back; I had the bushings for the front tires replaced, as well as the tie rod ends. I reasoned that if there were something seriously wrong with the suspension of the car, it would have been detected during that time. But there had been no mention of serious trouble with the suspension or risk of the car falling apart.

That’s when I made a decision, took a calculated risk: drive back, but do it slowly to minimize the chances of further damage.

The car seemed to appreciate the slowdown; the quakes turned to shudders for a while. After a while, they got a little stronger again, and a persistent knocking started at one of the back tires. The feedback from the road started to get more intense. Thankfully, though, the way back wasn’t so long, steep, or rough, and I got home, though not without suffering a few stares and getting “helpful” advice from some policemen on patrol (“Just get home carefully”).

It wasn’t much of an ordeal, I know. But it really felt like the scariest hour I’d experienced in a long time, and I was glad it was over. It also felt strangely good to have made a decision that felt risky at the time, but have it work out well in the end. When we get the courage to just decide, it feels really good.

I seriously wish I had a better story to go with this song (sung by I Fight Dragons; thanks to manchegokun for the clip), but I lead a boring life. Does anyone have a better one? I’d love to hear it!