Why Risk is a Good Thing

In my family, we love to play a game called “Pass the Pig”.

The point of the game is to roll two little plastic pigs and have them land in certain positions that equal certain points.

When your points add up to 100, you win. The catch is that with every little toss of the pigs, you could “pig out” and you risk losing all your points.

You can stop and any time with the points you have and wait until your next turn to continue to add points.

I won’t mention names, but some people in my family think I’m crazy because on my turn, I never pass the pigs. I keep rolling until I pig out or I get 100 points.

Why do I do it? One, it’s just a game and I really have nothing to lose. Two, and this is the real reason, I love the thrill of the risk!

What is risk anyway?

Wikipedia defines risk as “the potential that a chosen action or activity (including the choice of inaction) will lead to a loss (an undesirable outcome). The notion implies that a choice having an influence on the outcome exists (or existed). Potential losses themselves may also be called risks. Almost any human endeavor carries some risk, but some are much more risky than others.”

Wow! Can we be any more gloomy? Risk is commonly thought of as negative. People only think of everything that could possibly go wrong. Can we try to be a little more “glass if half full” and see that risk is actually a two-sided coin?

If risk means the potential loss or undesirable outcome doesn’t it also mean the potential gain or desired outcome? The key word is potential. It could go either way. It’s a 50/50 shot right?

Expect the positive outcome

Recently I learned the power of expecting the positive outcome. I kept procrastinating sending over a proposal to a potential client. I waited for a lot of reasons but the main reason is that I thought he might think it was too much. Now I know that shows a lot about what I was thinking but the point is that I was expecting a negative outcome.

Why? Dumb right?

With the help of my awesome personal coach (something that everyone should have – more on that in another post), I chose to expect the positive outcome. I took the risk and waited for the good to happen. Guess what? It did! Happily ever after. But it wouldn’t have happened had I never taken the so-called “risk”.

More often than not, if you expect the positive outcome of a situation, it will happen that way. In fact, I don’t know why I even ever thought the opposite before. It doesn’t make any sense! Why expect the negative? What’s the point?!

I once heard that “worry is just the misuse of imagination”. If we flipped that, it would mean that positive expectation or faith is the proper use of imagination. This is part of the optimist’s creed. Always expect the best and it will usually happen.

Let’s rewrite the definition of risk shall we?

Let’s say that risk is the potential for a chosen action or activity to yield great results. It is especially important to expect the positive outcome to achieve the desired result.

Progress always involves risks. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.

Frederick Wilcox

Will things always turn out right just because we hoped they would? Of course not. But we would never know unless we took the jump. Risk is really just a stepping stone to success.

In fact, here’s another new definition:

Risk is believing in yourself enough to drive you to take action toward a certain goal.

Risk is showing the world that you’re not afraid to do what you want to do.

So, is risk a good thing?

Heck yeah! Take the risk. If it doesn’t turn out the right way, the worst thing that will happen is that you learned what didn’t work. Unless it means you actually dying, nothing in this life is really too risky to not attempt.

Keep rolling those pigs man. Life is short. Risk it!