Flight: Risk Taking 101

When is the last time you took a really big risk?  If you’re analytical, you probably weighed the pros and cons.  If you’re emotional, you probably had an uncomfortable feeling in your gut.  (Did you know you have a “second brain,” the enteric nervous system, which resides in your gastrointestinal organs?)

Rumor has it that people are afraid of change, even when the riskiest choice of all may be staying put.  Don’t ever think you can avoid making a choice.  The choice to do nothing is an active decision.

Next time you’re faced with an overwhelming quandary, try turning the process on its head.  Imagine you’re already in the new job, the new home, the new relationship, and that the decision you are trying to make is whether or not to choose the role you are currently in.  You may be surprised at the insights this method provides.

I wish I could remember the name of the writer who introduced me to the following idea. His essay appeared in “The Best American Science and Nature Writing (of the year)” sometime since 2002, when I started gifting this series to my husband every Christmas. The proposition goes like this: dissatisfaction is the mother of invention.  Think about it. If we had no problems, there’d be no motivation to solve them, and thus, nothing new would ever come into being.  Evolution exists because the status quo continually becomes unappealing.

So praise god for dissatisfaction and pass the Sriracha (for those of you not in the know, a fabulous Thai condiment,  newly ubiquitous in the US).  Unhappiness, yearning, frustration.  These states push us forward. Risk is the nature of growth, of expansion.

So come to the edge, dear reader, and leap.

Lorena Gay-Griffin

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