Living a successful life always involves risk. The great author and motivational speaker Leo Buscaglia was once quoted as saying, “The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.” Those words from Leo Buscaglia are words of wisdom and very true. In order to live the life we were meant to live, we often have to be willing to take a chance, step out in faith, and expand our boundaries. We cannot always expect to be assured that our actions will result in success, but one thing we can be assured of is that if we take no action, our chances of success are zero. All of the great people throughout history that have made major contributions to the world as we know it today took risks and faced the possibility of criticism and failure. Think of how vastly different our world would be without the ability to get in a commercial airplane and fly to another city. Back in 1903 when Wilbur and Orville Wright, two brothers from Dayton Ohio, invented the first airplane, they were taking a risk. They were visionaries. They knew that their dreams of air flight had the potential to change the world. In 1903, nobody had ever seen an airplane transport anyone. There must have been many skeptics and “do nothing non-dreamers” that thought that these two brothers from Ohio were crazy! Regardless of the possibilities of failure and criticism, Wilbur and Orville took a risk, and the rest is history. Their invention literally changed the world. This makes me think of a quote by the late great Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs said, “The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
Sometimes I reflect on some of the great people throughout history that have made contributions to the world, and I can’t help but wonder how different life would be if they hadn’t taken a chance. Without Alexander Graham Bell’s willingness to risk facing ridicule and failure, would we have ever had the telephone? Think of some of the technology breakthroughs that have occurred even within the last 35 years, coming from people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. The computers and smart phones that we use today and cannot even fathom living without would be non-existent had it not been for Bill Gates and Steve Jobs taking a chance. I can’t help but wonder sometimes how many potentially life changing ideas and inventions have yet to become part of life as we know it today simply because someone out in the world is afraid to take a risk. Anything that has ever changed anyone’s life for the better and made a difference in the world started out as a dream. The truth of the matter is that even the greatest of dreams will only remain a dream unless we are willing to step out and take a risk. The author Dennis Waitley once said, “Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.” How true that statement is!
Any personal growth we will ever experience or any success that we will ever have involves taking a chance and taking a risk. To find love, you have to risk the possibility of rejection. To find a career, you have to apply for a job and risk being denied the position. If we see a friend or family member making a terrible mistake in their life that we know has them headed for disaster, what should we do? Should we turn a blind eye and bite our lip refusing to give them counsel or advice because we don’t want to take the risk of our counsel being rejected? My point is that every action in life that has the potential to change our life or the lives of those around us involves taking a risk. I think that sometimes in life we have to be willing to go outside the boundaries of our comfort zone in order to experience the life that we were meant to live. I love what Mark Twain said about this very topic. Twain was quoted as saying, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” I love the comparison that Mark Twain made to our lives being like ships. In order to grow, be successful, and make a positive difference in the world around us, we have to be willing to take Twain’s advice. We must throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, and catch the trade winds in our sails. When we sail away from the shores and harbors of our comfort zones, we are indeed taking a risk, but it is by stepping out in faith and taking a risk that our lives can change and we have the ability to make a difference in the world around us. Our lives are like ships. We can be bold, chase our dreams, and take a risk, or we can remain tied to the dock of our fears. Ships are safe in the harbor, but that isn’t what ships are for.
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Until next time,