Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Risk a lot to save a lot.
Risk a little to save a little.
Risk nothing to save nothing.
Words to live by when fighting fire, no question.
But what about other things?
People often talk about the "risk/benefit ratio." As if we can calculate every risk and make a rational decision.
I've been thinking about risk this week, while watching the Olympics.
I love the Olympics.
Some of it, anyway.
I love the concept of people all over the world who train to become the very best at what they do, getting together with other people from all over the world, who do the same thing. Temporarily, at least, a culture of excellence, instead of the usual excuse-making. A place and time where there is not that absurd popular habit of whining and complaining.
In every Olympics I've seen, there have been those moments where an athlete has stepped up and done something unexpected, overcome adversity, and, for a brief shining moment, brought the world's attention to the power of sheer heart.
Mary Lou Retton comes to mind.
A couple of nights ago, in one of the qualifying heats of one of the swim events, there was a young woman who mystified the commentators by swimming her heart out, even though she only needed to place to get into the next round. While they were questioning why on earth she would work so hard, instead of "saving herself" for the finals, she broke the world record.
Gotta love it.
It got me thinking.
People put a lot of thought into that risk/benefit thing. As if the optimal situation would be no risk, all benefit.
I don't think so.
I think that without risk, there is no benefit.
It's about risk. Taking chances. Giving it all you've got. Putting yourself out there.
Going for the Gold.
You can't win if you don't play. If you want something, you have to go get it- ain't no one going to give it to you.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
"Safe" may not be the best place to live after all.
A paradox, that.
Emergency services personnel frequently tell each other to "stay safe."
And they mean it.
Perhaps because they, more than anyone, know there's no such thing.
Posted by Linda Wyatt at 12:18 AM