By Corey Tucker – Collegiate Staff
Some of the most fulfilling times in our lives are products of the risks we take. Those risks however, are usually partnered with fear. The fear of failure or of falling short of your goal.
When waking in the morning we re-enter a whole new world of risks that fly under the radar of our most superficial perception. We risk the chance of injury, car accidents, theft, sickness, and many others without even thinking about them.
There are risks apparent in everyday life that people take or think about taking, however, many people neglect to take risks because they fail to recognize help.
That failure to recognize help is one of the key blocks professional life coach Anne Hamming works on with her clients.
“Often the risk isn’t big,” Hamming said. “They are just making it out to be bigger than it is. Other times, the risks are very real and they need to build up their supports before they can safely dive in. Those supports can be a hobby, more money in the bank, a coach, deeper connections with the people they love, or growing their own ability to tell loving people when they are scared.”
No matter how big or small the risk, people need to be more cognitive about the potential happiness that can be obtained by taking a risk instead of focusing on the potential failure and humiliation that could be a product of falling short.
Everybody likes being told that they are funny. Being labeled as a consistent creator of that positive emotional release is one of the best compliments one can receive.
Over the span of our lives, a lot of us are told we are funny by friends and family. Because of this, a lot of us are told that we should try stand-up comedy. The thing is, it is much easier to make a group of people, that you are comfortable with, laugh than it is to make a room full of strangers laugh.
There is a lot of pride that comes with being told you are funny. The only way to really get concrete evidence is by doing something that takes a ton of nerve, something like stand-up comedy.
Even though the risks that come from doing stand-up comedy are not life threatening, they are pride threatening. The deflation of pride and confidence is only one of the risks associated with trying stand-up comedy.
Lachlan Patterson, a Venice Beach-based comedian and “Last Comic Standing” finalist, thinks one risk is sharing personal information.
“I think a risk [in stand-up],” Patterson said. “Is hanging your private thoughts out there for people to critique with the possibility of them thinking you’re an idiot.”
I am one of the many that have been told I should try stand-up, and so I did, and I can tell you Patterson is correct. When I get on stage, I risk my pride and my confidence. I risk this all for the happiness I feel when making a room full of people laugh. Sometimes the risk is worth the reward, other times I wonder why I put myself in the situation.
Unless you’ve experienced performing stand-up comedy yourself, it is hard to understand the feeling that comes with making strangers laugh. The feeling of creating laughter is amazing, the feeling of causing that laughter can be euphoric.
Happiness from causing happiness is an inexplicably amazing feeling. That is why so many people, including myself, are willing to risk pride and humiliation.
The risk of starting your own business takes a lot of nerve as well. Whether young or old, entrepreneurship is an intimidating venture that takes a lot of sacrifice and can be extremely intimidating.
Jayson Demers, founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, a content and social media marketing firm out of Seattle, says the seven risks entrepreneurs must face, from “ideation to ongoing development,” are abandoning the steady paycheck, sacrificing personal capital, relying on cash flow, estimating popular interests, trusting a key employee, betting on a crucial deadline and donating of personal time and health.
One of the risks that Demers touched on concerning sacrificing personal capital is a risk that GrandLan co-owner and founder of GrandCon comics and gaming convention, Brian Lenz, touched on when talking about starting his annual gaming convention.
“Investment is the biggest risk,” Lenz said. “Injection of money versus income of money to balance and grow the business is the factor that causes the most stress.”
Three years into the investment however, Lenz is happy with the risk that he has taken in starting the convention.
“I have felt fulfilled about creating a business that many others have enjoyed to be part of and patronize,” Lenz said. “For myself, it’s about the moment when someone smiles and sees the fruits of your labor and appreciates what you have to offer as a service.”
Further up on the risk scale is a risk faced by so many people these days: Student loan debt. With the average student debt going above $30,000 in six states according to Forbes. Around 69 percent of students graduating have an average of $28,400 in debt, according to the Institute for College Access and Success.
No one wants the burden of thousands of dollars in debt when they graduate from college. The risk of taking out students loans is so big that counselors at Grand Rapids Community College suggest students do their best to not take out student loans at all.
“Personally I ask students to really think about not taking a loan at all,” GRCC counselor, Fred Zomer stated. “Many students are able to pay for their tuition and books with grants. With that case especially I encourage them to not use loan money.”
GRCC student Jack Pountney, a business major at GRCC planning on transferring to Davenport University next fall, also weighed in on the topic.
“I think the biggest risk is when graduating from college a lot of students have well over $20,000 in student loan debt to pay off, but struggle to find a job,” Pountney said. “Then they are stuck having to pay off that debt working a minimum wage job.
So why do so many students put themselves in the situation in the first place? Unfortunately most students have no other option than to take out loans to get the education they need to be competitive in their career field.
According to Pountney, happiness that can be obtained from the risk of loans is in the opportunity they provide.
“By taking out student loans and going to college I am able to meet a bunch of new people, and new opportunities are always emerging,” Pountney said. “If not for the loans to go to college I would not have those opportunities.”
The biggest risk someone can take is putting his or her own life on the line. Besides the heroic men and women in the United States armed forces, nobody does that more altruistically than the brave men and women who wear badges every day for local police departments.
Upholding civil order is a difficult job that only a select few have the nerve to do. Everyday men and women are putting on uniforms, some leaving their families behind, to go out on the streets and protect people they don’t even know.
Grand Rapids Police officer Mike Duke, a Grand Rapids native, is a prime example.
“I knew I wanted to protect and serve since the seventh grade when I had the chance to go on ride-alongs with officers here in Grand Rapids,” Duke said.
As time passed however, and with a family to think about, it took more than just a gut feeling for the 24-year veteran of the police force to keep putting his life on the line. As time progressed, officer Duke said he realized that the gut feeling he had was a divine calling that he felt safe answering.
“There is no safer place than being in the Lord’s will,” Duke said.
He said the satisfaction obtained from doing a selfless job is twofold.
“The happiness I feel comes from two things, knowing that I am doing the Lord’s work by keeping citizens as safe as possible, and the happiness I know a victim feels when they feel justice has been served.”
The common theme of the risks mentioned is the creation of happiness, whether it be for yourself or someone else. The possibility of the happiness should be the main focus.
Too many times however, people tend to set their sights on what might happen if they fail, thus scaring themselves away. If you’re the type that focuses on the negative, try focusing on the negative that is the forever punishing regret you will feel for not taking the risk at all.