Reward and Risk

Not a day goes by where we don’t make a lot of choices. Many of them we do without a huge amount of thought: tea or coffee, coat and gloves, radio station, call a friend, and so the list could go on. Perhaps these countless choices are the foundation we need for the tougher choices in life.

 

 

I find it easier to make a choice when there are many options on offer. For example, I love being in the vegan pub where my younger daughter lives in Glasgow knowing I can choose pretty much anything. But put me in a café or restaurant that pays a token notion to a plant-based diet and I can spend an age deciding between two things. For the most part though, I’m pretty good at decision making. And I suspect it’s because my life has featured many major decisions from moving 2000km away from home at age 16, to leaving and starting jobs, getting married, having children, starting businesses, to moving countries five times (!) [which, on a day like today where I don’t feel I can cope with another 24 hours of being cold, makes it easy to want to pack my bag and emigrate!)

 

 

We’re enculturated, though, aren’t we, to believe that the big choice making is generally about right or wrong, good or bad? But what if there weren’t any wrong decisions? What if each choice simply moves us along on the path of life?

 

 

I suppose, if we come from a fatalist belief system, our choice making might seem excruciating because we don’t really believe we have a choice or that some malefic force is going to strike us down with a bolt of lightning. But if we are sure that we co-create our lives with the universal life force, then we know that life is a constantly creative dance. It’s as if we’re walking along the road of life and on either side of us are fields with gateways, some open, some closed. But, at any point, we can choose to go through one. Who says we have to go straight ahead? Who says that we must wait for the major crossroad before making a decision? Some of the smallest decisions lead to the greatest outcomes.

 

 

Are choices made from the head more reliable than those pursued by the heart?

 

Whether you’re making choices using your brain or from a flow of intuition, ultimately they’re made based on reward, risk, and finally, value.

 

This, of course, assumes that you have the self-awareness to know what it is YOU value or if your choices are based on the culture (school, society, media, parents, religion) that you’ve been immersed in.

 

Perhaps we associate risk with ‘bad’ or ‘dangerous’ when really it’s simply about doing something that’s out of our ordinary behaviour.

 

 

There’s no reason, though, for reward not to follow on from risk but if we don’t take risks regularly in our lives then we’re not likely to create a larger life for ourselves. It’s too easy, too comfortable, to live a life based on minimal choices. Why would anyone live like this? Because of fear. Everywhere we turn, there’s insurance for this, that and the other. We’re surrounded with messages telling us the world is not safe. And while it’s true there are never any guarantees, it’s always worth remembering the quote: “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” {Andre Gide}

I hope you have the courage you need to lead a richly rewarding life.

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