By Ron Baker

One of the most often heard conversation starters lately has been – “What a weird year!”. We talk of COVID, or drought, or mental health, or…

The ensuing conversation has brought up one very stark truth. We lose something when we hit uncertain times. Fear overtakes us. This is manifested in a lack of risk.

An oft-quoted antidote to fear is hope. I grew up in a day and age where hope had varied meanings.

On the one side was hope that was merely wishful thinking. At least you had good positive vibes and the feeling was there to carry you to the other side of fear – hopefully, perhaps, maybe.

Or there was hope that was confident based on past observation and faithfulness of the one claiming that there was hope.

I tend to live with the hope that carried the most confidence in terms of the provider and their past record. When we risk buying an appliance, we do the same thing. Yes, we often do risk on a new model or with a new feature (and just to be sure, we sometimes offset that with a warranty). But we look to the provider and their track record.

AND, we replace the failing appliance – and risk is involved.

Somehow in the midst of this past year, we have been trying to exempt people from risk. Living in the far corner of protection, with fear assailing us, we have not stepped outside that cage fearing that harm might befall us.

I fear that the oppression of fear is overtaking us. This is spoken of in terms of mental health issues, the lack of economic well being and even spiritual depression. Our infinitesimal hope becomes merely staying alive and hopefully well.

What would hope with risk look like? What was the last risk you took? For some, this would be a calculated risk (use of risk assessment and other managerial approaches). For others, this might be a risk that has observational and anecdotal backup. I’m not talking about risk that flouts all conventions and regulations, proclaiming foolishness as wisdom.

But I am talking about moving the goalposts of your comfort zone. Stop doing something. Start doing something. Improve what you are doing. Move from your current state of being into an expanded or even wholly new state of being.

When you idle on an uphill struggle, you’re headed back downhill.

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