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Know When to Take a Risk

4      Know When to Take a Risk

Moses listens to God. Moses obeys God’s word. But Moses also challenges God at critical moments.

Moses does not challenge out of petulance. Moses questions God out of passion.

The seminal moment is atop Mount Sinai when God expresses anger at the Israelites for building a golden calf. God vows to destroy the people for their blasphemy.

Moses urges God to reconsider in effect, Moses tells God to “cool it.” Moses defends the people, saying they may have sinned, but they can repent.

It took courage for Moses to take that risk. In the end, however, God agrees with him. The people are saved. The covenant is sustained.

We have all been given talents, abilities, passions, and expertise in something, we are exhorted to use them. Nothing is to be taken for granted nor wasted, for that would be a sin. A sin against God, a sin against humanity, and a sin against ourselves.

We need to take these gifts and push them front and center. What am I saying? I am saying that sometimes we need to get out of our comfort zones and move into an area of risk. Whether that be in relationships, school, self-improvement, or business, risk separates those who live life and those who want a life.

What is risk?

The Online dictionary tells us that “risk” can be used as a noun or a verb. As a noun, it reflects a situation involving exposure to danger. When using risk as a verb we are exposing someone or something of value to danger, harm, or loss.

In simple terms, taking a risk means that when we think or do something, there is no guarantee that it will turn out the way we hope it will. But the opposite to that is, it can also turn out the way we want or even better. Risk is not gambling, it is a premeditated, thought-out plan of action that looks at variables and different scenarios and when executed properly has a better than average chance of working. There are no guarantees because we cannot plan for everything.

Risk is everywhere! It does not mean it is evil or should be avoided, it just means that we need to plan and prepare for it. More mentally than anything else. Where would we be today if people didn’t take risks? From horse to planes, from herbs to medicine, from making everything for yourself to global shopping, these are just a few areas that come to my mind. The biggest one though is my mother and father having a chance meeting at a church dance, lol.

How do you identify risk?

We start by looking at the big picture. How do we want the outcome to look? As I call it, what is my Castle in The Sky? How do I want my life to look, my relationships, my faith, my body, or my business? Whatever it is that you want to improve needs to be examined. We all know the wisdom of Socrates when he said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Layout what it is you want and what it looks like and then create a plan to achieve it.

When we know what it is that we genuinely want, we then create a risk/reward or Benjamin Franklin list. We layout a list on one side of the page that shows us what we will gain if we take the steps to achieve what we want, and on the other side of the page we make a list of all the things we will lose out on if we don’t do what it takes to achieve our goals.

How can we manage risk?

We have looked at what we want and made a list of what we will gain if we achieve our goal and what we will lose if we don’t achieve our goal, now it's time to actually put a weight factor on the importance of each line item. In simple terms, not all outcomes are equal. For example, I love ice cream if I eat some it gives me great pleasure a 10/10. But the flip side is I am a type 2 diabetic and eating ice cream is extremely high in sugar and fats, so it affects not only my blood sugar but also my weight, this too gives me a 10/10 negative factor. Which one wins, well I am sure you will agree that my health would trump the pleasure factor and I could probably find a replacement for the ice cream but not my health.

On a relationship level, I saw this extremely attractive woman and as I watched her, I saw she was a very kind and considerate person. On the one hand, I thought I would really enjoy meeting her and would like to get to know her better and on the other hand, I am shy when it comes to the opposite sex and it is a struggle to take the first step and to be honest I thought she was out of my league. I remembered Opa’s (grandfather’s) wise words when he told me, “Chuck you always have a NO but there is that possibility to get a YES.” So I approached her and we did have a great time together.

How can we be more successful in taking risks?

  1. In the song “The Dance”, by writer Tony Arata sung by Garth Brooks. Brooks makes a statement, “It is best not to know how things will end, because if you do, you may deprive yourself of certain experiences.” Isn’t that what life is all about – experiences. Yes, there is a chance of failure, but this is mitigated by thinking, planning, preparing, and acting. The phenomenal elation of success far outweighs the pain of failure every time.
  2. Negativity is the Bain of all existence, it is insipid. We have lots of people around us who are quick to point out how many ways you will fail at something. This is already on top of your own uncanny self-sabotaging, self-critical, and defeatist attitude. There are many stories of people who had humiliating failures but who rose from the ashes and became phenomenally successful. One of the most famous was Walt Disney. Walt dropped out of high school to join the army and they would not accept him. He tried to get a job at a newspaper as a cartoonist but was fired. Later he started a partnership in an animated cartoon company which failed. From there he moved to California with his partner and eventually reopened their shop and this one fared better. Finally, he conceived, believed, and achieved Disneyland! Now one of the happiest places in the world – all over the world. Walt could have languished in the cesspool of negativity and fear of failure but he didn’t.
  3. Play to win! We can talk about manifestation, pre-visualizing, pre-conceiving, and the law of attraction. But nothing beats playing to win. When you look at sports, any time a person or team plays to not lose, they have lost. I have a friend who is a professional poker player, who travels around the world to play in various tournaments. He says his key to success is that in a tournament, each player starts on an even footing financially, so you have an even chance to win. The key to success is in the preparation and training. When he plays in normal games, he goes in with the mentality that he has more backing him than the other players at the table. Stack the odds in your favour.

I like what Dan Rockwell Leadership Freak has to say about risk-taking:

Risk-taker practices:

  1. 70% certainty is enough.
  2. Postpone all or nothing moments. Don’t go all in on the first play.
  3. Use long-term purpose to fuel passion and provide guidance. Set one eye on the future while focusing on the present.
  4. Acknowledge failure courageously and quickly.
  5. Adopt experimental mode. Say, “Let’s see what happens.” Failed experiments aren’t cataclysmic, they’re expected.
  6. Success isn’t the path to success – learning is. “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it,”  Pablo Picasso.
  7. Keep opposites handy. Those who aren’t like you add more value than those who are.
  8. Don’t quit! Adapt.
  9. Measure and evaluate progress.
  10. Adapt again.

I would like to end with some quotes from people on taking risks:

There was a particular problem that I wanted to solve, and I believed that I had a solution to it.

Binta Niambi Brown

Doing things, the way they’ve always been done is the 'most risky thing you can probably do'.

Bill Aulet

In order to be a better risk-taker, it is vital to let your subconscious take over sometimes.

Srini Pillay


Yes, simple quotes by ordinary people like you and me. You can do it and should allow yourself the chance to prove to yourself that you are worthy, capable, and can be successful.

Chuck Groot is an author, speaker, teacher. His love of God has spanned over 6 decades and he finds the more he studies the Bible, the less he knows, the more he succeeds the more dependant on God he becomes, and that there is nothing outside of loving God our Father, and being loved in return.


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