Reflections on the Willingness to Risk

Written by on November 17, 2016 in Breaking Barriers, Quotations



I think most will agree that it takes courage to risk, but what it means to take a flyer into the unknown will inherently vary for each of us.

For some it’s a risk to ask for what they want, to express an honest opinion, to try something new, to give their all to a job or to trust another human being. For a few, simply getting out of bed each morning and going out into the world feels like a risk.

After all, there is the ever-present fear that we may be rejected or end up appearing foolish or vulnerable, and yes, maybe even fail.

But fear is not the only thing that prevents us from challenging ourselves. In fact, there is a condition far more insidious. It creeps up on us when we least expect it, no one is immune to it, and there is no way to rid ourselves of it entirely.

It lulls you into a false sense of safety and comfort and affects your thoughts and everything you say or do. And the scariest thing of all is that most people are perfectly fine with living in this state.

LIFE. It's not about getting a chance it's about TAKING a chance. Click To Tweet

The Risk of Complacency

Complacency is that place where things are okay, pretty darn good in fact. So maybe there are a few areas that could use some work, and even a few relationship struggles, but nothing bad enough to risk rocking the boat, right?

Just to be clear, complacency is completely different from contentment. When you are content you feel satisfied and at peace.

Complacency is when you see the need and opportunity to grow but choose instead to avoid challenging yourself or risking the discomfort and uncertainty of change. Opting instead to live by default rather than intention, simply taking life as it comes.

For far too many, taking the path of least resistance seemed like the best option at the moment, but sadly, only led to regret and sorrow as they came to the end of their lives, looked back, and saw with shocking clarity how few dreams and goals they had achieved as a result of the choices they did (or did not) make.

Reflections on Risk

  • The world is full of people who want to play it safe, people who have tremendous potential but never use it. Somewhere deep inside them, they know that they could do more in life, be more, and have more … if only they were willing to take a few risks. ~George Foreman
  • The tragedy of life is not found in failure but complacency. Not in doing too much, but doing too little. Not in living above our means, but below our capacity. It’s not failing, but aiming too low, that is life’s greatest tragedy. ~Benjamin E. Mays
  • Risk is essential. There is no growth or inspiration to be found in staying within what is safe and comfortable. Once you find out what you do best, why not try something else? ~Alex Noble
  • If you’re the kind of person who gives up every time life pushes you, you’ll live all your life playing it safe, doing the right things, saving yourself for something that never happens. ~Robert Kiyosaki
  • Risk more than others think is safe, care more than others think is wise, dream more than others think is practical, expect more than others think is possible. ~Author Unknown
  • Life is like a dictionary, in which we’ll never find completion if we can’t find our way past comfort and complacency. ~Terry Crouson
  • When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, go ahead and leap! ~Cynthia Heimel
  • Complacency is man’s biggest weakness. It creeps up on us when we least expect it. ~Jay Mullings
  • If you want it, go for it. Take a risk. Don’t always play it safe or you’ll die wondering what might have been. ~Author Unknown
  • If I had my life to live over again, I’d worry less about making mistakes and take more risks next time. I would relax. I’d be sillier than I have been on this trip. I would climb more mountains, swim more rivers and watch more sunsets. I would have more actual troubles and less imaginary ones. Oh, I’ve had my moments, and if I had to do it over again, I’d have a lot more of them. ~Nadine Stair (at age 92)
  • You can’t play it safe your whole life and expect to reach your highest potential. You’ve got to be willing to take some risks. ~Joel Osteen
  • Behold the turtle. He only makes progress when he sticks his neck out. ~Author Unknown
  • Take chances. A lot of them. You learn and grow with each choice you make. Everything is worth it. Say how you feel. Always be authentically you … and be okay with it. ~Author Unknown
  • Don’t be afraid to take an unfamiliar path, sometimes they’re the ones that take you to the best places. ~Author Unknown
  • So many people live their lives at the mercy of fear. They play it safe and take no risks; and while they may end up with fewer bumps and bruises, their life is often starved of magic. And so it must be said that the person who doesn’t risk anything, risks everything. ~Teal Swan
  • Being grateful for what you have doesn’t mean you have to stop thinking there might be something even better. Grateful and complacent are two different words; being grateful while striving to improve allows you to be happy every step of the way. ~Author Unknown
  • Stop worrying about what you have to lose and start focusing on what you have to gain. ~Author Unknown
  • Sometimes life is about risking everything for a dream no one can see but you. ~Author Unknown

Ironically, avoiding risk may turn out to be your biggest gamble of all, because it means missing out on feeling fully alive and becoming all that you are meant to be. The truth is there is just so much more to life than most of us are living

Related Articles:
Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become.
About Marquita Herald

Marquita Herald

Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.

She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.

To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living  click here.


Thank you for sharing!

Tags: , , , ,


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on Pinterest Connect on Google Plus Connect on LinkedIn Connect on YouTube

36 Reader Comments

Trackback URL Comments RSS Feed

  1. K. Lee Banks

    Like many others have said, complacency is one of the biggest hurdles, as it can be insidious and disguise itself as something benign. On the other side, one of my hubby’s favorite mantras is “Risk vs. Reward.” Sometimes the risk is worth it, other times, not so much. But that’s the balance you have to consider.
    K. Lee Banks recently posted…Gratitude Challenge – November 26 – Thankful for Being a Member of the PACMy Profile

  2. Fear is a very powerful force. We all feel it at some point in our life. But, if you live life right and learn the lessons life has to teach us, we needn’t fear it!
    Anytime I feel uncomfortable, I now recognize it as an opportunity — not to run away but to grow.
    Your quote, “Complacency is when you see the need and opportunity to grow but choose instead to avoid challenging yourself or risking the discomfort and uncertainty of change. Opting instead to live by default rather than intention, simply taking life as it comes,” is something I will be pondering on for a bit. I can see a couple of areas I am being complacent in. More work to do!

    Deborah A. Ten Brink recently posted…Use Synergy To Rise To The TopMy Profile

  3. ikechi

    Hi Marquita

    This is the best I have seen on risk. Complacency is even worse than failure and as you shared , it is man’s biggest enemy. This is the coolest post I have read on risk.

    Thanks for sharing. Take Care
    ikechi recently posted…5 Common Thinking Errors That Prevents You From Standing Out From The CrowdMy Profile

  4. I’ve never thought of myself as a risk taker but in looking back on my life I can see that I did take risks. Most worked but a couple were spectacularly wrong. Still my life didn’t go off the rails. You just move on and learn from your failures. The risks don’t have to be very big — I look on taking risks as taking on new challenges. I want to become a Life Master in bridge. I’ve set a goal for myself. I don’t know if I’ll attain it but I’m going for it. Next week I’m traveling to Orlando for the Bridge nationals. It will be mean plunking money down on a hotel room for 3 nights with no guarantee that I’ll come away with the points I need. But if I don’t go I surely won’t get them.
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…Be Thankful to Our Veterans by Giving Them JobsMy Profile

    • Even though we’ve never met just following your writing I would have pegged you for a smart risk taker Jeannette. I’ve never played bridge but that sounds like a wonderful goal you’ve set for yourself and I wish you all the best in Orlando! Thanks for sharing with us. 🙂

  5. Sushmita

    Marquita loved your post!
    Taking a risk in necessary, great things never come when we are in our comfort zone!
    Your post’s dear make me feel good about what I have been trying to do. It feels good when I get to read such stuff.
    Thank you for sharing! Keep posting and helping me go ahead.
    Coz being Brave and moving ahead is not easy but if I want to accomplish what I have dreamt of it can’t be done resting need to hustle. Fingers crossed!
    Sushmita recently posted…Sharing Fundamentals of how to handle your Startup Finances?My Profile

  6. Dave

    There is a quote within one of the quotes above that really resonated with me. It’s by Nadina Stair. I would have more actual troubles and less imaginary ones. This thought encompasses so much.

    I remember writing a blog post many years ago where I turned the traditionally held term “comfort zone” on its head and instead referred to it as the “complacency corner”. I think that fits in very well with your thoughts here, Marty.

    It’s so “easy” to remain in the status quo and let things “progress” as they are without making any real progress. Risk can be a surly sea to navigate at times, but the rewards once we sail through the storm it stirs up is well worth it 🙂
    Dave recently posted…All AboardMy Profile

    • Oh, I like that, “complacency corner”. 🙂 I have to admit I’ve never been a fan of the term comfort zone – it’s right up (or down) there with the term “self-care” but both do create an accurate image. Thanks for sharing Dave!

  7. Tatia

    Hi Marquita. I wouldn’t necessarily say I fear risk, I just don’t like being reckless. I too dread complacency because of the mental rut that follows. Maybe it’s as simple as switching things up in my daily routine. Great quotes by the way!

    • Makes sense Tatia, though keep in mind that just as with the examples I used for risk, we each have to define what reckless means for us. For one person it might mean staying in a job they feel secure with rather than taking a risk on applying for a new job or moving to a new town, etc. Many years ago when I had a solid job as an administrative assistant to a hotel general manager, people told me I was crazy and yes, reckless, to risk it by pursuing a job in sales – for which I had no experience and would have to start over as a newbie. But I did it anyway despite the criticism and lack of support – earned my job and went on to have the career of my dreams. We each have to weigh the consequences of our actions compared to the potential outcomes. Thanks so much for contributing to the conversation!

  8. William Rusho

    Complacency is my bane. I will admit, I have to deny myself accolades on things I have done, so I am constantly driven to become better.
    This is a wonderful article, thanks for sharing it.

  9. Donna Merrill

    Hi Marquita,

    Risk…can’t live without it. I rather take a risk and “fail” than to sit and think of those bad words like Should of, Could of Would of. Those words just snowball a negative feeling.

    Taking a risk with just about anything is more exciting to me. It is a way to grow weather I skin my knee or fly high.

    Donna Merrill recently posted…Foolproof Marketing Strategies For BloggersMy Profile

  10. Risk can be a tough pill to swallow. However, it can also be rewarding if we have the courage to step out of our comfort zone.
    Cheryl Therrien recently posted…3 Daily Posture Stretches to Do After EVERY Exercise ClassMy Profile

  11. lenie

    A long time ago I read the statement – If you’ve never failed, you’ve never tried. That had a powerful impact on me and let me try many things I didn’t feel qualified for but I just jumped in with both feet anyway. It usually turned out the qualifications came right along.
    #The world is full of people who want to play it safe, people who have tremendous potential but never use it.# Reading that statement I wondered would have happened if all those people had lived up to their potential – might have made quite a difference to the world today.

    • So true Lenie! Like most coaches, I can remember a few people I worked with who seemed to have everything going for them but the courage to challenge themselves. How many people quit just as they get to the point of succeeding because they are afraid as much of success as failure. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  12. Phoenicia

    Wow – what an encouraging article Marquita.

    You hit the nail on the head when you state not taking risks means you are not fully alive. Fear of failing and being ridiculed stops people from taking risks. Sticking to what you know means you are less likely to come off track but it also means no growth and development.

    The quotes in this article are truly inspiring – I am drawn to them all!

    Life is for living and we WILL make mistakes on the way but we must pick ourselves up and carry on. Living life in neutral is not the way to go – one will achieve no results and feel discontented deep down in their hearts.
    Phoenicia recently posted…Where there is a will, there is a way!My Profile

    • I’m so pleased you enjoyed the article Phoenicia! I always enjoy sharing quotations because it’s so much fun finding different quotes that readers may not have seen before. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  13. Life without risk is boring. If you know the outcome, what fun is it? Taking risks has always been part of my life and I am grateful for the freedom it has given me.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…a visit to Cailler Chocolate in BrocMy Profile

  14. Usman

    Taking risks is hard; AGREED. I get afraid of taking risks sometimes and that is okay but that is when we conquer or achieve what we want to. Overcoming the fears of whatever we think is a big RISK for us. Stepping outside our comfort zone is a risk but that is when life really kicks in. Doesnt it?
    Usman recently posted…5 guaranteed steps to your successMy Profile

  15. I always say that the magic is just outside of your comfort zone. If we are always afraid to take a risk how will we find the place where we are meant to be?

    We are usually the very people that are holding ourselves back.
    Dr. Elise Cohen Ho recently posted…Fun With Friends at Tavern BowlMy Profile

  16. Edward Thorpe

    Hi Marquita,

    Hm. Your post has got me wondering if my ‘contentment’ is actually closer to complacency than contentment? And, you know I don’t like to think…
    Edward Thorpe recently posted…Why You Shouldn’t Masturbate While DrivingMy Profile

    • Well bad news for you Ed is poking people to make them “think” and question assumptions is kind of my mission here. 🙂 Seriously, thanks for stopping by and sharing.

  17. Would you please stop getting inside my head and writing just what I need to hear already? Jeez!
    I never knew I was a risk-taker until a friend (20 years ago) said that she wished she could be more like me and just leap into the thing that I wanted to do.
    Well, little do husband, family and friends know but I’m on the brink of some kinda’ new big leap and Marquita if you keep writing such beautiful pieces…well, it’s gonna’ happen sooner rather than later!
    RoseMary Griffith recently posted…Book Review – “Up From Slavery,” Booker T. Washington, published 1900My Profile

  18. We indeed feel scared to step out of our comfort zone and yet are unable to identify that it is the fear within us that’s holding us back.We can identify this only when we be more introverted.How do we strengthen our mind to muster up the courage to step out of the shell and take that leap which seems to be impossible?Each time mind tells us that this is not for me, giving a positive perspective to the mind and taking a tiny baby step in the positive direction to achieve the goal sounds like the way out.’Just do it ,no matter how trivial the results may seem ‘ .Very inspiring Marquita!! I have started taking my baby steps in the direction of my goal believing that one day I will get there.
    Priya Prabhu recently posted…Why do some windows reflect more light?My Profile

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the posts and quotations Priya. You are right of course about the value of even the smallest steps. Accountability is also another factor. I am not one to normally share my most important goals but just yesterday shared a Facebook blogger group a big goal I’m working toward achieving by the end of this year. Now it’s out there so that adds a sense of urgency to help me stay focused. 🙂

%d bloggers like this: