Assume the risk as well as the lure of fresh powder. Photo: BTD
Striving to reach a challenge may involve risk – risking to move beyond a comfort zone or to prioritize goals. Rational risk is a part of training. Think more – think new job, new relationship, new home, new baby, new sport, new ______________ (fill in the blank).
Taking a risk can be a stupid and foolish thing to do. When faced with a decision to risk or not to risk, it is often helpful to apply the tried and true “risk v. reward” assessment. If the risk is manageable and the possible reward superior, it is worthy. If you look at worst-case-scenarios for each and either of them is unacceptable, better to pass.
The element of risk does more than add color to daily life. R-i-s-k is a four-letter word, to be sure, but so is g-o-o-d. Definitions of the word usually include chance and danger. The gray area seems to be if a risk involves uncertainty or probability with respect to negative consequences.
“To remove the element of risk is like playing cards with a stacked deck.” (Stephen Gillers, New York Times/OpEd, 11-23-1986).
When it comes to safety, risk is unacceptable, careless. With respect to life fitness, however, and athletic performance, risk is a good thing.
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” (T.S.Eliot)
As you travel the path to wellness and winning performance, reaching beyond your current state of conditioning is imperative. You must have the dedication and courage to formulate goals and strive to meet them. Building muscular strength, for example, requires making gradual changes to the demand for work made upon the muscles by increasing weight, repetitions or complexity of moves. Running and racing involves pushing beyond limits with intervals or increased distances.
On the other hand, it is equally imperative to understand the process and to assess what types of stressors are appropriate, achievable and strengthening rather than destructive.
“Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.” (Warren Buffett) It is easy to fall into this trap. Misplaced confidence can land you on your ear.
January is a time to regroup, reorganize and plan your training, competing and living calendar for 2015. Now is the time to consider stretching farther, reaching higher, and risking a bit of yourself mentally, emotionally and physically.
Let’s say you ride and run a little and have toyed with the idea of a sprint triathlon. Brilliant. You should do it. First you will assess your goal. (You will not try to qualify for the full Ironman Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii, but instead will find local races scheduled for next summer.) You will also check to see if there is a triathlon training group in your area and seek advice in print and on the internet. Then you need to address the third sport, swimming. It is often the piece of the tri pie that discourages newcomers. Instead, contact a nearby pool facility and inquire about using the pool to train, taking swim lessons to improve stroke efficiency and checking to see if there is a triathlon training program held at that facility. There just might be. You would not, as a non-swimmer, jump off a dock into 20 feet of water and expect to swim to the opposite shore. Seek guidance from an expert, learn about the technical elements of each sport that interests you, and to the best of your budget, purchase equipment that will help you in the process.
Dean Karnazes is known for his (apparently) super-human efforts to defy perceived limitations of the human body. It is Karnazes who has run daily marathons across the nation, completed ultra distance events and strangely challenging (risky) adventures from ice, snow and sub-zero temperatures to sand, heat and triple digit degrees, and lived to write and speak about it. An enthusiastic and genuinely caring individual, Karnazes squeezes the last drop out of physical, mental and emotional trials and shares liberally. “Any goal worth achieving involves an element of risk.” (Karnazes)
The risk of embarrassment or failure doesn’t count. Failing to achieve might be a possibility, but failure to try is a probability. Risk is not all negative. Like a good seasoning, add a pinch to your life and see how delicious it can be.
“worth the risk” BTD