Why we risk on purpose?


“Risking on purpose” is an empowerment strategy. It’s a topic covered in the Protective Behaviours (PB) program that promotes personal safety.

The “safety continuum” is one of the concepts in the program. The continuum teaches the difference between feeling safe, fun to feel scared, risking on purpose and unsafe in relation to choice, time and control.

While safe and fun to feel scared activities have lots of choice, time limits, and control, risking on purpose kicks in an adrenaline rush. It is deliberately putting ourselves in a challenging and adventurous situation. It’s climbing to the top of the tower ready to bungee jump when you’re scared of heights. There are safety measures in place, masses of water at the bottom and 10 people have jumped before you. It makes no difference. It’s confronting a fear and you’re terrified.

You shut your eyes, jump quickly and moments later you’re swinging in the air and laughing so loud, your gasping for air in your lungs. Would you do it again? Maybe not, but feeling that fear no longer has a hold in your life. It’s turned into the most exhilarating thing you have ever done. And, enlarged your life forever.

On that note, I have taken the leap with risk-taking adventures. Like applying for a job in a first of its kind program and discovering I was the only non-indigenous person among 6 teams scattered across WA and NT. It was an extremely challenging situation, where I needed to be brave or quit. I chose to stay and to date, it is one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. The friendships were unique and I discovered a new meaning to trust.

And, the time I leaped on a plane and headed to Bali on my 50th birthday, on my own for 3 weeks. The challenge was to meet new friends. I did and rewarded with meeting a group of people. We met often for breakfast. A highlight was listening to an expat who had lived an extraordinary life as a professor. It was like sitting at the feet of an Australian unsung hero. His stories will live long on in my heart.

Back to the bungee jumping, which is not on my bucket list. Just visualizing and writing about it is as close as I’m going to get…for now.

This brilliant poem sums up why we must sometimes risk. Whether we win or lose, risk keeps us from the clutches of boring and bland.

To laugh is to risk appearing a fool,
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental,
To reach out to another is to risk involvement,
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self,
To place your ideas and dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss,
To love is to risk not being loved in return,
To hope is to risk despair,
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing does nothing has nothing is nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow,
But he cannot learn, feel, change, grow or live.
Chained by his servitude he is a slave who has forfeited all freedom.
Only a person who risks is free.
The pessimist complains about the wind;
The optimist expects it to change;
And the realist adjusts the sails.1

1 The author of this poem is still unknown although it’s been accredited to authors – William Arthur Ward, Janet Rand, and Leo Buscaglia

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