The Next Chapter: The Joy Diet – Chapter 5 – Risk

by Valerie on October 23, 2009 · 8 comments

 This chapter really got me thinking about what risk means. I have an odd relationship with risks. I do not like risks yet do not lead my life like someone who has an aversion to risks.  People are usually surprised when I say I am not a risk taker by nature, and usually point to half a dozen examples of things I have done in my life that indicate I am not afraid of risk. 

This dissonance lies in the fact that when the risk is big I somehow do not see it as a risk conceptually. In practice this means I do not view big decisions that are inherently risky as risks – usually I see them as opportunities for change.  And, invariably, I look back several years later and am like “wait, how did I not view this situation as a huge risk?”

That is the good news about me and risk.  The bad news is that as I get older, I feel myself get more and more entrenched in routines.  I am discovering that big decisions (like grad school, law school, graduations, jobs) become fewer and far between as one gets older, and as such there are fewer built-in opportunities for risks.  I know I will need to push myself more to keep taking risks.  In fact, that is the biggest insight I got out of this chapter.   

To check out other people’s perspectives on risk, see Jamie Ridler’s online bookclub, The Next Chapter on The Joy Diet: Ten Daily Practices for a Happier Life by Martha Beck.  

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ellecubed October 26, 2009 at 4:29 pm

I really love the insights that you have gotten from the risks chapter. Thank you so much for sharing your week with risk.


2 Karley October 26, 2009 at 5:30 pm

Yes–the opportunities to take major risks does seem to lessen as we get older. I do find, though, that the ones we DO take are even more meaningful.


3 Paula - Buenos Aires October 26, 2009 at 5:34 pm

I could have written the first two paragraphs. Even the first half of the third. 😀 Now, pushing myself to take risks? I haven´t reached that stage yet. 😀


4 Melita October 26, 2009 at 9:51 pm

thanks for sharing your thoughts on risk. even the smallest of risks can make a huge difference!


5 Lisa @sacred circle October 26, 2009 at 11:39 pm

I think it's wonderful that you see risk as opportunity! What a courageous and inspiring outlook… I'd be willing to bet that you take more risks than you realize… :)


6 Ananda October 27, 2009 at 3:36 am

Wonderful insights.


7 Debbie October 27, 2009 at 7:47 pm

For me I have huge risks waiting for me when I turn 55 years old. I have two older children, 28 and 25, and a 12 year old. When my youngest graduates high school I plan to relocate to the west coast (currently in Ohio) and change careers (I've been working at a rape crisis center for 14 years now). I would love to accomplish these two things sooner rather than wait another six/seven years, but I feel stuck given that my daughter just started middle school and is doing well…now, that seems like a huge risk! I'm a little concerned about my employment opportunities at 55, but then again would be very content baking bread. Thank you for sharing your post.


8 Ginny October 28, 2009 at 11:59 am

As I age risks that at one time would have been very small suddenly become big. Your idea of looking at a risk as an opportunity (which seems much more positive) is a great way to overcome the fear of change. Thanks for a great insight.


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