Risk taking and Adversity in Learning

Risk Taking and Adversity

One law of human nature is to want more – more horsepower, more serenity, more intimacy, more money, more power, more life. However, getting “more” is often an uncomfortable business. To reach the juiciest apples, we have to climb high, we have to reach out, and we take the risk of falling off the ladder.

This risk taking journey requires us to tread on uncertain ground and is often uncomfortable, whether physically, financially, socially, and especially emotionally. The path to attaining more is seldom paved with comfort; we spend a lot of time feeling awkward, inept, and out of our element. We grapple with physical strain, financial uncertainty, social unease, and the rollercoaster of emotions where terror and exhilaration dance a reckless tango on our nerves.

The Pursuit of “More” Takes Learning

Reaching for “more” necessitates learning, and learning makes us feel like children again, with all the excitement, wonder, and fear that blended together and colored our earliest experiences. It’s not the subject matter of what we are learning that is transformative; rather, it is our starting point and how far we’re trying to reach that make the difference.  Learning is not an absolute; it is relative, profound, and personal. The journey of a paraplegic rediscovering the complexities of walking is as intense as that of a teenager learning to drive. The uphill struggle of a downhill skier learning to snowboard and conquer the half-pipe aligns in spirit with a manicurist embarking on the entrepreneurial journey of running their own shop. The ordinary – something that is routine for one, becomes an extraordinary success for another.

Adversity – a Catalyst for Growth

In learning, we all start from adversity. We don’t make enough money, we dislike our job, we don’t know enough, can’t climb the mountain. Adversity is a catalyst for growth; it may creep into our awareness as dissatisfaction, a natural manifestation of personal growth, or it may be forced upon us by accident or catastrophic illness. Regardless of its guise, we intensely desire to move the arc from adversity to triumph, from struggle to victory. Along this path, we encounter fresh ideas, hone new skills, embrace evolving beliefs, and adopt new attitudes. We face down adversity and stretch ourselves toward success. We improve.

To improve, we must weigh the desired end against the pain of getting there.  No risk, no gain. If we opt for comfort and ease, we forgo the rewards of accomplishment. And yet, if we take to heart what professional athletes are taught and “do something every day that scares you a little,” we stretch our boundaries and move into new territory. As we move beyond our comfort zones, change occurs, we gain more self-confidence, making it easier to push boundaries, and emboldening us to confront and tackle greater challenges. We convert nervous energy that once sent jitters cascading within us into kinetic energy.  We become unstoppable.

In the grand tapestry of existence, our journey is a quest for “more.” More growth, more understanding, more mastery of self. This pursuit is not for the faint-hearted or the seekers of ease. It is for those who dare to defy complacency, who revel in discomfort for the promise of growth, and who understand that the pinnacle of success is reached through valleys of unease.

In the chasm between aspiration and achievement, amid the realm of uncertainty, lies the wonderful experience of growth—an eternal dance of risk, resilience, and reward.

I’d like to hear from you. If you have a story about how you took a risk or faced adversity in order to grow, share it in the comments.




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2 thoughts on “Risk Taking and Adversity

  1. Darren Weale here, PR and copywriter from BNI Lightning in the UK. This blog post reads well alongside listening to the podcast episode 822 which also talks about adversity, dreaming, and just how hard things can get for individuals in business. Link – http://www.bnipodcast.com/2023/08/16/the-days-i-dreamed-of-being-where-i-am-now. When things are tough it is easy to forget the joy of the freedom of having your own business. Yes, there are accounting deadlines, service deadlines for clients, potentially very long hours, emotional drains often caused by late invoice payments or other people not doing what they promised, and the emotional overload that goes with it.Even the risk of bankruptcy that I have now learned, via that podcast episode, that Ivan has faced. Yet in my case the sheer satisfaction of getting a new client for whom I wrote a first piece of editorial saying it’s “great” and not to change a word – this was yesterday – is such a lift. Then there is being able to get a friend on to regional radio to talk about her doing a charity run with one of her dogs, and sharing good things through a community podcast I run (the Bromley Buzz). These are examples of things that wouldn’t come with an employed day job. I had one of those for 21 years, and I don’t miss it. One of the things that has got me through the up’s and down’s of business life – and they haven’t stopped – are friends. I have met friends through my networking, and some good people in the BNI who, if they ever leave, will remain friends. The “eternal dance of risk, resilience, and reward” that Ivan talks about is so much better if it is shared.

  2. Uau sensacional. Como aquela frase “ Não sabendo que era um impossível foi lá e fez” assim devemos seguir, fortes e determinados. Só cresce quem permite diminuir.

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