Monday, October 02, 2017

Better Life Through "Manufactured Risk"

In the 70s, a psychology research project was done on the subject of "human wholeness." In the interview of subjects, this question always came up: "What ingredients of wholeness would be common to anybody in any culture or society of the world?"

The responses were varied but implied that normalcy depends considerably from culture to culture. However, when pressed more deeply, the experts found a common key. In unique ways they heard: "A healthy person is someone who can choose risk and danger."


I've known of a wealthy CEO of a large food company who loves riding his motorcycle, even commuting through it every so often. Once told that his main problem is a psychological "midlife crisis," he was advised by his doctor to be careful and take it easy.

He decided not to take his doctor's advice. He didn't believe in middle age. If he avoids anything new or risky, he claimed, it would only hasten his whole aging process. No matter how stressful or boring his days at the office, his motorcycle drives gave him more energy and excitement.

Mother Teresa in India is another example. She chose a life of risk and danger in the worst slums of Calcutta. As a result of her adventures, she blessed her life as well as the lives of countless others all over the world, even for generations to come.

Once, I visited a patient and his family in Mindanao for sessions. After our family sessions, we went roaming, ending up in Lake Sebu of Cotobato City where they had Southeast Asia's highest "Zipline Adventure" - 600 feet above the ground, 700 meters long.

I went through the "Zipline Adventure!" I've experienced. I've conquered my fear of heights. Why did  I do it, even spend money, to be scared to death? Well, as author Dr. Bruce Larson put it, "Somehow life is heightened by being scared to death some of the time!"

To be whole means to be open to creative risk. Outside of our comfort zone. Beyond our unrelieved boredom. Freeing ourselves from dull routine. When life is crushing you with boredom or routine, are you able to manufacture risk, adventure, and excitement to heighten your life?

Many years ago, I made a radical work change. I had safety and comfort where I was working. Then I accepted the call to be an independent practitioner, an entrepreneur, in my own field and passion. From there on, the risk and uncertainty of daily life in my "adventure" have made life exciting and stimulating for me. 

As former world chess champion Gary Kasparov put it, "Attackers may sometimes regret bad moves, but it is much worse to forever regret an opportunity you allowed to pass you by."

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