Risk Avoidance

"If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever." –St. Thomas Aquinas


Foresight is difficult to access if we are risk adverse.


The desire to remain safe and in control reduces our tolerance for new possibilities and has us avoid looking at things that are beyond our comfort zone.


Fear is the battleground of the fourth obstruction to foresight. Fear hijacks vision and turns it against itself-our gift becomes our torment.


Rather than facing the unknown with excitement and anticipation, we see the unfamiliar as a threat and an impending catastrophe.


Fear convinces us that our comfort, safety, relationships, livelihood, possessions, even how we see the world, are somehow at risk. We turn timid rather than meet the unexpected with the confidence that we are well matched for the encounter.


As Helen Keller points out, we are mildly delusional if we think that we can control life and remove risk from our experience:


"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."


The Visionmaker calls on the unique personal resources that he or she has been given to undertake the journey of meaning. 


Supported by aptitudes, gifts, talents, character qualities, knowledge and experience, a Visionmaker trusts that the journey of meaning has prepared the way and funded the personal power necessary to meet the unknown from a place of quiet confidence.


He or she recognizes that prudent risk taking is not recklessness.  


Recklessness is the blatant disregard for the consequences of action. Prudent risk taking is the careful consideration and mitigation of the consequences of choices made and not made.  


Once such calculations have been made and precautions taken where possible, a Visionmaker always chooses direct experience over comfort, involvement over passivity and creative tension over stasis. In this way, he or she ensures that vision is growing not diminishing.  


Life is an experiential expedition. For all we know, we have but one opportunity to make this original voyage into a mystery. We can either live it fully...or remain on the shoreline, fretting about the future, waiting for the assurance that all will end well.


No one can give us that guarantee. Visionmakers agree with Mark Twain's assessment of the matter:


"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."


There's a mantra worth repeating: Explore. Dream. Discover!


Thank you for visiting Visions.  As always, I welcome your insights and comments.


© Patrick O’Neill 2009. All rights reserved.



Posted on March 23, 2009 and filed under The Obstructions of Vision.