Monday, August 13, 2012

I've Taken Risks

Is a phrase you never hear. Nobody ever exclaims it, nobody, but nobody who takes risks seems to ever be in a position where they have to whine about the risks they've taken to get where they are.

I'm a true believer that risk is the only way to be rewarded in life, and that most people are truly risk averse. And I know I'm skating back into the negatory territory, but I've just always found the claim 'I've worked hard for blah blah blah' to be laughable. Sadistically laughable.

Because generally people work hard to avoid risks, that is where the majority of our societies efforts are channelled. But life doesn't reward hard work, our society doesn't reward hard work, well I mean it does, but not nearly so much as it rewards the risk takers.

I find the nature of the generally accepted notion of 'hard work' paradoxical, generally when ever people are encouraging you to work hard, it is n the service of some mythical 'risk free' future. In almost every case it takes the form of subscribing to an institution of some kind. The most common is studying really hard to get top marks to advance someday to a well paid salaried position. Whether it is a legal monopoly (medicine, where licenses and training colleges limit the supply of doctors, as well as ensuring quality) to landing a lucrative sallaried position at a top law firm, investment bank, consultancy group or global brand.

The tone of upset, distress and betrayal when people exclaim 'I've worked hard' evokes limited sympathy in me, in that they usually bought (and were sold) a lie. A lie that any instution can offer certainty and security. I have no problems with people sweating and toiling for a salary, allowing somebody else to take the risk. But all instutions are ultimately hypothesis being tested to see whether they match an ever changing reality.

Ultimately the uncertainty has to be assumed by somebody, and these people, the risk takers are the ones who recieve most of the rewards life offers. Furthermore they are unlikely to ever whine when the tide turns against them, because there is no lie in taking risks. They knew the die could come up snake-eyes.

Nothing can offer you true certainty, true security. They may resemble it for long periods of time, but the point is that you need to portion some small part of your psych to accepting that your world may one day crumble about you, that others may en masse think differently to you, that everything you have is a privelege and not an entitlement, so you aren't devestated into unbecoming victimhood when the institution that promised to protect you fails.

Gordon Livingstone's observes that many paradoxes apply to our lives, the greatest risk is taking no risk at all and perhaps even that we gain control by relinquishing it. The people truly in control of their destinies are the ones that signed no contracts with their life, that so and so would pay them so much for whatever services they may render. They simply render the services and hope somebody values them enough to pay.

Fortune favors the brave. Simply working hard can be an act of cowardice.

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