The Importance of Taking Risks

January 30, 2023 Joanna Satterwhite

Taking risks has a bad reputation. We advise people against decisions that seem "risky," warn children away from capers that might result in injury, and, as a general rule of thumb, seek certainty at all costs. On the surface, this ethos makes perfect sense. Why take risks when the odds are against you? After all, that's what risk is: a poor probability or an unlikely shot. 

I used to be strongly in the risk aversion camp. I wouldn't pursue any course of action without first knowing how it would end up. This, of course, led to total paralysis, the array of choices with certifiable outcomes being preposterously thin. As a result, I spent the vast majority of my late teens and early 20s in a kind of chronic anxiety attack, never letting myself move forward lest something bad happen. I squandered my time in constant worry. I stood still. 

Learning to Take Risks

"Thank God for Covid-19" are words you probably don't hear often, but I mean them sincerely. Nothing exposes the myth of certainty like a pandemic and a global meltdown. With every "certain" thing in my life pulled from under me, I had no choice but to reassess my philosophy. A t-shirt I spotted mid-pandemic captured my evolving belief perfectly. It said, "Chaos is a ladder." When there's no sense to be made of anything, opportunity is at its peak. 

I am now the proud owner of a different t-shirt with a similar pithy sentiment. "Send it, expect nothing," it reads on the horizontal, and on the vertical, "no risk, no magic." Taking risks may be, well, risky, but it's the only currency the universe accepts for the transcendent commodities of adventure, love, and truth. 

Taking Risks Is About Faith 

Risk is something else too. At its most essential core, risk is faith. It might be faith in somebody else, faith in the world, or faith in yourself, but you don't take a risk without trust that you'll be caught some way, somehow. With enough faith, you just might be. 

I'd like to share with you my favorite analogy for this relationship between risk and faith. Enjoy this short lesson in hand-balancing and remember—send it. 

Tags: taking risks

APA Reference
Satterwhite, J. (2023, January 30). The Importance of Taking Risks, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Joanna Satterwhite

Joanna is a writer and teacher based in Atlanta. Find her on Substack and Instagram

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