What sort of things do you think of when someone mentions taking a risk? The Heinemann Australian Dictionary gives the meaning of risk as, 'the possibility of suffering harm, loss etc.' Everyone has a different idea of what activities involve a risk.
Do you think bungee jumping, skydiving and parachuting are major risk taking activities? Perhaps to you these things are just plain reckless and irresponsible. On the other hand you may not be in the habit of thinking about what could go wrong and just think of the adrenaline rush you would enjoy. Maybe things like talking in front of a group of people, going to a job interview or starting a new job feel risky to you. Perhaps leaving the safety of your home or being in a crowd is a risk in your view.
Recently I watched the movie, The Net starring Sandra Bullock as Angela Bennett, a computer nerd. Yes, it was the third time I have watched this movie. I love the bit where she says, ‘I take my share of risks. I don’t always floss. I rip the tags off my pillows when they’re new.’ This illustrates my point about each person having a different interpretation of what it means to take a risk.
For some people, physical activities hold a ‘risk’. Incidentally my dictionary gives the following as an example of risk, 'there is a great risk involved in the parachute drop.' Other people feel risk is involved when they undertake an activity where they could be embarrassed or criticised. For some the greatest critic is likely to be that annoying inner critic.
Some writers feel they are really taking a risk when they put their writing out there for others to read.. Panicky thoughts may go through the writer’s mind. What if some people don’t like what I have written, or worse still, what if no one likes it? What if I have made grammatical or spelling mistakes? What if the piece isn’t good enough? What if someone disagrees with my opinion? What if this isn’t as good as other pieces I have published?
Other writers may have more confidence and not go through all this anxiety. Their work may not actually be superior but they just have more confidence. Perhaps they are not such perfectionists. The same can be said of people in other areas of life, not just in regard to writing.
The list of things that constitutes a risk is different for each person. Should we take what we consider to be a risk or should we 'play it safe'? Dean Karnazes, an American marathon runner said, ‘Any goal worth achieving involves an element of risk.’