An Adventurer’s Guide to Embracing Risk: It’s Not What You Might Think

Risk isn’t what most people think it is.  Risk is almost universally seen as a bad thing – something to mitigate and avoid at all costs.  So companies have entire risk management divisions and we do everything we can to personally manage and mitigate risk in our lives, businesses, relationships, jobs, marriages and communities.

And the whole thing is a complete farce – a total joke.  Why? For three important reasons:

  1. It is only through embracing risk that you will create the life you want,
  2. Risk can skew your perception of reality,
  3. You can’t “manage” risk any more than you can manage time.

Risk is most accurately defined as an uncertain outcome and it is neither necessarily good nor bad.  It simply means that we don’t know exactly what is going to happen.  But most people don’t like uncertainty.  It makes people nervous.  It makes relationships nervous.  It makes businesses nervous.  Turns out that human beings are hard wired to have an aversion to uncertainty.  So many people shun risk, incorrectly believing that an uncertain outcome is always a bad outcome.

If embracing risk really means learning how to work with uncertain outcomes, why is that so immensely important? What most people miss is that it is only through risk – or uncertain outcomes – that the greatest advances in your life can happen.  Unless you already have exactly what you want in life, you are going to have to do things differently than you are doing them now. You’re here at T1Q because you WANT a change right? Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  So to connect with your life’s purpose and live your passion every day, you are going to have to do some things that you’ve never done before which means dealing with uncertainty. Or you risk staying stuck exactly where you are – which is the greatest risk of all.

How to use diving with sharks as a key tool to get what you really want in life

Most people are scared to death of sharks. I know this because among other things, I’m a professional shark diver. I’ve been in the ocean all over the world with thousands of wild sharks on thousands of dives and I still have all my fingers and toes.  Sound improbable? I remember watching a National Geographic show as a child that showed young kids swimming off a village in New Guinea with numerous sharks in the water nearby. I remember thinking, “My God, what are they doing letting those children swim there?” Turns out, the vast majority of the more than 375 species of sharks are not aggressive towards humans. Turns out our entire view of the risk of swimming with most sharks is highly skewed. Just look at the following statistics:

Event, Annual Deaths and Lifetime Risk

Heart disease: 652,486:  (1 in 5)

Car accidents: 44,757:  (1 in 84)

Being struck by lightning: 47:  (1 in 79,746)

Shark attack: 17:  (1 in 220,475)

So while we logically know that the probability of getting injured driving to work is much higher than getting bitten by a shark, our mind still freaks out when we see a dorsal fin break the surface of the ocean. Yet we can eat a fat laden – deep fried meal, talk on our cell phone while we drive in bumper to bumper traffic and walk in the rain without a worry in the world. It’s all a matter of perception.

Don’t let the fear of risk rule and run your life when it shouldn’t. Often, when you really investigate things, they turn out to be very different than what you originally believed. One of the biggest problems with risk management is the illusion it creates that circumstances are different than what they really are.  Just look at our most recent financial crisis; everybody was absolutely certain things were really great right up until the wheels went flying off and everything went over a cliff. That’s exactly what I found diving with sharks. Contrary to popular belief, just like the children off that village, I didn’t get eaten the second I got in the water.

Are you hiding from your life’s purpose?

Which leads me to an important question: Are you hiding from your purpose because of a fear of risk? There are a number of excellent tools to help you find your life’s purpose including the Simple Life Purpose E-Book. But I’ll bet that you already know, deep down inside what your purpose is. So why aren’t you already living it?

Because once you know and acknowledge your purpose it compels you to do something about it and that scares the hell out of everybody. Fear of uncertainty keeps you stuck where you are because you don’t know how to get to where you want to go. That’s why you don’t do the most important thing and take the first step – what we call Decide to Decide. So how can you take that first step to get the purpose and passion driven life you want and deserve? How do you break what we call the Fear Shackle and learn to embrace risk?

  • Do your homework and make sure that fear of risk hasn’t skewed your perception of the real circumstances. Then, it really comes down to learning to work with uncertainty and this is about getting support. Fortunately, there is a lot of help out there.
  • Find people who have done what you want to do and mentor with them. You can mentor in a number of ways: subscribe to their stuff however they deliver it, see if they have a product or course that would help you achieve your goals or meet them in person.
  • Create a mastermind of like minded people that you can share your journey with, bounce ideas off of, get feedback and support from. Ideally, these people will be on the same journey as you but that’s not mandatory. The most important thing is that your mastermind offers perspective, support and helps you create action.

Go now and find your purpose today; embrace risk and take immediate action to build a life where you can live your passion!

If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.

– Bruce Lee, martial arts legend

Sharkman and his wife Mantagirl are The Adventure Couple. They are world explorers, authors, educators and filmmakers on a quest to help you live a more exciting, fulfilling and purpose driven life through adventure. Learn how by reading The Live Adventurously Manifesto.  They are members of the prestigious Explorers Club and have a weakness for dark chocolate.