Written on the white board at the gym yesterday was this: When is it safe to risk?
I find that question an interesting ponderable. Here are some of my thoughts about it today.
A risk is by definition hazardous and can cause harm. Being safe appears to be the opposite of risk. To safely face a risky challenge one can practice actions that will reduce the risks of the challenge. Perhaps with enough practice and preparation what seemed risky previously becomes something manageable and therefore not a risk.
On the other hand we trade off safety in a risky situation for a resulting better good. A parent will take many risks in order to help their child be safe, perhaps even choosing to die so that a child may live. I have a friend who is in major surgery as I write this. He has chosen to take the risk of the surgery and the removal of a vital organ of which he has only one so that he has a better chance of safely living longer. By weighing the merits and risks of a particular action we hopefully choose the path that will be best in the long term.
Being always the safest, in this adventure called living, is not living to our potential. Likewise taking risks for which we are adequately not prepared is perhaps one definition of stupid.
I think that courage comes from knowing the risks, facing the risks, in order to try to achieve a safe end, either for ourselves or for others.
But then, I’m human and therefore I may be wrong about this.