I stepped into the road trying to keep my balance. HONK! HONK!! I jumped back onto the sidewalk, scared out of my mind.
I quickly turned my head and saw a big bus. Damn, that was close. I nearly ended my life by jogging in front of a moving bus. What a stupid risk.
I waved at the bus driver. My way of thanking him for not sending me to my maker. It was March of last year.
I was out for my Saturday morning run, and I was not paying attention. Hardly the relaxing run that I enjoy every weekend.
Running is worth the risk
Second, running keeps me sane. I go for a run whenever I am dealing with darkness.
Third, running enables me to still be an athlete. I am too old for playing almost all sports. I stopped playing soccer a few years ago due to injuries. Doubtful that I will ever play again.
For all these reasons, running is worth the risk.
Why I wrote this billboard
I wrote this billboard as a reminder that I need to pay attention to risk in my life. All of us do. A simple lapse in judgment can lead to disaster.
Running out in front of a moving bus was stupid. I did not look before stepping into the road.
A child knows that you always look before you cross a road. I forgot and it almost cost me dearly.
Thank God the bus driver was paying attention. Otherwise, it would have been lights out for me.
Life is never risk-free
Every day in my life includes risk. You face risks. Everyone faces risks. Life is never risk-free. We all face risks on a daily basis.
All you have to do is get out on the road, and you are dealing with risk in all directions. The question is not whether or not you will face risk, but rather what you will do about it.
Will you rise up and deal with the risk you face, or will you shrink down and hide. This blog is not about whether or not you are willing to deal with the risk in your life.
Instead, it focuses on how you manage personal risk. The bottom line is don’t be stupid when it comes to risk. It is okay to be bold.
It is another thing to be foolish. Don’t be a fool.
The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence.
I am not afraid to take a risk
I must confess that I am not afraid of taking risks. They are a part of my past experience.
Early in my life, I was trained to jump out of perfectly good airplanes as a United States Army paratrooper.
It was scary, full of risks, but we did it anyway. My military training taught me that is okay to be afraid.
The most important thing you learn during paratrooper training is how to deal with that fear. Jumpmasters train you to control your natural fear and manage the risks.
You train until you are proficient. You know what you are doing.
I have carried that training into other parts of my life. It has been beneficial.
But even I need a reminder every now and then to pay more attention to the risk in my life and mitigate them accordingly.
We seem to idolize people who ignore the risk
I notice nowadays that we seem to idolize people who ignore risks. They are becoming celebrities.
All you need to do is scan the internet. You will find endless videos of people doing stupid things, taking on inappropriate risks.
They are applauded for taking life ‘by the horns’.
Some are parachuting off of buildings, others are getting too close to wild animals, and the especially stupid are eating and drinking things that are not safe.
People eating tide pods are a simple example of this phenomenon.
Who does that? Stupid people.
The ones who do not understand anything about real risk.
How I incorporated this billboard into my life
I do my best to manage risk in my life.
Small things from wearing my seat belt every time I am in a vehicle. To larger things like staying off the road in bad weather. Why risk it if I do not have to.
When I was young, taking more risks was easy. You feel invincible when you are young. Now that I am older, I realize that it is okay to take appropriate risks, but not to be a fool.
I do not want the inscription on my tombstone to read that my last words were “Watch this”. You should not either.
Get out there and live life, but be smart about it. Don’t run in front of a moving bus. Instead, look both ways before crossing the road. It will keep you happy and healthy in the long run.
What about you?
Are you taking risks? Good for you.
Are you proactively managing and mitigating the risk in your life? If so, keep up the good work. If not, take a few moments and think about it.
What can you do to keep yourself safe and sound while pushing the envelope? Taking the time to manage the risk in your life may make the difference between a long, healthy life, and going down in flames.
The bus always wins. Don’t take stupid risk — it is not worth it. Boldness is different than foolishness.
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I write a blog for my sons called Doug Keating Letter to Sons. I am sharing content from my blog here. I hope you enjoyed it. All feedback is welcome. Thanks for reading it.