Life Expectancy and the Risk We Face

A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for”.

William Shedd


Untold numbers of individuals across the world dream of and, in fact pine for, that phenomenon known as “The American Dream”. The United States was founded upon the very notion of that dream. Millions left their homeland, arriving, literally, from every country of the world–in search of something better for themselves attempting to improve their lot in life. In doing so, they took phenomenal risk.

The American Dream is a process of taking risk, of choosing to struggle for some length of time, to work exceptionally hard, to change your lot in life.

Of course, one need not live in America to have “an American Dream” and to live such a process. Such risk taking for reward is possible in many places on this planet.

None of us knows what tomorrow will bring.

In another post, I wrote about the Proverbial Bus. What does that phrase mean? It means that you could die tomorrow, that your world can be transformed in the matter of a heartbeat. My brother-in-law recently illustrated this point. Karl Moritz, husband to my sister, Staci Moritz, was cycling home from Nike, where he worked.

Karl loves his job more than you can imagine. Karl is lucky enough to have that feeling that he “gets to go to work”. His work is one of his passions and Nike is, for him, an ideal place to realize such passion. Another one of his passions is cycling. Karl was cycling home from work one day and lost control of his bike. According to the police report and witnesses, the handlebars of his bike began to shake wildly. As a result, Karl flew over the handlebars, landed into oncoming traffic and was hit by a car. It was a fluke accident.

Karl found himself facedown, underneath that vehicle, being dragged for what police believe was about thirty feet. That sudden and unexpected accident fractured his skull in numerous places, broke his neck in two places, ripped his ear off, broke his jaw, shattered his pelvis and, it is likely, caused Karl to suffer brain damage. All of this happened in the matter of seconds. This is the proverbial bus. I should not here that I have helped establish a fund for Karl and his family, which includes three boys under the age of seven.

Truly, it can happen to any of us. There are any numbers of buses to face in life.

With this understanding, some might think, “Well, why get out of bed”? I would respond, “Because if you don’t, you are wasting your life and your time and opportunities within it”.

We face risk everyday. Getting in a car is a risk. Stepping into a wet tub is a risk. Investing finances in a dream is a risk.

But with risk, comes the potential for reward. But, with risk, too, comes the potential for loss. We fear losing our personal treasure, respect of others, our family’s security, etc. That is the nature of risk. For entrepreneurs, that is the game that we play.

To not risk, is to not live, as far as I am concerned. Life is short (for those who choose to live it). The common saying of the lottery is “You cannot win, unless you play”.

What is your risk tolerance? Do you feel a desire tug at you? Do you want something more in your life? What risks are you willing to take to obtain that potential?

Check out the Life expectancy of people in varied countries of the world.

For many people in the world, they face a life expectancy of 75 or 80 years. Considering how long you might live, how much of a risk are you taking at the age of 35 or 40? If you are presently forty and live to be eighty, you are on a course to live every year, every minute, every second that you have lived on this planet, to date, again.

When looking at risk through such a lens, often risk shrinks in its magnitude.

When taking risks, we must take educated risks, informed risks, risks that have the potential to result in a “win” for us. In taking this sort of risk, you decrease your chances of a negative impact and increase your chances of “improving your lot in life”.

Jim Hart is the founder of Austin Conservatory of Professional Arts and The International Theatre Academy Norway. Both schools offer Entrepreneurial Training for the Arts.


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