Win Today with Christopher Cook

Get Unstuck. Reclaim Your Purpose. Win Today.

The Catastrophic Risk of Not Taking Risks

The old saying, “We don’t know what we like; we like what we know” is absolutely true. But whether we like it or not, life is full of change, and often, change comes as a result of taking risks. Yet not taking risks in life for fear of discomfort and change often produces a life of isolation and under-developed potential. In fact, I believe it is one of the greatest challenges for people—millennials in particular—who either feel stuck or are too comfortable in their predictable (but underwhelming) life to make a change.

The old saying, “We don’t know what we like; we like what we know” is absolutely true. But whether we like it or not, life is full of change, and often, change comes as a result of taking risks. Yet not taking risks in life for fear of discomfort and change often produces a life of isolation and under-developed potential. In fact, I believe it is one of the greatest challenges for people—millennials in particular—who either feel stuck or are too comfortable in their predictable (but underwhelming) life to make a change.

I’ll be the first one to admit that predictability is safe, and safety is comfort. But who would be willing to squander their life’s potential for the sake of fleeting comfort? Who would be willing to stay stuck and locked-up in a life that dishes out a daily ration of mundane?

Well, for starters, people who have experienced any sort of major loss or disappointment. And even though it’s not a good place to stay, I for one have a lot of compassion for those people.

Upsetting the Apple Cart

People who have experienced hardship and disappointment aren’t quick to take-on change. After the accumulation of a lot of chaotic life events, I didn’t want the apple cart upset so-to-speak. Heck, I didn’t even want to touch the apple cart. Why? Because I was tired of disappointment and instead, hedged a bet upon living a predictable, small existence for the sheer sake of comfort instead of living for a call. Maybe you haven’t experienced a boatload of heartache, but instead, are way too comfortable living in your five-mile radius life so-to-speak. But what’s at stake by cashing the chips in for comfort? For starters…

A fulfilling career in a new city.
Incredible new relationships.
The pursuit of your dreams…and maybe even the fulfillment of them.

And the list goes on.

To me, however, the cost of predictability has even more severe ramifications than simply stepping outside of our comfort zone; it’s an issue of stewardship of our lives and faithfulness to that which has been entrusted to us.

Is the Goal Comfort or Faithfulness?

The pursuit of greater opportunities, more resources, and greater influence is noble, but what are you doing with what you have today…like…right now? Faithfulness with what’s in your hands today sets the stage for increase tomorrow. Period. At the end of your life, the Lord will ask, “What did you do with your life?” Of course, the question is rhetorical, but I would hate to be the one who buried his talents because of fear.

Just like the servant of a landowner described in Matthew 25. Allow me to set the stage.

A particular landowner was about to take a long journey and huddled his servants together, entrusting each of them with property—talent, if you will. They each received a measure of talent in proportion to their personal ability. One servant received five talents. Smart as he was, he invested the five, and in return, doubled his share. Another received two talents. He invested both talents wisely, and in return, doubled his share. But the remaining servant, riddled by fear, buried his talent in the cold dirt. Upon the landowner’s return, he rewarded the first two and took the talent from the servant who shrank in laziness and fear.

That’ll preach.

Let’s break this down for life application.

Their Talent is Your Potential

Each servant was entrusted with a measure of talent according to the proportion of his own personal ability, and in our case, potential. Interestingly, the amount of talent wasn’t the issue; faithfulness to what was given was the issue. Such as it is in life, we aren’t responsible for what we wish we had or what someone else has. We are responsible to tend to what we do have and trust the Lord for increase as we are faithful and as it fits into His unique will for our lives.

Check out Matthew 25:18 in the Amplified translation: “But he who had received the one talent went and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.” Because he was, as his master claimed, idle and fearful, he buried his talent. Sort of like people who never take a risk and step outside their comfort zone.

How many of us are either too comfortable or too scared to steward, maximize, and invest the life with which we have been entrusted for fear of failure, inconvenience, and discomfort?

The point is that your life (and my life) is God’s investment and it is a big deal.

Five Truths About Taking Risks

If life has thrown you a nasty curveball or has pelted you with unrelenting pain and you feel trapped in fear of stepping out of the boat, trust me, I get it. I am not a risk-taker and quite honestly, I hate change, especially after living through the last several years. Truly. But it is with great compassion that I encourage and implore you to keep moving forward. Remember, all God is looking for is faithfulness with what is in your hands. Take each day as a new day and step-out, even if you’re scared…witless…as you do it.

On the flip-side, if you’re burying your talent simply because your predictable life is just too easy and comfortable, I don’t have sympathy. But I do have compassion—compassion to challenge you to seize today because you’ll never get today back. And someday, “today” will be 15 years down the road.

That said, here are five undeniable truths about taking risks in life:

  1. Taking risks provides clarity. Two months ago, I stepped way outside my comfort zone and took a risk that cost me every ounce of comfort and every morsel of predictability. But in the last two months, I’ve gained more clarity on who I am, passion for my purpose, and clarity about what is most valuable to me in this life.
  1. Taking the risk will cost you more than you anticipated up front. Truly, it will. But I believe the reward is greater than the risk. Even if the risk ends-up not working out, the learning experience is definitely worth the investment.
  1. Taking the risk (or not taking the risk) because of a people-pleasing motivation will backfire quicker than you could ever expect. Remember the story I shared from Matthew 25? What’s at stake is faithfulness to properly manage something that was entrusted to you by God Himself: your purpose-loaded life. Yet operating in fear will render you impotent in the development of that potential.
  1. Taking the risk is not at all equivalent to gambling. Taking risks has nothing to do with throwing caution to the wind or flipping a coin. I believe taking risks involves careful planning, deliberate investigation, and a truckload of counsel. Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where no wise guidance is, the people fall, but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”
  1. Not taking risks will likely produce regret. And at the end of life, will you look back and ask the proverbial question, “what if?” Or, will you look back upon life and repeat the words of author Mark Frost: “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body. But rather, to skid in broadside, thoroughly used-up, totally worn-out, and loudly proclaiming…WOW, what a ride.”

Listen, you might step-out, find-out, and fall flat on your face. But at least you tried. At least you took a risk instead of burying your talent in the cold, hard, ground.

After writing all 1,200 words here, I’m swallowing hard, rolling-up my sleeves, and ready to go after this thing called life. I have to. You have to. How can we not?

Let’s do it together.

Mad love,

Chris

  • Megan

    This came at the right time. Thank you!