Risk Taking

I recently read this book by Bear Grylls: Mud, Sweat and Tears. After going to the GLS summit last year I watched Bear give a testimony on his life and how to keep that fire going on in yours. He has always been a significant person in my life for his adventurous spirit and the many things he has accomplished in a short amount of time. It was only after that conference did I actually decide to buy one of his books.

To those of you that perhaps do not know of Bear Grylls here are a few of his exploits: He was a member of the SAS force between 1994 and 1997. In 1998 he become the youngest Briton to climb Mount Everest. He was the host of the show Man vs. Wild from 2006 to 2011. Just to name a few.

In his book he speaks about many of his achievements not in such a way to brag about it but rather to show how he got there and that he is not some extraordinary human but just someone that worked that little bit harder, that had a little more fight and that never gave up.

There were a couple of lessons that I could relate to and processed in my own situations. One was that during his time in the SAS and going through training to get to the actual team he had to find a way to push himself. While running up a tough hill for the 20th time or carrying a heavy load with all your might and barely making it he had to stay encouraged. At times his fellow soldiers were there to encourage him but there were times where they were alone. Those were the times he needed to encourage himself. When no one was there to help.

Unfortunately we will experience these same difficulties and be alone, in those times you will have to encourage yourself. You will be faced with a task that may leave you at your weakest point, perhaps even your breaking point and if you aren’t able to motivate yourself in that time you may struggle to get out of that rut.

Remember of course that you are never alone and that He is there to encourage you. It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe in Him or yourself at the time because He believes in you every time.

When he climbed Mount Everest there was a time where he had to make a choice. A storm was on its way so Bear could either continue the climb or return to base camp. A few went back down but Bear wanted to reach the summit. In the end he made it, but by the skin of his teeth. It was a very big risk and the chances of him dying were very high.

Up until that point Bear lived life with complete adventure but also with a lot of risky behaviour. Behaviour that could have got him in trouble many times or even killed. Most mountain climbers have the mentality to enjoy the trip but to have a ratio of experience and risk of 99% to 1%. When a tough decision needs to be made you make it based on experience rather than risk. If it seems dangerous but you know you can do it then go for it. If there is a slight doubt, then don’t. From that moment onward he lived with that sort of mentality. I don’t think his risk was only 1% but I’m sure he is a lot less crazy with his decision making.

For me that was a huge revelation. In my line of work and some of the activities I enjoy doing I can be risking my body and at times my life. It certainly gives me a sense of thrill and adrenaline but there will be a time where I could go too far if I’m not too careful. Sometimes it’s important to think about what sort of ramifications there may be if something goes wrong and other times it is not so important. What is most important is to know when. I have used that principle in my line of work the past few weeks and I have been surprised to see how often I would actually not do something because it is just plain stupid. To think that I have only had one medium injury in the past year is rather a miracle. There have also been times where I have done risky things but it was because I trusted my ability.

I still occasionally do a very risky activity to reach a desired goal but I limit that behaviour to a minimum. After all, I’m never alone.

I’m not saying that you should not have fun and be cautious for every given moment, but to always question the situation. If you attempt activities that are constantly dangerous but yet fun you may end up not having to have that opportunity ever again. But in Bear Grylls situation and even in mine there are times where we shouldn’t even be alive but we were under God’s wings for He has grace upon all our lives and has a purpose that we all need to fulfill.


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