Success is a Risky Business

It came as a rude shock to my parents when I chose English Literature as my major subject in college. While my dad did a double-take on this side-effect of instilling a chronic reading habit in his daughter, my mother sided with the majority opinion that it was a lazy choice.

Mothers; they are right more often than not.

Those were the turbulent times when the teenage angst repeatedly crashed against the still fragile shores of reason and practical wisdom. There was little room to make informed decisions and an even smaller space to worry about them. I went after what seemed comfortable and easy to do.

Five years down the line, with a master’s degree in hand and half-baked PhD plans, I look back at that seemingly reckless choice with pride, with a hint of maybe-i-got-lucky.

But taking risks is easy when you don’t factor in the possibilities of things that can go right and those that can go horribly wrong. You never know when your feet stumble past the fine line that divides smart risks from incredibly-stupid-what-were-you-thinking kind of risks. And it happens that the excitement of possible gain does not always offset the fear of probable loss.

When you play safe, you reduce your chances of losing. When you play too safe, you delay your success.

The trick is to find the middle ground where, when you take a leap, less than a quarter of it depends on your faith on successfully making it to the other side.

Artwork by Zalas

You might just land on a greener patch of grass.

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