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Politicole: Taking Chances To Change Your World

By NICOLE BURROWS

Most people I know are averse to taking chances, creating changes and new possibilities where they can’t see them. But I’ve taken so many of them, in every way you can think of, in every aspect of my life.

I couldn’t possibly enumerate them all, but suffice to say that for most of my life I’ve been a constant risk-taker ... within the basic acceptable limits, I suppose.

I would probably compromise a few meals if it meant I could get what I want. I may forego lots of money to have a life that I choose to have. I might take myself out of a comfort zone if there was something that beckoned to me that it was a more important thing in the whole of (my) life. Things have never moved me to act; a desire to see the world in a different way moves me to act. A desire to see people have better lives in the world moves me to act. And to get there requires taking chances.

I’ve never had a problem with taking chances, because I have always been passionate about the things I wanted to take chances for. I always identified that the only person to get me what I want/need is me. And the most likely thing between me today and me tomorrow is me taking at least one or more chances to get from here to there. And after racking my brain time and again about the reasons why I may be moved when others may not be, I guess that’s where I and some others may differ from the average person ... what the rest of the world identifies with as ‘the norm’.

We want more than what we are or what we have where we sit. We are people for whom average is not nor has ever been sufficient. It may have something to do with our education, or the positive influences at varying points in our lives. But at this point in our adult lives, where we can make firm decisions on our own, I’m more inclined to believe that because of what we want or choose to take chances on, we don’t allow the unknown to determine where we end up by forcing us to decide we can’t get there ... that we can’t even take the journey because it’s doubtful.

It begs the question, how many opportunities do we all lose by standing on the fence or being fearful or hesitant, because we are continually defined by ‘normal’ parameters? What are we missing when we do that? If you could imagine the possibilities, would they not be enough to propel you in the direction you’d prefer to move in and not the one you’re forced in? What would make you do something uncharacteristic of you to have what you want or believe in most?

Most times, in a world of restraints, if you want something, it means you have to be the one to get it. But for too long we spend too much time risking emotions and other limited resources on inappropriate people who and purposes which have never matched up to the quality of chance we want to take. So we end up taking chances on what is not actually worthwhile at all. In that case, most of the desire or drive is nothing other than opportunities to exercise simple selfishness.

From what I can see, chances taken by the unselfish among us are most often the chances worth taking. They are chances which, in the final analysis, tend to amount to something substantial at the end - substantially good, positive, useful, helpful, to the greatest number of people or with the greatest potential to have a cumulative impact on a chain of people whether known or unknown, intended or unintended. To get where you aim to go, you need people on your side who think the way you do. Not everyone has to be the same or think the same, but common threads must exist to keep you bound to one another and to your purpose.

Knowing this primary difference between people who are prepared and willing to take risks is important to the outcome of the risk. Knowing this difference shows you who you can call on to move a plan or even people in the direction you’d want them to go. Whatever you do, don’t look to a selfish person to take a meaningful chance with or for you. Conversely, don’t expect a meaningful chance to ever be one taken by a selfish person, perhaps with the exception of uniquely personal and daredevil behaviour.

To identify who you need on your side, you need to determine the degree of selfishness in a person, see what they’re willing to risk, ongoing, to get what they want. And I don’t mean the mindless behaviour or the occasional trade-off.

In the absence of any other limiting factors, we all do exactly as we choose and the element of risk is at a minimum because we can do as we choose with relative ease. When extenuating circumstances require that you act out of the ordinary, and into the extraordinary, when you’re willing to put your reputation, livelihood, routine, comforts, on the line to accomplish what you believe to be better for you or at least for one other person, you’re more likely to take the chance.

It’s a chance because you never know if or when it will be fruitful. But your ability to see beyond only what it can do for you means you are more likely to go out of your way or break the mould to have it or to do it.

The world very easily makes us selfish at the cost of others’ wellbeing. To be able to counter that effect requires a mindset that looks further than the immediately pleasurable, one that looks beyond self-gratification. How many people are there in your circles of influence or within your closest reach who think along the same lines as you do? How can what makes us different be made to be more similar in order to get common goals accomplished, keeping individual selfishness at bay?

If you have to make a decision about this, and you know someone is plainly selfish, don’t expect that person to take chances for you or with you. If someone won’t take chances for you, don’t ever expect them to see beyond their own desires.

The selflessness of taking chances sounds very much like that favoured word ‘sacrifice’. You give up something to get something else. But I think it’s a bit more than just giving up something. It’s mature collaboration that leads to wholesome decision-making which benefits more than the one person making the decision. If you come to appreciate the hairline difference between giving up (sacrifice) and giving over (selflessness), or if you learn to weed faster through the excess, you could more readily identify your place in the midst of others ... where you stand and where you absolutely do not stand.

A certain kind of person believes strongly in the possibility of something good happening, without the aid of supernatural forces, the alien or heavenly kind, and in spite of the fact that many of us see no reason to believe in much at all. That possibility sustains their hopefulness.

And if you can keep hopefulness, you could end up with greater possibility as reality. When bold enough to do something with an outcome you cannot accurately anticipate before it happens, your courage to take a chance opens the door wider for the very thing you want or had hoped for.

View your mental or emotional ability to take a chance as an indication of how much you want something, but also as an indication that you quite possibly do have or have created the required amount of space in your mind to achieve what is truly fulfilling.

• Send email to nburrows at tribunemedia.net

Comments

banker 4 years, 8 months ago

The biggest chance that you should take is on yourself - your abilities, your goodness as a person and your intellectual abilities. And this woman is an intellectual giant among Bahamians.

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