Taking No Risk Is The Greatest Risk Of All

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November 15, 2012 by helenglasspoole


Bear Grylls said If you risk nothing you gain nothing.’

Yesterday morning I was 10 metres up in the air on an aerial walkway faced with a shaky, wobbly horizontal ladder strung out before me which led to the ‘leap of faith’ – a gap in the walkway. I was there with a group of undergraduate trainee teachers who have selected a module looking at children’s health and well-being. It was a morning of fears, and for some tears, an overwhelming sense of achievement, fantastic team-building, encouragement and support (and a camp-fire and marshmallow toasting).

What a ‘risk’ is for each of us varies – what Bear takes in his stride might be something way out of the comfort zone for many of us. ‘Risk’ is an interesting term as it evokes a range of responses. If by taking a risk, we put ourselves in a dangerous situation, why would we want to take that risk? But if there is not some element of danger, is it really a risk?

Perhaps it depends on what is at stake as to whether it is worth taking the risk; if we really want the outcome, we might be more willing to take the risk. Perhaps it depends on the nature or severity of what happens if things go wrong. Perhaps it depends on what we believe about the positive impact that risk taking has on us personally.

When we think of risk-taking, we often think of physical risk, however, there are many types of risky situations. Standing up in front of a class of children as a novice teacher is a risk for some. It is a vulnerable place to be as it is exposed – developing skills, knowledge and understanding and making mistakes in front of those you are teaching, your teaching partner and those who will be assessing you. As you grow in confidence and experience, you may feel ‘safer’ in your role as a teacher. It may start to feel easier and you establish a new comfort zone. If you’re up for the risk, you will soon be aiming for even more adventurous things so won’t stay still for long…

It is not possible to look at a situation and call it ‘risky’ or ‘not risky’ because for some of us, it might be well within our comfort zone whilst for others, it is a vulnerable position, stepping out into new territory. So well done for all the risks taken so far during SE1 and if you’re still in your comfort zone, there’s still time to get moving and take your own leap of faith.


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