Have you ever stopped yourself from doing something because the risk was too great? Have you then later regretted that, knowing that the risk was not real?

I had the pleasure of going out on a trip to Bute last week to visit the splendid Mount Stuart. On my way, I heard that the shipwreck at Ettrick Bay had been removed on the grounds of safety.

I was rather dismayed by this. Though it was not the most beautiful wreck I have ever seen, it certainly added some character to the beach. I also wondered where the local authorities would stop in their efforts to prevent us from harm. Perhaps they would start to cut down all the trees to stop young children from climbing into them…

I also wondered how we set our own limits regarding risk. Normal life experiences help us set limits and some we get from others. Sometimes that is helpful to us. I don’t need to put my hand in the fire to know that I will burn myself in the flames. Yet, at other times that advice is less than helpful and may even stop us moving forward at all. We become over cautious. Just like the local authorities who fear litigation, real or perceived.

So perhaps the next time you say you can’t do something, ask yourself ‘Why can’t I do that?’ If the answer is because of the fact that the risk is too great, become curious. Wonder if the risk is real or perceived. Is the real risk really real?

As children, we were fearless and risk was all part of the game of life. Risk is something we have learnt to factor into our daily activities. In some cases that is entirely appropriate. Yet why apply it to everything? The fun and joy of life is the adventure and exploring our own limits. As we push back our own limits and live life the way we want to, rather than the way they want us to, then perhaps we begin to sense a freedom that rules and regulations have begun to choke out of us. The freedom to choose.

I dare you. Choose to be different. Have the courage to take a risk and live a little. I think you might enjoy it.

Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go
TS Elliot (1888-1965)
Poet, dramatist, Nobel Prize for Literature 1948