Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘risk

Failure Averse

with 7 comments

It was a radio exposé about a successful yogurt entreprise. I wasn’t really listening to it, but the interview droned on and on as I wandered around the house doing a variety of other things. I noticed the initial comments about how difficult the early days of the business were and figured it was just a typical worst-to-first tale that one would expect to hear on the radio or television.

When I came by the kitchen again later, I was surprised they were even still talking to this same guy, but then I realized they were still drilling through the worst years before the big victory in the end. Not having listened closely, I didn’t grasp how he was even still in business at that point where he was describing the level of debt that had amassed and scope of his scrounging for cash to get by each successive day.

That’s when it struck me. When Cyndie and I dipped our toes in the world of starting a business venture, we weren’t willing to go into debt to see if it was possible to eventually come up with a financially sustainable operation in the end.

It seems that most stories of wild success include a fair amount of previous failures that came first. I expect there are more tales of failure in the world than there are ultimate successes, but it occurred to me that energy spent avoiding failure probably inhibits overall outcomes.

Obviously, it doesn’t make sense that one should then plan to fail, but I think it does point to the importance of willingness to dance with increasing levels of risk and endure the challenges associated with it, long enough to eventually reach the dreams envisioned.

In our case, neither of us are comfortable with shaky finances. We signed documents of commitment to pay our mortgage every month, and we hold it a priority to be able to do that.

We have accomplished that financial stability throughout our lives thus far, but with that as our primary priority, there wasn’t much additional risk-space available for two non-celebrities launching a new-age horse assisted health and wellness learning venture an hour out of town to have much of a chance.

Honestly, I don’t know how people like the yogurt guy on the radio pull off their rags to riches accomplishments, but I’m glad they do. I’m too failure averse.

I wish I would have listened close enough to find out the name of his company. I’d like to go buy some of his yogurt as a hat-tip to his feat.



Written by johnwhays

October 6, 2019 at 10:20 am

Duly Moved

leave a comment »

Last night I watched the award-winning documentary, Free Solo about Alex Honnold’s epic climb of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. What a masterpiece of a film! I highly recommend it. I was duly moved by the intimate glimpse into Alex’s life, and the inclusion of the emotional challenges of those around him coping with the immensity of the monumental risk he was facing in his quest to climb that granite monolith without ropes.

Alex points out that any of us could die at any moment, whether doing something risky, or not. I tend to avoid things with a high risk of death whenever possible, but it is true that my life could end at any time. One way I interpret his thinking is to frame myself as “free soloing” all the time.

It made my walk with Delilah a little more exciting than normal after the movie.

She suffered a bit of a panic inside her overnight safe-space crate yesterday morning when a rowdy thunderstorm rumbled over top of us at oh-dark-thirty. I didn’t have much success trying to assure her we weren’t in jeopardy as I prepared to leave for work, which made it rather stressful for me to walk out the door and leave her alone until Maddie was due to show up an hour or two later.

I soothed myself by considering how she would greet me when I got home at the end of the day, as if clueless that anything out of the ordinary had happened earlier, which turned out to be true. She did.

We then made the rounds on the property, hiking the perimeter trails and surveying the results of the wild weather. There were 2.5 inches of rain in the gauge and the ground is fully saturated, but no new-fallen trees or limbs, thank goodness. That much rain, or more, is expected to fall before this weather event is done and gone.

We will carry on and survive to the best of our ability, even though I now have this new sense that I am doing it all without the benefit of any ropes.



Written by johnwhays

September 12, 2019 at 6:00 am