A few years back, my laptop died right before Christmas Eve. I was in Bali with my girlfriend celebrating being broke, Bali being the only country we could afford to stay in given its proximity to Australia. We had less than several hundred remaining in our bank accounts but we believed we would be fine: it wasn’t as if there was much we could spend on in that part of Bali’s wilderness anyways.
Until my laptop died. And hers as well. (Can I just say, this is probably why you don’t want to use aftermarket chargers? Unregulated power flow can burn your laptop out.)
The moment our laptops died I called all repair shops on the island, but because it was Christmas Eve, all of them except one, were closed. And this was a problem because it was a repair shop that was smack right in the middle of nowhere: they had no actual storefront, no guarantee as to when they could fix it, and we would have to pay an initial hundred and fifty as a deposit.
Everything about it screamed SCAM!, would risk money we didn’t have, but we didn’t have a choice. It was either get our laptops repaired, or miss our work deadlines and not get paid. So I did exactly what I didn’t want to do, against all intuition and advice and sent our laptops to a random guy who sparingly answered his phone.
The good news was, it wasn’t a scam. Repairs were attempted and the deposit was returned, but the bad news was…the guy had no idea what he was doing. Instead of fixing the laptop, he made it worse: because he dissembled our keyboards using a heat gun, most of our keys were now warped. So not only did we have laptops that didn’t work, we now had laptops that would cost even more than initial to fix.
Looking back at this situation years later, I’ve often wondered if I would still taken the risk, and I think I still would’ve.
You see, risk happens every day, whether we want it or not. When we walk outdoors, we risk getting shit on by a bird or worse, being hit by a car. When we drive, we risk collision.
Even when we’re working or being in a relationship, we’re risking other opportunities we could’ve had that moment — perhaps a better job elsewhere that offers greater fulfillment or a relationship that feels less suffocating. But those are the risks we take, because what we see are the values offered that far exceeds that of the risk.
So the question isn’t whether or not taking risks is inherently bad, but whether or not we can see the value in taking those risks. But what always surprises me, are the risks we do take and those we don’t.
We risk our health by eating the things we shouldn’t. We risk our dreams by doing everything but. We risk our happiness by focusing on anguishes of the past. And we risk our opportunities for greatness, by staying stagnant. These are the far greater risks that we give up on everyday, compared to worrying about whether or not we’re being scammed, if we should risk a mortgage on the house, or spend money on an abundance of food.
And it’s heartbreaking to realize that most people only ever see risks not worth taking, but never the risks worth taking. When it’s precisely everything you’ve ever wanted that is on the other side of fear, from the risks worth taking.