Thanks again to John, this was in my inbox this morning, just what I needed!
Apparent risk and actual risk
There are people who I will never encounter in a restaurant.
That's because when these people go out for dinner, they go to chain restaurants. These are the tourists in New York who seek out the familiar Olive Garden instead of walking down the street to Pure.
That's fine. It's a personal choice.
But it got me thinking about the difference between apparent and actual risk, and how that choice affects just about everything we do.
The concierge at a fancy hotel spends her time helping tourists and business travelers avoid apparent risk. She'll book the boring, defensible, consistent tour, not the crazy guy who's actually a trained architect and a dissident. She'll recommend the restaurant from Zagats, not from Chowhound.
Apparent risk is what keeps someone working at a big company, even if it's doing layoffs. It feels safer to stay there than to do the (apparently) insanely risky thing and start a new venture.
Apparent risk is what gets someone who is afraid of plane crashes to drive, even though driving is more dangerous.
Apparent risk is avoiding the chance that people will laugh at you and instead backing yourself into the very real possibility that you're going to become obsolete or irrelevant.
When things get interesting is when the apparently risky is demonstrably [less safe] than the actually risky. That's when we sometimes become uncomfortable enough with our reliance on the apparent to focus on the actual. Think about that the next time they make you take off your shoes at the airport.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I get up at 5am to do my yoga and I notice my mind is all over the place. Throughout my practice I am reminding myself to come back to the present. I don't even remember what I was thinking about, a lot of random thoughts. Usually, by the time I am done with my practice, I am calm and centered. Not today. I got upstairs and my mind turns on me. I have been backsliding on smoking am I'm really starting to feel it in my lungs so I decide today I won't smoke, I'll wear a patch instead. I am fully aware that this is a big week. Thursday, we will no longer own our home. Friday, we will be giving up our safe jobs that we've had for over a decade. My resolute determination is wavering, falling to the background. I barely remember why we are doing this as I think about how this will make or break us. Will we remain together? Is he going to tell me he's gay and leave me? I have no doubt that Dan is not gay, but my mind plays back all the Oprah shows where women are talking about their husbands leaving them for another man. I get out of the shower and put the patch on and feel better. Those thoughts leave me while Dan and I quietly get ready for work. I go downstairs to start breakfast, my stomach churning, and Dan joins me moments later. Still, we are lost in our thoughts, saying nothing, going about our work morning routine. Finally, I say I'm freaking out and he says he is too. He says we will no longer own a home or have reliable jobs, jobs we've had for a long time. I ask if we are going to make it? Will you tell me you are gay or something? He laughs, says he has no doubt we'll make it. I ask him for a hug and to tell me that everything is going to be alright. He gladly and lovingly obliges. He says I'm crazy if I think I can quit today or this week for that matter. I take off my patch and we go out for a smoke.