How I Am Happy

Risk vs. Reward

When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know you want?

Whether it is minute or life altering, it’s human nature to weigh the risks vs. rewards of the decisions we make. How many times in your life have you shrugged off a desire to do something you’d enjoy, something that would make you happy. You most likely thought to yourself and weighed the risks vs rewards “financially, this isn’t the best move to make right now” or “I can’t get the time off work.” Now, how many times have you thought of that time you made the decision not to go and seriously regret it? Last question to ask yourself, how well did you REALLY factor in the reward?

It is like a disease plaguing our minds that force our brains to place more importance and weight on the risks in these situations, why, I honestly haven’t a clue, but it makes me want to punch people in the neck who constantly view life through that lens. Stop believing your job is so awesome that you won’t leave it for a month to go explore a different country, culture, and extreme adventure. Something like 70% of Americans dislike their occupation, and that same 70% is probably internally unhappy with their lives. Why do we put ourselves through this, it makes no fucking sense. All it takes is one burst of will power to get out and stop weighing the risks vs. rewards and you will develop a new perspective on the way we’re suppose to live.

For myself, not obtaining a career job right out of college could probably end up being one of the best thing to happen to me in the past 10 years. There are thousands of young adults my age in that same situation, saying how could that be possible, you went to college for four years, got your degree, and now it’s time to get an entry-level job to pay off for your investment in education (well our parents investments). It is not the fact that I couldn’t get a job that made me happy about this situtation, it’s the fact that I used this time as an opportunity to, for really the first time in my life, make a life changing decision for myself and for reasons I wanted.

I was in a serious rut, working my same summer job, living at home, blowing all my money on partying 5 days a week, and inbetween working and partying I was applying for jobs that I honestly didn’t want. I looked at this situation and simply asked myself what have I wanted to do over the past 5 years that has been hindered by the decsions I thought I HAD to make to please others. With winter approaching I came to the conclusion I’ve always wanted to live in the mountains, they had everything I enjoyed and found happiness in (snowboarding, mountain biking, fishing, camping, music, laidback people, etc.)

I began weighing the risks of this decision with the rewards, and because I had never lived in the mountains before or had never even been to Colorado before I had no solid ground to base my rewards off of. My sole reward was doing what I wanted for once, taking the risk of leaving family and friends, taking the risk of not finding a job to pay rent, taking the risk of hating my living situation out there, taking the risk of running into traveling toubles by myself on a 32 hour drive (I’ve never perosnally driven more then 4-5 hours in one sitting), taking the risk of having to come back home after a couple months, taking the risk of failure. The rewards; the complete oppisite. So, I stopped going out 5 days a week, saved up no more than $1,500, found an apartment through Craigslist to share a bedroom with a kid I’ve never met, packed up my car and frove 32 hours to Vail, Colorado. I did not have a job when I arrive, but found one two weeks later paying a meesely $9.20/hr, but hey I was working outside enjoying the elements, so I didn’t mind. To make this long story short, I haven’t regretted this decision for a second, and what was a dismal time for me ended up fostering the best decision I’ve made in a long time. I have been living here for 7 months, I snowboarded over 60 days in the period between January and April, I now mountain bike at least 4 days a week, I hike, camp, fish, etc. doing everything that makes me happy and produces life experiences. I went from making $9.20/hr working a seasonal job, to landing a full-time year-round salaried position. I am soon going to move out of my shared 1 bedroom apartment to live in a larger house with friends I have made out here.

I went off on a bit of a tangent there, but the general point I am trying to convey is I would never be as happy with my life right had I not said screw the risks and realized the potential for much greater reward awaits. Take risks, risks produce rewards, risks produce happiness, nothing is more satisfiying that over coming a fear or taking a risk and succeeding. Too many people are afraid of failing, getting hurt, not pleasing others, afraid of being judged, that they live a life of dull repetitive behavior that never pleases ones thirst for adventure and change. Failure is bound to happen when you constantly take risks, failure is a motivator to produce better results in the future. Which is worse, failure, or never trying? If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?

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One thought on “Risk vs. Reward

  1. Pingback: The Risks and Rewards of Traveling Alone | Travel Relapse

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