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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Risk: A Bittersweet Necessity

Describe a time when you lost money. (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1473)..

I was about five years old.  Our family lived in Okeechobee, FL.  Mother, Daddy, my brother and I were in a remote area fishing off the side of a bridge. I was fishing with a cane pole.  The cork bobbed on the dark water.  Suddenly the cork went under and I pulled hard on the pole and landed a bream.  The fish seemed huge at the time, but was no match for the awesome pride I felt.

That, of course, is a memory I would not have if Daddy had not been willing to risk that I might come home that day dejected from never getting a bite.  Looking back, it was well worth the risk--especially since it had a happy conclusion.

Years later I put a sizable sum in the stock market.  I remember the confidence with which I invested.  I had immense confidence that the tech stock would provide me with awesome capital growth.  I distinctly remember having high anxiety that the buy transactions might be delayed a few moments and I miss out on a major move upward.  A few months later the stock market sank to historic lows and I incurred major losses.  No doubt everyone that buys a lotto ticket is equally confident that the ticket purchased will cascade returns.

I have over the years spent a small fortune on education--not really knowing for certain if I would pass or fail--or if I should get the degree, if it would pay off tangibly or intangibly.  Yet on campus on a crisp fall morning I was confident that education would reap unspecified rewards and with joyful emotion I enrolled in classes.

This is bittersweet for confidence alone does not eliminate risk--no matter how filled with optimism and certitude we are. Yet without confidence we would never push forward and create fresh realities.

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