A Word About Risk | August 2016

I’m in the doghouse. If one writes for the purpose of publication, one writes to a deadline. In my case, that deadline was about a week ago. As I said, I’m in the doghouse; you won’t be surprised to find out that it is a familiar place given my self-indulgent (and self-proclaimed) witticisms.
So to get out of the doghouse and into the paper (once again), I looked back to last month’s column to see where we left off. I suggested you stay strong and stay with your plan (i.e. in the market as much as you can tolerate being in the market), and thirty days later I am about to injure myself with self-supplied pats on the back.
But alas, I once had a colleague that often reminded me (and all who need such) never to confuse luck with brilliance. Point made, although my belief in Calvinism and my similarly-minded friends shudder at the word “luck”.
But let’s talk about “luck” for a while, or Providence, if you prefer. Regardless of what you call it, it is that which is beyond our control or prediction, and influences much of what comes in life.
As I write to you today, I am watching the Olympics most evenings. I love the Olympics, both the summer and winter games. I haven’t a clue what (de)motivates those people who say “nah, I’m not watching, I couldn’t care less.”
It is great entertainment and high drama for me. And I am always struck by the recurring thought that these young (generally) people train to levels I can’t image for a decade or more for a chance to attain that one shining moment that comes around once each four years.
And sometimes, often times for many we don’t hear about, injuries, politics, financial abilities, family crises, and yes, “luck”, derail those dreams. “How do they do it?” I ask. “How do they keep going?”
Clearly the athletes can’t only live for the chance at an Olympic medal; there are many rewards along the way: both the competitions and the success found in participating in the struggle.
One of the comments from prospective clients that frustrates me is, “I don’t want any risk.” Uh…not possible. We can identify risk, minimize risk, mitigate risk, avoid risk, but we can’t eliminate it. Is there any area of life where you have no risk?
I often encourage people to think of their finances as a river, as opposed to a stagnant pond. A river flows, it waxes and wanes, we can damn up a portion for use later, but we can’t hold it back completely. There are times of drought and time of flooding. Before I go on too long, I will admit that no one ever gets the analogy, but I stubbornly persist.
My point today, and yes I do have one (again), is to encourage you to enjoy the journey, and not fixate on the destination. You have educated yourself in your profession, you have worked hard, raised a family, built a home, given back to the community, and who knows what else?
You’re an Olympian. Take a bow, and then get back in the pool for some laps.