“In order to grow, people have to abandon some of their comfort zones of their lives and take a risk or chance on something new” – Psychologist Abraham Maslow.
A calculated risk is a risk or undertaking that has more chances of succeeding than failing. It maximises chances of success and those of failure.
Taking a calculated risk involves taking an action mixed with accuracy, common sense, courage and faith.
Many world’s great discoveries and economic, scientific and technological inventions have taken place because people concerned took calculated risks mixed with accuracy, common sense, courage and faith. For example, in the area of space exploration and travel, great calculated risks have been taken.
In 1957, the Russians launched into space the world’s first human-made satelite Sputnik 1, which circled the earth 16 times a day for 90 days before it finally burned up.
Sputnik 1 shocked the world as much as it impressed it by being the first human miracle in space exploration. Later in the same year, they launched Sputnik 2, this time with a dog in it named Laika, the world’s first animal to go into space.
Laika circled the earth six times before her oxygen ran out. In 1961, just 59 years after the invention of an airplane in 1902 by the Wright brothers, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin at the age of 27, in Vostok 1 became the first human being to go into space and circle the earth.
In 1963, the Russians sent the first woman into space Valentina Tereshkova at age 26, in Vostok 6. In 1969, using Apollo 11, the Americans landed the first human being on the moon, Neil Armstrong, when he said: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Then US president Richard Nixon acclaimed it as “The greatest event since creation.”
The trip to the moon took the astronauts four days to get there. They left on July 16, 1969 and landed on the moon on July 20, 1969. They spent about two and a half hours on the moon before returning to earth. While still walking on the moon the two astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, picked up some rocks; made a telephone call to their president Richard Nixon known as “the most historic call from the white house”; put the US flag on the moon; and left a plaque or sign on the moon which up to day reads: ‘Here men from the planet earth first set foot on the moon, July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all man- kind.”
But just before leaving the moon something scary happened. The astronauts to their deadly surprise found that the switch to turn on their vehicle for takeoff to the earth was severely broken. One of the astronauts later on earth described the situation, saying “tension was like a thick fog!”
Just imagine the prospect of being stranded on the moon. Now, there is the International Space Station from 1998 that circles the earth, with people living on it, 16 times per day at a speed of about eight kilometres per second and at a height of about four hundred kilometres above the earth.
That is roughly like the distance between Livingstone and Lusaka but going upwards into the sky. The International Space Station is indeed one of human kind’s greatest engineering achievements.
Taking a calculated risk mixed with your faith can make a difference between life and death. For instance, on one evening a man with a strong faith in God was walking to his home when he saw a group of five armed thieves.
Immediately, the man decided to take a calculated risk of running for safety instead of just waiting for the thieves to arrive and then surrender to them.
He ran as fast as he could with his ankles almost touching the back of his head. When he made a corner where the thieves could not see him he saw a ditch and decided to hide inside it.
After some time, the thieves discovered the ditch but before they could come near to see what was exactly inside it they saw that the ditch was completely covered by a spider web and therefore concluded that the man could not be inside it because the spider web was intact.
They went away in their search for the man but leaving the man behind inside the ditch. What actually happened was that before the man jumped into the ditch the top of the ditch was completely covered by a spider web.
When the man jumped into the ditch the spider web broke but the spiders mended the web before the thieves arrived at the ditch and this is how the man was saved.
By contrast, in one particular town a tsunami-triggered flood came and flooded the whole town.
Government authorities immediately ordered everyone to evacuate and sent in transport for evacuation.
Surprisingly enough, one man refused to evacuate saying that he had strong faith in God and that God would save him.
When the news reached authorities a 4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser vehicle was sent to evacuate him but the man refused. At this time, the man had gone up to the second floor of his two-storey house which was still dry.
But soon water completely covered the second floor as well and the man had to climb to the roof of his house. Finally, the President ordered that a military helicopter be sent immediately to evacuate him.
The man even scratched on his tongue in refusal to be evacuated and he ignored all weather forecast reports which were read to him. He insisted that he had strong faith in God and that God would save him.
Soon after the helicopter left the man was completely swallowed by water and drowned.
When he met with God the man complained and cried bitterly like a small baby pricked by a syringe at a health centre saying that God why did you let me die when I had so much faith in you.
God answered him saying ‘my son I know you had faith in me and that is why I sent you evacuation teams. I sent you a 4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser vehicle and even a military helicopter just for you alone but you chose to ignore all of them.
Your death my son is therefore pure suicide. You chose it’. Faith is only activated by your own action and faith alone is dead. How old are you?
Do you know that you can take a calculated risk at your very own age? The results of a research study of four hundred people in all times and from all lines of activity showed that the age of 60-70 contained 35 per cent of the world’s greatest achievements; the age of 70-80 contained 23 per cent, the age of 81 and above contained 8 per cent, the age of 40-50 contained 10 per cent and the age of 0-40 contained only 1 per cent.
The age of 0-40 contained the least due to the issues of experience, confidence, wide-dispersion of energy and over-indulgence in many worldly things.
The founder of face book Mark Zukerberg observes that “the biggest risk is not taking any risk.” If you are not living on the edge you are taking up a lot of space. Conrad Hilton, the founder of the chain of Hilton Hotels advises that “I encourage boldness because the danger of seniority and pension plans tempt a young person to settle in a rut named security rather than find his or her own rainbow.”
John Mason says that being destined for greatness requires that you take risks and confront great hazards. Rising above mediocrity is only created and it is always a result of faith combined with works.
On May 25, 1961, when the US President John F. Kennedy addressed a joint session of Congress and said “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth,” the American scientists did not have all the resources that they needed to send a man to the moon and return him safely to the earth.
All they had was faith, knowledge and conviction that it was possible to do so. It took them eight years from 1961 to 1969 to figure out how to really send a man to the moon and return him safely to the earth.
Dr Wernher von Braun the German Aerospace Engineer, Father of Rocket Science according to NASA and the Chief Architect of NASA’s launch vehicle ‘The Super Booster’ that took Americans to the moon later said that when President Kennedy set the extraordinary National Goal of landing a man on the moon NASA scientists had yet to find the type of fuel to propel the rocket to the moon.
He added that “There would not be a single great accomplishment in the history of mankind without faith. Any person who strives to accomplish something needs a degree of faith in himself; and when he takes on a challenge that requires more and more strength than he can master, he needs faith in God. Just as you need calculus and trigonometry to understand the physics of rocket science, you also need faith and works to understand the science of success.”
A calculated risk mixed with faith made the first 1969 moon-landing possible.
Take a calculated risk combined with your faith and you too will succeed in your life.
(The author is a motivational mentor and consultant in Positive Mind-Set Change. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)