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Focus on Rewards . . . not Risks May 30, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Less IS More, Life Balance, Mindfulness.

When I was younger, I was “braver” . . . I didn’t envision potential pitfalls as easily.  I saw sunny skies waiting for me wherever I chose to roam.

Now, there is a weighing of risk vs. reward with even simple actions.  

I talk myself out of doing things I want to do because “it probably won’t be that great anyway.” 

I am far too focused on what I don’t want . . . with only cursory consideration given to what I do want.

Here’s to changing that habitual pattern!

Aah . . . that’s better! 

Related post:  How to become aroused by yourself in 20 minutes or less (Raptitude).


1. Victoria-writes - May 30, 2012

Yep don’t talk yourself out of it Nancy!

nrhatch - May 30, 2012

As an example: We planned to go parasailing . . . then someone crash landed into the Gulf of Mexico and died.

Now we are being “cautious” about strapping ourselves into a harness to soar over the turquoise waters.

We know the odds of surviving are in our favor, but . . . 😯

2. Life in the Boomer Lane - May 30, 2012

I think as we age, it’s natural to be aware of our own mortality. And it’s also natural to be more aware of the negative consequences of actions. That’s why young people have more auto accidents and why they are more apt to engage in “reckless” behavior. But I always revert to my personal mantra “Live from vision, not from circumstances.” That’s what grounds me and allows me to get past the fears that stand in the way of the vision I have for my life. Time to soar.

nrhatch - May 30, 2012

Great mantra, Renee!

At times, I’m brave ~ e.g., moving to FL in 2008 before selling our house in Maryland . . . right AFTER the real estate collapse.

But all too often I find myself looking for reasons NOT to do what I want to do ~ we opt against trying a “new” restaurant because it might not be a good as an “old” favorite . . . we opt not to attend an outdoor event because it might rain . . . we decide not to do X because we might run into problems.

I don’t want to be “reckless” . . . but I want to focus more on the potential rewards and less on the possible risks.

Here’s to SOARING!

3. suzicate - May 30, 2012

I think my risk taking ended when motherhood entered…now I’m trying to recover that adventurous spirit a bit at a time.

nrhatch - May 30, 2012

At times, I am “fearless” ~ e.g., leaving the practice of law with no idea what I would do next . . . going to St. Thomas for Spring Break (by myself!) . . . moving from place to place to “start over.”

At other times, I am “pluck-less” . . . holding myself back out of concern that it might rain, or snow, or be too hot, or too cold, or it might be X, or Y, or Z.

I need to stop talking myself out of new adventures and Go For It!

4. Andra Watkins - May 30, 2012

I have this sort of relationship with gluten. Most of the time, I stick to the diet. And, I can live with that. 🙂

nrhatch - May 30, 2012

There are certain activities which come with a clearly defined “price tag” . . . if we indulge, we WILL pay the price.

Sometimes it’s worth it anyway. 😉

5. barb19 - May 30, 2012

Life is for living Nancy, and sometimes that entails taking ‘risks’. As we mature we tend to take less risks, but my motto is – if it feels right, do it, if it doesn’t, don’t. Simple – aah, that’s better!

nrhatch - May 30, 2012

Thanks, Barb. Good motto. I’ve grown more risk adverse with each passing year . . . and I’m better at cataloging ALL the things that COULD go wrong.

David’s post reminded me that I could choose to focus on ALL the things that could go RIGHT instead. Aah . . . that’s better!

6. Perfecting Motherhood - May 30, 2012

Fear really is man’s worst enemy. So many of us get paralyzed by fear and end up in a state of inertia. I know plenty of people around me that keep living the same life because they’re afraid of the unknown. As Sheryl Crow says, change will do you good!

nrhatch - May 30, 2012

Exactly! For many things, I do NOT give in to fear of uncertainty. But, at other times, I get caught up on the downside (risks I don’t want to encounter) without giving enough weight to the upside (the rewards).

Perfecting Motherhood - May 30, 2012

I think knowing failure is always an option makes taking the next step easier. What’s the worst that can happen? You fail, learn from your lessons, and then try something else.

nrhatch - May 30, 2012

Oh, I agree. I’m not adverse to “failure,” per se . . . I am adverse to physical pain and discomfort.

I like my creature comforts more than the adrenaline rush of “new adventures.” 😀

7. sufilight - May 30, 2012

Nancy, I know what you mean, I moved from New York to Oregon 7 years ago, and that took guts, as I left family and friends to spend my life with my mate. Haven’t regreted this decision. I took many other risks when younger and foolish. LOL. However, nowadays, I am more mellow, I don’t feel the pull to take risks, don’t know if it’s a good thing or bad thing, perhaps it’s my quiet cycle now. In regards to you, if you want to go parasailing, by all meang GO! And then blog and share with us. 🙂

nrhatch - May 30, 2012

Like you, I’m rather content with life in this “quiet cycle.” But I want to “do or not do” for the “right reasons” . . . not because I’ve magnified the risks and disregarded the potential rewards.

Tonight, we tried a new restaurant and a new dish ~ Bang Bang Shrimp! The experience was rewarding! With nary a risk in sight. 😀

If we go parasailing, I shall share the experience here. 😯

8. Jas - May 31, 2012

Just what I needed to hear today.. I was thinking about something and my mind was also wandering more towards risks… I have to change…

nrhatch - May 31, 2012

Same here. We’ve been planning a family reunion in NJ. Instead of getting excited about the “road trip,” I focused on the negatives ~ traffic, heat, sitting in cramped quarters, being hungry & tired, back aching, needing a bathroom (with none on the horizon), etc.

And what happened? I decided I didn’t want to go! I talked myself out of it because of the potential pain and discomfort. I didn’t even consider all the FUN it will be seeing everyone again.

As you say, I have to change my focus from RISKS to REWARDS. Then I’ll be excited about the trip and in the right frame of mind to ENJOY the journey from HERE to THERE. And everything in between.

9. Three Well Beings - May 31, 2012

I am definitely guilty of this myself. I know my energy levels well, and under the guise of being better balanced, I probably begin to say “no” a little too often. I need to be a little more spontaneous…of course, I’ve been saying that for decades! You do inspire me to consider a lot of things, Nancy! 🙂 Debra

nrhatch - May 31, 2012

Thanks, Debra. I love to hear that readers are inspired to consider. 😀

As we live life, things “go wrong.” Of course they do. If we are conservative types, we store away all that information on potential risk for later use.

Eventually, if we aren’t careful, that towering pile of risks causes us to FREEZE in our tracks. We see the downside of everything from learning a new skill (falling off the skateboard) to trying a new restaurant (food poisoning) to calling an old friend (I might catch her at a bad time) to going for a walk (it might rain).

When we change our habitual gravitational pull from RISK to REWARD . . . a world of positive possibilities awaits.

10. jannatwrites - May 31, 2012

Well, this just confirms it – I’ve always been an ‘old’ person inside! Even in my high school/college years, when many people throw caution to the wind, I didn’t. When others felt invincible, I didn’t. But at least I did the zip line tour 🙂

Good luck with talking yourselves into parasailing!

nrhatch - May 31, 2012

My most immediate challenge is getting psyched for a 2000 mile (round trip) road trip (with my sister’s family) to see the rest of my family in NJ. I want to see everyone, but it’s “easier” to think of reasons to “stay put” ~ comfy bed, familiar surroundings, control over meal planning, etc. In short, I would rather they come HERE so that I don’t have to go THERE.

To counter-balance my gravitational pull to the “negatives,” I’m making a list of all the ways that the trip will be FUN. Because I know (in my heart of hearts) that it will be.

11. bluebee - May 31, 2012

Oh, I’m so the opposite, Nancy – I get far more courageous as I get older!

nrhatch - May 31, 2012

It completely depends on the activity. I am more courageous now than then in many ways . . . but I am also getting more “set in my ways.” 😀

12. ryoko861 - May 31, 2012

Don’t be so pessimistic! You never know til you find out, right. Pull up your socks, take a deep breath and go for it. You may find it was easier than you though!

nrhatch - May 31, 2012

Here’s to embracing the uncertainty!

13. William D'Andrea - May 31, 2012

Sometimes you have to ask yourself if what you want to accomplish is worth the cost. You’re talking about extraordinary thrills and adventures. I’m thinking about ordinary, everyday activities and minor expenses, which if you’re not careful, can become major.

There’s a deli near where I live, which is now charging $1.90 for a small cup of coffee. I was drinking 1 cup a day there, until I realized that I was paying almost $60. a month. I figured that it just wasn’t worth the cost, and am now having my morning coffee at home.

I’m also concerned about who I want to know about the books I’ve published, and all the writing I’ve posted on various sites. Some of the content could be rated “R”. If certain people I know read some things I’ve written, they might get upset with me; so I’ve had to ask.
What is more important to me? Selling my books or avoiding trouble with people who’s friendship I value?

I’ve decided to just keep on publicizing the books. Then if certain people I know come across either of them; I’ll just have to deal with the situation as best I can. I have no doubt that we’ll remain friends.

nrhatch - May 31, 2012

Actually, I am not just talking about “extraordinary thrills and adventures,” I am thinking about ordinary everyday activities and events as well.

Life is neither BLACK nor WHITE . . . it often falls in the GRAY zone ~ with risks counter-balancing rewards, and vice versa.

Sounds like your pendulum has swung from one extreme (coffee out every day) to the other (coffee at home every day) . . . maybe a happy medium is in order ~ e.g., going out for coffee with friends 1-2 days a week when you desire a bit of interaction.

I expect you’re right . . . your friends will remain friends. Any one who drifts away probably wasn’t a true friend anyway.

14. William D'Andrea - May 31, 2012

I do go out for coffee a few mornings a week, at local Duncan Donuts’ Shops, where they charge me a senior citizens discount. $.30 less here-$.30 less there. A dollar here. A dollar there, really does add up.

nrhatch - May 31, 2012

When we watch our pennies . . . the dollars add up!

15. Karen - June 1, 2012

G’Morning, Nancy!
It’s a real project these days, to keep in mind that the worst-possible is usually so-o-o-o far from the most-likely, isn’t it? So worth the effort, though.

nrhatch - June 1, 2012

I’ve been thinking about the upcoming road trip. My “fears” are probably well founded, not blown out of proportion ~ the car ride IS apt to be crowded. And cramped. And uncomfortable.

It will be a L~O~N~G ride. “Are we there yet???” 🙄

But to make the “right” decision, I can’t stop there. The discomfort in getting from Point A to Point B must be weighed against the REWARDS (9 nieces & nephews, siblings, parents) waiting at the other end.

And the REWARDS have it . . . I’m going! 😀

Karen J - July 27, 2012

20-20 hindsight sez: I’m really glad you went – the joy of that reunion (as retold here) so out-weighed any of the discomforts, that you didn’t even mention ’em, after-the-fact!

Love and Blessings ~

16. Booksphotographsandartwork - June 1, 2012

I am very surprised to hear this from you Nancy. I think like that a lot and I keep trying to overcome it. Some days it’s better than others. Still not going to fly though.

nrhatch - June 1, 2012

Thanks, Linda. You’re probably surprised because it is so dependent on the specific activity.

For some things, I’m fearless. For others, not even close. By way of example: I don’t really enjoy traveling. I’d rather stay home. So, I tend to EXAGERATE the downsides and all but ignore the upsides . . . thereby justifying my decision to stay put.

It’s a bad habit. I am working to change it. 😀

Booksphotographsandartwork - June 1, 2012

I really don’t like traveling.

nrhatch - June 1, 2012

“Being there” can be fun . . . but getting from Point A to Point B holds little appeal to me ~ by train, plane, or automobile.

I’d like to travel like Samantha of Bewitched (wiggling my nose) or like Jeannie (nodding my head) or like Mary Poppins (floating in on a stiff breeze).

17. cuhome - June 5, 2012

Sometimes fear is there for a good reason–so we don’t go flying down that winding 2-lane highway that hugs the cliff, at 60-mph! And, sometimes fear is just not wanting to step out of my comfort zone. I honor fear for the useful purpose it serves, when it does serve a purpose. When it’s just up to mischief, I ask it to go away and play somewhere else–(easier said than done). 🙂

nrhatch - June 5, 2012

I agree with you, Janet. I don’t want to be “reckless” . . . but I want to focus at least as much attention on potential rewards as I do on possible risks.

18. l0ve0utl0ud - June 11, 2012

I understand you – I often let fear take hold of me by using the excuse “what’s the point” or “I bet I won’t like it” or “It won’t be all that”…but past experience has taught me that, when I say ‘yes’ and go for something, I never regret it.

nrhatch - June 22, 2012

I’m glad I talked myself into attending the reunion . . . but it was NOT all “fun and games.”

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