Sunday, June 29, 2014

Hazards vs risks

Over the last year and half, I've been involved in a community project to build a new playground in Factoryville. The completed structure is awesome - including that central tower which stands probably 12 feet off the ground.

So as we worked with Steve Hemmler, a playground designer from Landscape Structures, our concerns about safety and potential risk were paramount. His answer has stuck with me. In effect he said that our job (and his) were to design and build a playground with virtually no potential hazards. But to eliminate risk from the playground design would have meant sacrificing the potential for fun. 

The more I thought about that statement, the more it rang with truth. We all want to participate in activities that are as safe as we can make them. Reducing potential hazards to a bare minimum makes absolute sense.

But virtually any activity which is ultimately fun involves some risk - that's what makes it fun. If an activity is too easy or the outcome is guaranteed simple success every single time, the risk is gone - and so is the joy.

I can apply that same hazard vs risk principle to writing. By never sharing my written work, by hiding it away on my computer, I could have played it safe and completely eliminated the risk of rejection. It would have been completely safe, completely free of the hazard of potential hurt or disappointment.

But it also would have prevented me from experiencing the joy of connecting with readers, of getting unsolicited compliments via email or positive reviews posted by complete strangers.
I'm glad I took the risk and put my work 'out there.' I wouldn't miss this fun for the world.

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