Stakes to the Heart

We’ve all heard the expression “risk vs reward”. This is the ratio of what you’re putting up in relation to what you can lose/gain by doing so. If the loss is too great, it’s not seen as being¬†advantageous. The risk determines the worth. This is understandable in terms of business, or where there are perhaps monetary stakes, but what about when the only thing to gain/lose is expectation? This is a far more common occurrence. When is it worth it to risk the reward?

When it comes to right action, the answer is: always! For example, it’s worth the disappointment of holding the door open for someone, because the only thing at stake is not receiving a “thank you” for doing so. We can control our expectations. Even better, we can choose not to have expectations of others. We can choose to simply have expectations of ourselves and ourselves in relation to others. This affords us the freedom to risk all day long without consequence. Unexpected behaviors happen all the time. They are actually quite expected. That’s why expectation is the root of disappointment. Without unexpected behaviors, there would be no need for the expression “I told you so.” And we all secretly love the times when we get to tell someone, “I told you so!” Why? Because it means we were right! The reward is sweet validation. But how many storage units and safe-deposit boxes do you currently possess to stow all the pats on the back you’ve received for being right? Validation in this regard neither takes up any real estate nor has any monetary value. Therefore, risk the reward! Risk being proven right or wrong when all that’s at stake is validation. Why? Because it’s just easier to do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do, the kind thing to do, the compassionate thing to do, the empathetic thing to do, the decent thing to do, the polite thing to do – the human thing to do. Go “all-in” when the stakes are validation, because the true reward is the courage to risk being let down, knowing you’ll be unfazed by that outcome.

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Aspiring Stoic and Doting Father

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