Friday, November 23, 2007

Risk vs. Reward

Andrea Palos and Gabor Rakonczai two design students at the University of West Hungary's Faculty of Wood Sciences near the Austrian border had an idea that one day they would cross the Atlantic on a kayak that they would create. In preparation for their journey they took sailing classes, learned celestial navigation, and began building a boat in their spare time. November 27, 2006 was the day they set off for the adventure of their dreams.

We all have dreams in life and at some point make the decision to figure out a way to make our dream a reality. While we can make sure that we are well prepared and up for the task at hand, we cannot ever truly succeed until we have analyzed the relationship between risk and reward. Every venture we decide to partake in creates a certain amount of risk in order for us to receive the reward we are searching for. For the most part if we want to receive great rewards we at some point have to take great risks, risks that can potentially alienate us from close relationships, shatter our confidence, or even cost us our lives. It is our responsibility to ourselves that we take risks which will create the opportunity for our success in a manner where we can accept what consequences come with our decision making process.

The danger of risk vs. reward is that we look to the reward without understanding what risks we are taking. We understand that we are playing a high stakes game, but only include ourselves in the consequences of what really is at stake. By doing this we create an environment where we truly are on an island because there is a chance we will lose the support that will help us achieve what we are seeking.

The positive effect of taking into consideration how our pursuit will affect others is that we hold our support system in tact and have others who are willing to not only understand what and why we are acting our dream, but support us in our efforts no matter what is at stake. Our support system also acts as another voice of reason, so when we are consumed with the pursuit of our dream, they can bring in an outside perspective, which we are often unable to see.

Andrea Palos and Gabor Rakonczai ran into a force 10 gale along their journey that created 30 foot waves. They called in a SOS and were faced with the reality that the only way they could be saved is by helicopter, therefore having to leave their dream and their boat behind. To a lot of people, me included, this would be a simple decision; save your life and lose your boat. To Andrea and Gabor, this was an unacceptable fate for their adventure. They had invested too much time and too much effort to simply jump on a helicopter and leave their dream behind. Ultimately their reward of seeing their dream to the end, no matter the consequence, was worth the risk.

Andrea and Gabor rode out the storm and made their way successfully across the Atlantic; they achieved their dream. Their risk vs. reward decision was not an easy one, but one that they made together. We can analyze whether they made the right decision or not, but we cannot analyze whether they made the right decision for themselves. As in any risk vs. reward decision it is up the individual making the decision to choose what consequences they can and cannot live with.

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