The following quotations are about risk. Indeed, willingness to risk is one of the values of the wise: the values which wise persons seek to cultivate within themselves and aspire to. You may have heard the oft-quoted dictum, “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” It indicates that risk, if calculated and taken with a full measure of responsibility, can be a wise move because the payoff is greater than to always “play it safe.” One of the best quotations on risk comes from Grace Hopper: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.” It’s a fierce elevation of trying hard, asking that woman out, trying to get the raise you’ve been earning, and going ahead with chemotherapy. “Fortune favors the bold,” Terence said centuries ago. But don’t go too far, or be foolhardy. Aristotle taught that virtue lies between two extremes: for example, courage is wise but cowardice is not – and neither is rashness or foolhardiness. The boldly courageous philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche astutely summed this angle up with this classic quote on risk:
He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.
Many are familiar with the ancient Greek parable of Icarus, who foolishly burned his synthetic wings trying to fly too close to the sun. For centuries it has been a tale of warning, urging caution and prudence. It takes wisdom to decide how much risk one can tolerate, and is likely to bring about success. Luminary of the Left, Ralph Nader, was given a careful and meaningful upbringing by his immigrant parents who worked hard and stood up for what they believed; he noted that “If we wanted to be leaders, we were taught—if we wanted to think boldly, and to excel at what we did—that we would have to be willing to be different.” An old friend of mine, a quadriplegic, wrote this about his struggle: “My life had to start afresh, with a reformed mentality, otherwise it had to end. I could no longer live for the chance to express my refusal to live; I’d had enough of this insane paradox. If I really hated life and wanted to die, then the logical step was to put myself out of my misery. If, on the contrary, I did not really hate life and want to die, despite this misery, then the logical step was to deepen the reasons that encouraged me to live and search for other ones by perfecting my art of living….It demanded a clear-cut attitude toward life: No in-between; either opt out of it or be committed to it”
You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down. ~ Ray Bradbury
Below are some further considerations about ethics and moral decision-making in the form of quotations gathered from the superb Wisdom Archive, which you can search for free. A strength of this approach is that you can find many diverse views laid out in an accessible format, and the search parameters are easily adjusted for specific search capability. It takes more work, and responsibility, to find your own wisdom, but do you really want to trust someone else to spoon-feed you something so important? Doing philosophy isn’t easy, but with the Wisdom Archive, it is a bit easier – and much more rewarding. Treasure life-long learning!
If we must fall, we should boldly meet the danger. ~ Cornelius Tacitus
Listening to your heart is not simple. Finding out who you are is not simple. It takes a lot of hard work and courage.
He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life. ~ Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali)
Fear is a disease that eats away at logic and makes man inhuman. ~ Marian Anderson
Your soul is oftentimes a battleground, upon which your reasons and judgment wage war against your passion and your appetite. ~ Khalil Gibran
I advise you to say your dream is possible and then overcome all inconveniences, ignore all the hassles and take a running leap through the hoop, even if it is in flames. ~ Les Brown
Some persons sit at the crossroads, taking neither path because they cannot take both, cherishing the illusion that if they sit there long a decision will be possible. A large part of maturity and courage is the ability to make such renunciations, and a large part of wisdom is the ability to find ways which will enable one to renounce as little as possible.
I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well. ~ Diane Ackerman
When we stand on the edge of that which is, we are released from the yoke of what has been, detached from the fear of what might be. ~ Jan Phillips
Following your passion is both a difficult path and an easy one; it’s a paradox. It is difficult because it will lead you into unknown territory. It is easy because you will be doing what you love. ~ Justine Willis Toms & Michael Toms
Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it. ~ Oprah Winfrey
For me, the safest place is out on a limb. ~ Shirley MacLaine
To boldly go where no one has gone before… ~ Gene Roddenberry
I would rather fail in an attempt at something new and uncharted than safely succeed in a repeat of something I have done. ~ A. E. Hotchner
Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary. ~ Cecil Beaton