Taking Chances

You can’t take a road less traveled if you don’t take a step anywhere.

Every day we all take chances. Getting out of bed is a chance. There’s always a possibility of falling or having severe problems when we do this task that is simple for most people. When we take a shower or bath, we take chances because we might slip. Statistics state that the shower is one of the most dangerous places for people and yet for a vast majority of the universe, prefer to be clean. My point is that simple things require taking chances. So it should come to no one’s surprise that taking chances with the bigger things in life can be quite challenging for some folks.

If there’s one thing that has proven difficult for me, it’s to see how churches and other very conservative places are slow to take chances. Many times, people want instant gratification without recognizing that it takes time, strategic planning, vision and a willingness to step out of their comfort zone in order to grow. It’s easy to say those words and more complex to see them embody fruition. I’m one that used to defend Christianity by saying that not all Christians believe in the hatred of others. I still believe that to a point. Yet, as a Christian, I find myself getting more emboldened to take a stance against some of the problems that I see. Social Media has proven to be a very useful tool in today’s world. It can be used to empower people and it can be used to belittle others for their varying beliefs.

I’ll give you a prime example. My church live streams services. We have been using outdated equipment for a very long time. When the services are viewed on Youtube the quality is grainy, the sound is a mess, and the overall showing is less than stellar. Our church decided to replace only a component of the equipment to where it’s better on one level but still really blurry, very frustrating and not fun to watch. Why bother showing the services if it’s only done with shoddy work? When I have had the audacity to bring up what needs to be done, I’ve been accused of lying when I told the truth and having leaders in the congregation tell me that it’s about the money. Instead of listening to the people who use the equipment the most, decisions were made that were safe. The church wonders why people get angry and leave. Part of the reason is that churches are still a business. If a business doesn’t offer consumers what they need, they will go somewhere else. The same is true in the church. If programs and other venues are not offered, people will go someplace where their needs are met.

Sometimes it isn’t about reaching the actual goal. It’s about knowing the possibility of achieving it.

In the last five years, I’ve learned to take more chances both personally and professionally. Part of me hates having to work for someone else part of the time and the other part of me is grateful for the opportunities that I have gotten. This has been a learning curve for me. I’ve watched as former classmates in high school and college have landed in six figure incomes and beyond while I struggle to make significantly less in a year. I went back to school and now have two degrees and can’t seem to break out of the mold and yet my acquaintances are all doing much better than I am financially. If everything were about money, then I would have given up on my life a long time ago. I truly believe in helping others. I believe that taking chances on people is rewarding because it doesn’t just help you out, it helps them, and you all grow from those experiences. Some growth is more positive than others but there is still growth.

I’m watching the world take stances on political variances and it absolutely amazes me. Division has become more rampant as the years progress and both sides seem to antagonize this mindset more often than it proposes solutions to the problems. Each side believes that they are the ones who are right but in the end, it’s the people who feel the effects of their elections. Each side takes chances on getting people to see their point of view. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from all of the name calling, mud slinging, and outcry it’s that people are taking chances on having their voices heard. Some of them are paying with their life. Others are paying through money and dealing with the choices they have made in order to get them where they are.

Corporations are all about the money. Gone are the days where the philosophy is that people are what makes corporations powerful or non existent. While that may be the root of reality, it is not what propels corporations today. Now it’s all about getting that money and not giving people time to think. There is no longer a sense of pride in most of the products because many products don’t last nearly as long as they did in the 70’s, 80’s, or even 90’s or even before those eras.

People take chances in their careers, relationships and even themselves. But the question remains, why take chances when the outcome isn’t guaranteed? I think the bigger question is why not? As a person of faith, it amazes me when others refuse to live by what they preach. Taking a leap of faith is difficult. We don’t know what someone else or company is thinking or how we will be perceived. What we do know is that if we never try to set our dreams in motion then we live a robotic nightmare. AI’s are being programmed to do things that we, as humans, do daily. There will come a day where people will not be utilized the same as we are now. I can see a day where robots will be able to fix our plumbing, our cars and even be used in healthcare to where people will no longer be needed the way we are now. That isn’t to say that the human race won’t be needed. It’s just the way we are needed will more than likely change. I hope and pray that robots do not take away our ability to think for ourselves. The ability to think, and grow, and nurture makes us who we are and it allows us to have the confidence to take those risks every day.

A very good friend of mine has physical impairments that society uses against him. He has worked for the same company now for almost five years. Not once has he been granted a promotion. Yet, younger kids who are still teenaged to early adults have managed to get promoted. Physically they are normal. Emotionally is another story. Now my friend doesn’t want to take chances at work. He’s tired of being rejected. He has stopped taking chances in that current job and he keeps applying for other jobs only to be ignored. Sooner or later, someone will give him a chance but in the meantime, the chances he continues to take are met with frustration.

I take a chance everytime I write on these blogs. I am truly grateful for the kind words that many of you have sent me. Exposing yourself through writing is both humbling and terrifying and yet, I take the chance every time I type.

I took a chance on someone that I truly love and hit a brick wall. Now it makes me not want to take a chance on anyone or anything. That’s my issue. I literally force myself to deal with other things in life and take chances on opportunities that I wouldn’t normally have dared to try. I’m dealing with it but the fact remains that though he has held my heart for over a decade, I wasn’t worth it for him to fight for us. Instead, he chose to not take a chance on his feelings and focus on the debilitating pain he faces everyday from a disease that is robbing him of his life both personally and professionally. That’s on him.

In the last couple of years, I went back to school to study web design and social media marketing. Sometimes it felt like I was in over my head and other times it was the diversion that I craved. There is somthing to be said for immersing yourself into a world of variances that you knew existed but didn’t know how to access. Once you are handed the keys, learning which lock they open can be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences of your life. You have to be willing to risk your heart and mind to new adventures.

Are you holding yourself back from finding out what you are capable of?

What are your dreams? Are you willing to take chances to find your happiness? Are you being fulfilled? Where do you want to see yourself in five years? In ten years? You get the picture. Figure out what you want in life and it’s okay to not know right away. But get out there and take chances. Do the things that you never knew you would like. Do you like to eat? Then take a class on cooking. Are you not a big wine drinker because you don’t know the difference? Do you want to learn? Then step out of your comfort zone. No, I am not saying to become an alcoholic and if you are one, don’t do the wine or alcohol. But find an interest. I have always wanted to learn how to ballroom dance and never done it. That’s on my to do list. So is water skiing. My cousin swims with the sharks and I think that is so cool. I wish I had her confidence but I would be willing to try to learn especially if I lived close enough to the water. Rock climbing is something else I wouldn’t mind learning. These are some of the things I plan on taking chances on in the next couple of years. As far as professionally, I plan on taking more classes to learn web development and learning a world I’ve never understood. Not only will that make me more marketable but it will give me the confidence to do things I never thought possible before. My hope for each of you is that you find your interests and not allow life to sell you something you don’t want. Take chances and learn what is right for you. Take the chance. You might find out who you really are in the process.

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