The Art of Living Dangerously

(William Gurstelle is Boing Boing's current guest blogger. His new book Absinthe and Flamethrowers: Projects and Ruminations on the Art of Living Dangerously is on sale everywhere. Follow him on Twitter: @wmgurst)

Lately, I've been hard at work writing a book entitled Absinthe and Flamethrowers: Projects and Ruminations on the Art of Living Dangerously, (which not so incidentally, went on sale Monday.) While corresponding and talking with readers of my previous book, Backyard Ballistics, I found that many people enjoy taking technical, physical risks. And it seemed to me that the people who did so seemed to be a bit more intellectual curious, more self aware, and even a bit happier than those who were not. Was this true? Are people who take some well considered physical risks better off than those who do not?

Basically, I wanted to know this: is it intrinsically better to be an Evel Knievel or a Caspar Milquetoast? Better to be Chuck Yeager or Niles Crain? Are lion tamers happier with their lives than monks?

Psychologists can assess and numerically describe a person's risk-taking proclivity. Risk-taking behavior can be summarized as a single number from one to 100. A one is a house-bound agoraphobe and a 100 is a heroin junkie with a death wish. The distribution of risk-taking proclivity is described by a normal, bell-shaped curve. Not surprisingly, most people cluster around the mean score, as the graph shows.

BB golden-third1-.jpg

But here's the cool thing. I found that moderate, rational, risk takers, that is, those with scores between the mean and one standard deviation to the right are the people who are most satisfied with their lives. I call that area "the golden third" because it's roughly 1/3 of the population. Studies (and there are several) show that people who take just a bit more risks than average, that is, those who live their lives in the golden third, tend to do better than average. They tend to be more satisfied with their lives and more fulfilled. To me, that's a stunning conclusion.

Next question: is it possible to consciously work towards becoming a better risk taker? I believe so; basically it's just practice. To write Absinthe and Flamethrowers, I researched and documented a dozen or so interesting projects designed to build risk-taking skills. For instance, if you know how, you can walk into a Home Depot and come out with everything you need to build a rocket - a real one. You can make gunpowder. You can throw knives, eat dangerous food, drive fast, and do all sorts of things that would make your mother shudder. But understand the difference between being cool in the Golden Third and just stupid:

Making an propane accumulator flame cannon - Golden. Making pipe bomb filled with match heads - Stupid.

Driving an Audi Q5 at 120 mph on the Autobahn- Golden. Friday night buzz driving on the Interstate - stupid

Fugu (tiger pufferfish) sushi in Yokohama - Golden. Boiling up a pot of pufferfish soup at home - stupid.

Using Bartitsu and a cane to fend off a thug - Golden. Street brawling with homemade nunchucks- stupid.


  1. Great observation william! But I wanted to ask, do you think that culturally we are being forced away from this. For example as a kid, 15 years ago, I rode my bike across Columbus, Ohio. No helmets no problems. However my younger brother at the time around ten years later got a ticket from a police officer, for riding his bike across the front yard without a helmet on. Do you think that it will be harder for future risk takers to do these types of activities without breaking the law?

  2. Risk takers: people with trust funds or parents who will swoop down to pay off the bills if they blow it. Or, they don’t have anyone depending on them and so don’t care much about the consequences of blowing it. Ex: Kevin Rose, et al. Seriously, most connected people don’t realize the resources that back them when they are taking risks. I know of one guy who swoops from one risky job to another, accumulating wonderful experiences and skills. He also is heir to millions of dollars, so doesn’t feel much in the way of pressure.

    Caspar Milquetoasts: people who don’t have personal saviors, and/or have responsibilities to other people. If they dive off a cliff and get hurt, they go broke and say goodbye to what could have been their lives.

  3. Calculated risk is an important axis of human development. Paralyzed fear and reckless endangerment are the two extremes. Somewhere in the middle is the sweet spot where risks are taken intelligently.

    Indicators that you’re getting close to the sweet spot include that you find yourself in a situation where you feel fear, but you act intelligently anyway. You don’t succumb to panic, you don’t freeze up, you don’t do something stupid. You do whatever is the right thing to do, even though you’re feeling fear.

  4. I notice a financial bias.

    It could be something as simple as asking out the person of your dreams for a date, when you’re terrified of rejection, you think they’re out of your class, whatever.

    A lot of people have a dream of writing a novel. Many of them never do it. Part of that is because of time and money and so on. BUt part of it is the fear of doing something full out, doing something you really want to succeed at, and getting rejected.

    It’s pretty common for a person to not give their 100% to something. If they hold back, and then end up failing, they have the backup excuse that they could have succeeded if they’d put in the extra effort. If they try 100% and fail, they’ve got no excuse.

    Fear can affect people in millions of little ways that doesn’t cost money one way or the other.

  5. Where on the continuum is sitting on a lawn chair and pouring Schlitz all over your chest?

  6. I have to say again: we don’t take risks for fear of becoming destitute in a country where being poor is a life sentence. Or a death sentence, if you become sick enough.

    I speak for myself here: I won’t quit my job to write novels or draw comics, my twin passions. Why? I can’t lose my health insurance. If I quit my job, if I get sick, I am done. I passed out recently, for instance, and was taken to hospital for an overnight observation. With tests, and a day lying in bed with wires on, the bill came to thirteen thousand dollars. If I had been drawing for a living, that would have bankrupted me at best, or dragged every extra penny I would make for years out of my life – and during those years I would almost certainly incur bigger and bigger medical bills.

    If you want to take risks, best take them when you are young and have parents with enough cash to at least give you a place to live if you fail.

    This is not to negate any of the points above. Risk taking IS necessary to succeed. We in the USA just don’t have any safety nets for an impromptu high-wire act. Yup, it does anger me.

  7. are the bodies of the failed risk-takers necessary fuel to be thrown on the fire? Is there true success without a death penalty for failure?

    Consider how silly most human activity really is.

    We manufacture meaning.

  8. Ah, the thin line between “courageous” and “idiot”.
    I agree it depends on your very own defintion what is a risk for you – Greglondon used the example of people wanting to write a novel, and I really like this one, because it’s my personal risk. I’ve been working on a novel since ever but the thought of rejection terrifies me and I actually have to work, so I don’t have much time to write (really, no, I’m hunting down deadlines as I type).
    Then again, going 120 mph in a car doesn’t seem like much of a risk to me – that’s what we do everytime we drive home from the inlaws. (Hint: if you want to drive really fast on the Autobahn, drive at night. Not many people around. And you can go even faster.)

  9. There’s a difference between taking a calculated risk and tempting fate. Before doing anything potentially life-threatening, you should ask whether the gain justifies what you stand to lose. The Darwin Award finalists are made up of the ones who made the wrong choice.

  10. @#2

    No, some of us take chances and try things without a trust fund of any kind. I think that is probably way more satisfying anyway, knowing that you’re doing things yourself.
    At age 32 I moved with my wife and two young children to a foreign country to go to university. That’s a risk. We take it together. It is VERY satisfying.

    Being extremely risk averse is very bad for the mental health. You will probably find your most risk averse friends to be more prone to depression than the ones with a more bon vivant attitude.

    Of course your values also play a role. If you don’t really care that much about money (except as a means of surviva

  11. Cool thoughts. I’d like to see some links for more detailed information. Specifically, which studies are you referencing that say “people who take just a bit more risks than average, that is, those who live their lives in the golden third, tend to do better than average?” I’d like to read those a little more closely.


  12. Small correction:
    ‘I call that area “the golden third” because it’s roughly 1/3 of the surviving population.’

  13. The examples list reminds me of P.J. O’Rourke’s distinction between “things that are dangerous but fun, like F-15s and Ferraris, and things that are dangerous but not fun, like AIDS and nuclear power plants” (quote from memory, so it may not be exact).

    There’s room to argue about the inclusion of something in either list, but what it comes down to is how much reward you get for your risk. William Gurstelle’s list of examples suggests that what might be called “style” or “flair” contributes heavily to his notion of what defines adequate reward.

  14. I do not like that this seems to infer a causality between taking risks and being happy.

    It might be the other way around, or perhaps the fact that taking risks and being happy go hand in hand simply illustrate that they are both results of some other underlying state (high level of self-confidence, for example)?

    I think it might be dangerous to incite people to take risks with the promise of being happy based on a correlation.

  15. catbeller wrote:
    > I won’t quit my job to write novels or draw comics, …
    > … lose my health insurance …

    Sounds to me like that is a wide choice.
    Not every risk is worth taking.

    To borrow a line from a novel that is among my favorites:

    “There’s folly and there’s foolhardiness on one side, and there’s daring and calculation on the other.”

  16. @Catbeller: I strongly disagree with your assessment. I’ve taken quite a few lifestyle risks- moving to cities without job prospects, things like that. Sometimes they payoff, sometimes the lead to a year of squatting and unemployment.

    I am not heir to a trustfund, to the contrary- my parents are barely scraping by. But one can approach life with an attitude that, regardless of what events occur, one can always recover from them.

    That doesn’t mean you should put your life savings on black at the roulette wheel. But if your life savings were wiped out- well, one can always figure out a way to get by.

    Even better is to plan ahead for your risks. My wife and I have been very aggressively saving, with an eye to, someday, giving our day jobs a toss and doing something far more interesting with our lives.

  17. What if you’re not aware of the risk?

    My daily life involves playing in traffic on a bike (and sometimes speed skates). When I’m riding through an intersection trying to read every driver’s intentions I am keenly aware of the consequences of one of them running a red light. But in a car, we tend not to worry nearly as much even when the risks are similar.

    So if me and any other driver both have a 0.000013% chance per mile of being crushed in an instant, but he isn’t nearly as cognizant of it, am I deriving more psychological benefit from my risk taking than he is?

  18. Have you read the book “Flow” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
    and this page from the book->

    The take home lesson of the book is about the balance of small bits of new and unknown coupled with a long term learning mindset yields the “optimal experience”, which may be happiness or something else depending on how you define it. Clear goals. Small steps. Open to the new.

  19. Cat, not every risk has to have such high stakes. It can be as simple as trying a new food, even though you might not like it (or even if it might make you throw up for day if it’s prepared incorrectly). I’m not going to lose the house because I ate a bad taco from a street vendor, but I may end up finding something wonderful.

    Same goes for trying new activities like hiking, performing in a community theater group, or volunteering in a homeless shelter. I’m amazed a how difficult it is for me to get past my own fear of mere embarrassment, disappointment, or discomfort. But once I do, the results are almost always worth it.

  20. I’ve often found that those things, even small ones, where I find myself thinking “Oh god, this was a bad idea, what was I thinking? I wish it wasn’t too late to go home…” often end up being the best experiences. I tend to be a cautious person, but I think so many of the best experiences in my life come from taking some sort of risk. Even if it’s just that I’m afraid of embarrassment.

  21. The idea that you can only dare to take risks if you have financial backing to take you out of trouble is precisely the kind of risk aversion that prevents you from being part of the moderate risk takers of the article.

    As other have mentioned, many of the risks we avoid may not even have a financial implication. The idea that you either hold your job or write the novel of your dreams is a false dillema. It is not a binary choice, but it is much easier to tell your friends that you do not write the novel because you have to pay the bills than to tell them you are afraid of failure.

    Even if you are talking about starting your own business, or changing jobs or other risk with financial implications, the fact is that people do take them without the need of having trust funds of billionaire parents to bail them out.

    There is a more important point. Risk is unavoidable. If you take a risk and fail, you may be left destitute and without money or health insurance or a pension, but guess what? I am going to let you in a little secret: THERE IS NO WAY TO AVOID RISK. Even if you are risk averse and stay in your safe job, with your nice salary, nice health plan and a future nice pension, you can still lose your job, see your home lose its value until it is worth less than the mortgage, and be left with nothing. And maybe it will be not because you took a risk and lost, but because some greedy idiots at Wall Street took too many risks, melted the economy and forced your employer to cut jobs.

    At least, by taking your own risks, you get to keep the reward.

  22. The thing with risk is that most often it isn’t real, it is perceived.

    And beyond that, most risky things in life are not really that risky if one takes precautions.

    I’m current working on a masters in clinical psych and realized there was a lot of activities or situations I avoided because I was just downright uncomfortable with. If I’m going to counsel others into getting past these, I need to myself. Heights…hate them. I would take buses or trains across the nation to avoid flying. Ended up just scheduling several flights in one month to get over it (though it initially took several external substances in the beginning). Looking at the stats, I’m much more likely to die in a car than in a plane.

    That led to other activities like rock climbing…statistically, it is pretty damn safe. If you use the appropriate equipment. I’ve also had good friends die because they shortcutted the situation (and recently I was in Latin America where I decided to go up knowing the equipment was iffy and realized halfway up the equipment had failed…soloing the rest).

    Quite a few other activities in this vein just to get over the fear of being afraid. It is amazing how learning to get over these things instill confidence in other parts of your life.

    Life does become simpler….anyhoo…

  23. It seems that this study’s points aren’t necessarily causal. The people in that golden third may not be happier with their lives BECAUSE they take more risks. It may be (and to me seems more plausible) that people who take risks are simply the same kind of people that are happier with their lives.

  24. Only people in the first half of that chart would “[Drive] an Audi Q5 at 120 mph on the Autobahn”. People in the golden third would take it to 160+ mph. Rather normal in Germany to do that, if you have the proper car.

  25. I don’t think a person can really objectively define a difference between calculated risk and tempting fate. There is subjectivity in the process. Emotions. Which is why it’s important to face your emotions once in a while, so you can get a handle on them.

    Once you have a handle on them, then you can choose based on what you want (forex, how badly you want to skydive) versus the physical risks (N% fatalities per year).

    Then you choose based on whether your “want” is more than the physical risks.

    If your fear is running the show, then you’ll choose based on whether your “want” is more than your fear. And usually, fear is big.

    One of people’s biggest fear is public speaking. What is the physical risk? zero. You won’t die. No one is going to attack you (unless you’re doing some really bad speaking in a really bad part of town.). But many people have a thought they want to share and then don’t share it simply because their “want” to say something is squelched by the pure emotion of fear. Not a physical risk, but the fear itself.

    Once you start getting a handle on fear, then you can start choosing what you do based on how much you want to do something and what the objective risks are.

    I really wanted to skydive, so I eventually did it. I really wanted to fly helicopters, so I eventually did that.

    But people can have things they want to do that doesn’t cost any money, and has no physical risk, but won’t do it because of their fear. Public speaking. Karaoke. Theater. Asking your dream-girl, dream-boy out on a date. Writing a short story and submiting it to professional markets. Asking for a raise, a promotion, a change in job responsibilities.

  26. What’s the basis for the claim that people who are more risk averse are depressed or that risk takers are happier? I’m guessing the author simply likes risk-takers more and is attributing happiness to them. I also think risk is a multifaceted thing and people may have very different tolerances for financial vs health vs other risks. I am very risk averse when it comes to physically dangerous activities because I am a total klutz. But if the risk is just embarrassment or looking stupid, I have no problem with that.

  27. “I wanted to know this: is it intrinsically better to be an Evel Knievel or a Caspar Milquetoast?”


  28. @#2 posted by catbeller, June 3, 2009 7:26 AM

    Poor is a bad thing for risk taking? Bah! When you have damn little to loose, it is honestly the best time to consider a career change, throw your self across country to a place with better jobs, or etc.

    Being poor is also far from being a life sentence. I started out poor and now have a awesome nice paying job that will easily withstand the economy getting far worse.

    College? Bah! There are still plenty of well paying here in the US that make use of trade skills.

    Unemployed? Well get out and educate one’s self while collecting unemployment?

  29. as someone who loves driving dangerously fast on windy, dark mountain roads, ropeless rock and tree climbing, and has ridden a regular, short skateboard at 35mph at 3am with no lights, I would have to agree. My not so intelligent acquaintances look at me as if i’m insane for being so reckless, but to me it’s been nothing but positive.

    I have a friend who is constantly tripped out by, and is very afraid of death. I asked her how many time’s she’s almost died, or could have easily died if only one thing had gone wrong. She said ‘none’. I say, well there’s your problem! Of course you fear that bastard, you’ve never even tried to meet him!

    eat drink and be merry!

  30. @#8 Catbeller

    “I won’t quit my job to write novels or draw comics, my twin passions. Why? I can’t lose my health insurance. If I quit my job, if I get sick, I am done.”

    Assuming you don’t have children/dependents, I would say, is the possibility of dying really worse than the guarantee of never really living?

  31. My co-workers often described the risks I was taking in playing rugby until I pointed out that one didn’t want to walk to a gate and fell climbing over a fence, one broke a leg at softball and one of them tripped running down the stairs to the pizza guy, Having avoided any chance of these injuries, a probilistic definition of risk may indicate that I was failing to join the golden third.

  32. I agree with the other anonymous comment. You may be confusing correlation and causation. Happier people might take more risks due to happiness, riskier people might be happier due to riskiness – we don’t know. All we know is that they co-occur.

    It’d be interesting to do a longitudinal study, which is the only good way to find out solid answers without interfering in people’s lives in a non-human-subjects-friendly manner…

  33. As noted above, this risk/happiness correlation is only interesting if you’ve corrected for other variables. One would expect people with more resources (financial, friends, family, health insurance, etc) to be happier; one would also expect that cohort to be more sanguine about risk-taking. So, if the studies the author refers to don’t allow for that, the finding is not surprising at all (and can be recast as “healthy wealthy people with lots of friends and career opportunities are more likely to take chances and are happier people”). As always, the devil is in the methodological details.

  34. So a “golden” risk is one where you already know what’s going to happen, and there’s no real danger to you at all?

  35. I think that most “absolute” measurement of risk are flawed: context is king.

    For instance, building a rocket is safer the more you know about the subject. I would very likely risk my life without health insurance/welfare state (really bad health: a reason why I could never live in the US); but I don’t risk my life trying new food (no allergies so far, and I have tried almost anything) and so I do that.

  36. My dad says, “A man is like a turtle. He can’t get anywhere without sticking his neck out.”

  37. I’m in the stupid third. Found myself married and miserable at 38, so I took a stupid part time job to escape, divorced my wife, sold my car, bought a motorcycle, and lived for six years with no car and – eventually – three motorcycles. Crappy apartment at first, but that stupid part time job resulted in a series of promotions that got me just shy of $100K per year. I rode hard – stoned a lot of the time – at a pace of over 20K miles per year (I have well over 100K motorcycle miles under my belt now).

    Got bored and miserable again, so I quit that job, sold two of the bikes, bought a pickup, and decided to be a solo guitarist, after not even touching one for many years (I was in a series of rock bands before I got married).

    Bought a house in December. Suddenly, mowing lawns is fun. Still have one bike and a pickup, but I don’t ride stoned anymore.

    If you’re not risking your life, you’re not living it.

  38. “Being extremely risk averse is very bad for the mental health. You will probably find your most risk averse friends to be more prone to depression than the ones with a more bon vivant attitude.” Arikol, well said. I’ve been a risk-taker and a risk-avoider, and the former is much more fulfilling if done intelligently and prudently. Every great success story, from Chuck Yeager to Oprah Winfrey, took some risk – financial, personal, emotional, you name it.
    Sitting back and waiting for life to come to you doesn’t work, and makes you unhappy to boot. Even if you dare and fail, you have been in action, in the game, which is everything. Moreover, if your dreams aren’t realized, at least you know you tried your best. You won’t lie on your deathbed wondering about that coulda-shoulda-woulda moment.

    Risk-taking can be close to home. I took up martial arts at age 44, three years ago, and while it is physically risky to fight full out(you can be seriously injured doing Hapkido), it is a tremendous high and a wonderful experience. I wish I’d done it years ago.

    So, whoever you are… get off the couch and go for it!

  39. I constantly remind myself of these wise words, copyright 1919, Don Marquis: “It is better to go swaggering through the gates of life loose-lipped and genial and greedy, embracing pleasures and suffering pains, than to find one’s self, in the midst of caution, incontinently slain by chance and eaten by worms.”

  40. Don Marquis? Is that that “most interesting man” guy from those beer ads on TV?

  41. I knew this would turn into a “hey everyone, let’s question the validity of this observation since it doesn’t fit in with my way of thinking” thread.

    As an aside, if you guys want to see some REAL vicious kneejerk author-bashing, check out the comment section at after the opinion articles. Good times.

  42. It seems you have a lot of focus on physical risk. This will give you a quick rush, but is over quickly. For instance, bungee jumping or white water rafting.

    But what about starting a business or fronting a rock band? Different kind of risk, but more sustained and requiring the ability to live with risk for years instead of moments.

  43. Too bad the “iron third” (the third of the population that’s so risk averse that they want everyone else to avoid risks so that they don’t risk looking stupid) is overrepresented in government. They pass stupid “safety” laws like CPSIA (don’t know what that is? here), make the mandatory age for carseats creep upward (my mother-in-law will soon be required to use one), and make it so that anything short of confining your child to your home playing video games is frowned upon.

    Risk taking is a skill best learned in childhood, as children are moved through gradually-increasing risk taking. Sadly, many of these activities (like science experiments, unsupervised trips to the local store, and unstructured outdoor play) are now either foregone due to liability concerns or considered tantamount to child neglect. Without the ability for children to take risks, they will not be capable of doing so when they become young adults.

  44. I took a risk and lived dangerously, once. My wife snagged airfare to Mazatlan for $99. We just went . . . without hotel reservations, rental car, guidebook or friends. I about had a stroke when she proposed it but in the end, we had the time of our lives.

    Okay, so my lines are closer than yours but I’m still trying to color outside them. Give me a break, huh?

    Joe Doakes
    Saint Paul, Minnesota

  45. Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.

    A bunch of the Casper Milktoasts on this comment thread seem to have invented reasons why they aren’t more daring. I understand that rationalizations are important but . . .

    I know that I can drive across country have a reasonable meal every 4 hours at a McDonald’s. By the time I got to San Fransisco I would have no memory of any meal. Let me stop in a local joint for breakfast, lunch and dinner all the way across and I will have great meals to talk about and horrible meals to laugh about. More importantly I will have memories of the trip.

  46. You never know where the limit is, until you’ve crossed over it making the impossible possible.

    Better to grow old with memories rather than dreams, and best to be adventurous while young. Personally I’ve been a “leaper”, jumping first and then looking for a landing spot. Yes there have been lots of ER visits, sutures, broken bones and tears. It has been great fun! Given a chance to do it all again I would take even more risks.

    The same attitude applies to non physical risks too. Ask the person of your dreams for a date, regardless of the opinions of your parents or your peers. I did 30+ years ago and we’re still together. Disinherited for my choices, my only regret is that I did not meet her earlier. ;)

  47. Nowadays they’ve got non-toxic fugu… the fish picks up the poison from bacteria, so fish farmers can raise fugu in tanks without exposing them to the bacteria.
    I’ve never had it, but people who’ve had it tell me it’s pretty bland – it’s partially the risk factor that makes it attractive, and also you’re supposed to get a buzz off of the traces of the toxin in the less lethal parts of the fish.

  48. @Catbeller

    You are not ‘not taking a risk’. You are simply choosing to assign your risk to your employer, and the customers who keep the doors open. There is no ‘safe’ course. There is only how you choose to allocate your risk.

    As far as not becoming a cartoonist, artist or author because you can’t ‘take the risk’, that’s really BS. There are hundreds of ways for you to work towards that goal, to set up your life so that you can eventually make that jump without taking stupid risks.

    You can build your reputation and the network of contacts you need before you ever consider giving up your day job. You can build your portfolio, develop one or more book pitches, and cultivate contacts in your particular industry. You just have to be willing to put in the time and energy. You can save up enough to give yourself 6-18 months to find place in the industry and a ‘fall back plan’ if you don’t. Why do I know this? Because I’m doing just that now. I’m assembling the network of people my business will need, and the the financials I need to build a pro-forma since there is almost no one else in the market segment we’re targeting.

    When we open the doors, either I or my partner will quit our dayjob to run it, and the other will come in when there is sufficient cashflow to support it. Yes, I have a partner to help me, but I’ll also have $500,000 in setup expenses that you wont. We are PLANNING our risk, and we also have a plan if we somehow manage to fail.

    I can also tell you with absolute certainty that there are dozens of ways for you to carry health insurance on your own, and I say that as someone who quite literally CANNOT get private health insurance on my own. If you dont believe me, look into the Freelancers Union or the National Association for the Self Employed.

    If you are more comfortable assigning the risk of your future to the people you work for, then that is a fair and valid point of view. I’m not trying to tell you that you need to be more or less risk tolerant, but don’t for a moment imagine that you aren’t allocating your risk when you choose to do that.

    For me, when I realized that I wasn’t actually being ‘safe’ by working for someone else, I decided it was worth finding a way to structure the risk so that I had a real chance to do what I really wanted to do. It took a while to find something that I really wanted to do, and a realistic way to make a living doing it, but we finally did.

    I’m by no means in the golden third. I’m a chicken to the core, but sometimes you reach a point where you realize that being afraid is just stupid :o)

  49. ‘nother comment.

    As others have pointed out, we have a correlation here, not a causality. From an anecdotal stand point it’s nor hard to understand, though. People who have taken the ‘risks’ to do the things that excite them – whether they are successful are not – likely have fewer nagging regrets than those who never took the chance.

    Of the things in my life I regret, I regret the things I did not do, or did not try far more than the things I tried and failed at. When I have tried and failed, I have learned a whole lot about how to pick yourself up and keep going, and almost always have a good story to go with it. It sucks along the way to be sure, but things always do get better if you’re willing to work at it.

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