Why Risk is Important

This is a new feature called Good Thoughts from Good Folks where I ask a few good folks for their good thoughts on a question I’m thinking about.

This week’s good folks: Addie Thompson, Monika Wührer, Marina Kim

This week’s question: Why is risk important?

Addie Thompson is the COO of Mission:Bars, a company making all-natural bars and promoting lives in motion.

Risks are like exercising. The first time you lift weights, or run a mile, it sucks. It’s painful. But slowly, over time, your muscles grow and your legs get stronger and suddenly, it doesn’t suck so much. Taking risks stretches and strengthens that invisible muscle of resilience, persistence, courage, and passion in all of us. Taking a risk tears that muscle apart so that we grow and develop new muscle, new skills, new characteristics that help us be better leaders, colleagues, friends, family members and partners.

Monika Wührer is the Founder & Artistic Director of Open Source Gallery, a non-profit nexus for art & neighborhood culture.

When it comes to art, risk is always important. Artists can’t be worried about pleasing people, instead they are excited when they are challenging. A great artwork is a piece that stays with you, where weeks later you will still think of it because it disturbed or excited you–or maybe because it just drew a question mark in the air.

Marina Kim is the Co-Founder & Executive Director of Ashoka U, which catalyzes innovation in higher education.

No one innovates without taking a risk. A risk is essentially something that may fail. Risk, fear and failure are closely related. If you can reframe a risk you’re taking as a “learning and creative experience” and focus on process/learning measures as well as outcome measures then there isn’t a way to fail. Many of the best and most successful people in the long-run learned from taking risks many times and seeing those experiences (win or lose) as building blocks for deep learning. If you only define success as a successful venture, then I believe you will never truly become a great innovator.

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