photo credit: mikebaird

William Arthur Ward

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool,
To weep is to risk being called sentimental.
To reach out to another is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk showing your true self.

To place your ideas and your dreams before the crowd
is to risk being called naive.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.

To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair,
To try is to risk failure.

But risks must be taken,
because the greatest risk in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing,
has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing.

He may avoid suffering and sorrow,
but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow or love.
Chained by his certitude, he is a slave; he has forfeited his freedom.

Only the person who risks is truly free.

This is your moment!

How do you risk to be truly free?

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Showing 24 comments
  • a2sojet

    Exactly what I was thinking about when I saw the post in my rss.


  • Vered - MomGrind

    I must admit I’m not much of a risk-taker. But this is beautiful and very inspiring.

    Vered – MomGrinds last blog post..THIS Is Why I Love California

  • Lance

    This is powerful Stacey. I remember skydiving a couple of years ago – and thinking that was “risk taking”, because I was jumping out of an airplane. Now…I see that the risk wasn’t in jumping out of the plane so much as it was in trying something new, so much as it was in facing some of the fears I have. It seemed like the biggest risk I could take at the time. Now…I say that while this was a risk, it was a small risk compared to risks of the heart. And I find those much more challenging to me, to who I am, to who I will and can be.

  • Avani-Mehta

    Beautiful and inspiring. I like to do crazy stuff – what I consider bold or adventurous or different from routine. But, I still don’t consider myself much of a risk taker in day to day life.

    But then, William Arthur isn’t talking about taking risk, is he? He’s talking about living life wholly.

    Avani-Mehtas last blog post..Top 8 Life Hacks – #2

  • Evelyn Lim

    I love what is being said here!! I find myself conservative but would often put myself in an area of discomfort. I know that if I can move beyond it, the feeling of freedom will be most precious! I can find myself in all kinds of crazy situations because I tend to shoot first then aim later, because of my desire to challenge myself.

    Evelyn Lims last blog post..CommentLuv needs updating on this site. Please download the latest version and install it on your site. This message will apear during the first 10 minutes of each hour. This remote script will cease returning posts in 7 days

  • Stacey Shipman

    “To live is to risk dying.”

    I believe that is the root of all of our fear. We will not live forever and we try to control that.

    “Only the person who risks is truly free.”

    Because when you take the risk you are working through your thoughts and your fear and that is freedom.

  • BC Doan

    This is beautiful. This is my mantra, “To try is to risk failure”, but if don’t try, you’ll never know..

  • Stacey / Create a Balance

    @a2ojet – It’s a classic and always seems relevant to me.

    @Vered – To live is to risk!

    @Lance – It’s funny how we think events like sky driving are high risk and we often do not recognize adventures of the heart as risky…but they are risky (and full of life).

    @Avani-Mehta – Yes! Living life wholly!

    @Evelyn – Sometimes my best moments are when I am standing outside of my comfort zone.

    @Stacey Shipman – I hear you. I have so much more to live and hope my time on Earth is only just beginning.

    @BC Doan – Exactly!

  • Evita

    Hello Stacey!

    What a great poem and a fantastic message! Personally I have gotten better and better at taking risks (but safe risks if I may say so) no, no that does not mean that really I am not a risk taker, I just mean safe for my body – i.e. no motorcycle lessons 🙂 Again not that I am afraid of death, but just not my preference.

    But I also do not call them risks in my life, I think because that for me has a negative connotation. I just refer to them as new learning or growth opportunities and I have to tell you I love them!

    It is freeing and it helps me grow and expand in awesome ways!

    P.S. Thank you for stopping by EvolvingBeings and your feedback 🙂

  • Stacey / Create a Balance

    @Evita – My blog provides me with so many opportunities to take risks! Next on my list is starting a series of videos (staring me).

  • Marelisa

    Hi Stacey: First, love the poem. Second, I’ve found I’ve received the greatest rewards in life when I’ve taken risks. I’ve also lost due to a couple of risks I’ve taken, but hey, you win some and you lose some 🙂

    Marelisas last blog post..Outliers – 10,000 Hours for Success

  • Stacey / Create a Balance

    @Marelisa – I hear you. Some of my greatest moments of feeling complete alive have happened when I’ve taken risks.

  • steenky bee

    I love this post! First, thanks so much for stopping by! Nice to meetcha. Second, I’m so glad you did so I had a chance to read this wonderfully beautiful and hopeful post. I only wish I would have read it earlier in the day. Nonetheless, it’s made my evening.

    steenky bees last blog post..I have foreign friends, well, at least I think I do

  • Stacey / Create a Balance

    @Steenky Bee – “To reach out to another is to risk involvement.” — welcome and thank you for reaching out.

  • Davina

    Hi Stacey. Love the photo you chose for these words. I swing between risk-taking and being conservative. I’m plum tuckered out from risks lately and am moving into a safe corner for a while.

    Davinas last blog post..Video — Preparation Inspires Self-Confidence

  • Stacey / Create a Balance

    @Davina – Good for you for recognizing your risk spectrum and for knowing when it’s time to move into a “safer corner for a while”.

  • Julie

    Hi, Stacey. This is a beautiful poem, thank you. In looking back on my life (I’m starting to be old enough to do that!) I see the biggest risks I’ve taken were the ones with the greatest reward. The thread that ran through all my riskiest moments?…I was exposing my “me” to the world, putting myself “out there,” allowing myself to be vulnerable.

    Julies last blog post..First Guest Post

  • Annette

    i am excited for my twins to get a little bigger so we can all take risks as a family 😉

    Annettes last blog post..Happy 100 posts to me—Skipping the cake and ice cream 😉

  • Jannie

    I thought the nose-wiping was cute! Totally natural. How brave to do your first video blog. I need to get on that band-wagon too.

    And you are just as lovely on video as in your posts!

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  • Jenny

    We have this on the wall in our office. Every time I look at it I am reminded that it is absolutely right. Taking risks makes you free, unfortunately I am not good at it. I like playing it safe and usually have to be talked into the risks. I’m getting better at it, even if it’s only at a miniscule pace.

  • Stacey / Create a Balance

    @Julie – I loved your comment so much that I quoted you in my video post.

    @Annette – Me too! I’m slowing taking risks w/ my older son (he went skiing over the weekend) but (safe) family risks are down the road.

    @Jannie – Thanks. I highly recommend creating a video post!

    @Jenny – Yep! Taking risks makes you free. My first video post is proof for me!

  • Paunchiness

    @ Marelisa : Outliers is really a great book. The problem is Gladwell leaves little room for critical thinking by interlacing his opinion and ideas throughout the book. I like to form my own thoughts based on research. But I think for the target this was a great book.

    I wish I’d been born at the right time and had 10k hours of practice at doing something. Maybe blogging will help my writing skills.


    @Stacey : Great poems thanks for sharing.

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