If You Risk Nothing, You Gain Nothing

Undoubtedly, in the above clip Bear Grylls proves he is 124% more of a man than I am:  fearless, a calm demeanor, and a wicked-cool accent. What resonates in that video, however, is his composed response, “If you risk nothing, you gain nothing.”

Isn’t that true? Whether in business, personal choice, or in our faith, there always a level of risk involved. Late last year, I read similar thoughts in Erwin McManus’ book “Chasing Daylight”.

“You cannot fail without risking. If you have never failed, it might be just possible that you have never risked.”

What McManus wrote resonated with me. Oftentimes my first reaction to a situation tends be cautious and risk-averse. My thoughts are calculated and my pragmatic thinking tends to be very cafeful and guarded. That hit me in the gut, of course, because my “fear of failure” tends to affect my decision making at times–not so much in my business/professional life, but certainly in my family and friend relationships.

With regards to our faith, McManus goes on to write, “Our pop theology has eliminated the place for risk and insulated us with a comfort-and-security theology.” Bam! Do I make decisions, remain silent, or stand action-less because I want to do the “safe thing”? My answer in one word–Yes. Instead of chasing opportunities, I get caught up in managing the risk. Instead of confidently trusting in God’s character, l rely on trying to control things myself.

I was encouraged how McManus went on to close the book, “You know where to begin: take initiative. You know who God is, so embrace life’s uncertainty.”

How to you react to uncertainty? Do you watch Man vs. Wild?

65 Comments

  • Matthew Snider

    March 28, 2011

    Awesome stuff brother. Thanks for sharing it and I must say I have never seen the show.

    That is one crazy dude!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 28, 2011

      I’ve only seen it a couple times, but you’re right–he’s nuts. :) (and thanks!)

      Reply
  • Jim F

    March 28, 2011

    Chasing Daylight is one of my favorite books of all time. I do my best to live a life of Risk in dealing uncertainty. I try to embrace it – not always successful but that is the goal.

    Only seen Man vs. Wild a few times – I enjoyed it when I watched it.

    Good thoughts.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 28, 2011

      Embrace the Risk… Like that. Thanks, Jim.

      Reply
  • Jk Allen

    March 28, 2011

    Hey Dustin – That Bear is a trip. My 5 year old son and I watch MvW all the time. The challenges that this guy puts in front of himself is amazing.

    The connection between risk, failure and success is combo that I never really thought of together. But it makes perfect sense. A couple months back I took on a leadership position and it’s been such a challenge. More than anything, my schedule is so crazy that I knew it was going to stretch me far beyond what I “thought” I could handle – but given the purpose, I was all for it. So, it was a risk. But it’s been a terrific experience; a reward that I wouldn’t have received if I wasn’t willing to fail.

    Thanks for the inspiration Dustin!
    PEACE

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 28, 2011

      Absolutely. Thanks for sharing Jk. I think those ‘stretching times’ often lead to growth periods. In the moment they are trying, but looking back they are cherished. Keep at it!

      Reply
  • Michael

    March 28, 2011

    I try to go with my first instinct.

    And he is so much more man than I am.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 28, 2011

      You and me both, Michael. (more man than both of us) :)

      Reply
  • Moe

    March 28, 2011

    Uncertainty? I look at it in the eye, my right eye twitches a bit and then I weep silently inside, but then I am comforted by knowing that if God is for me, who can come against me. That always gives me the right perspective.

    Good to have you back man. Missed your posts here. Man vs child? nah, that’s my life everyday with my son… and sometimes, I’m the child… true story!

    Reply
    • Ben

      March 28, 2011

      Couldn’t have said it better and I’m not going to even try.
      WHO can come against us? Nadaone.

      Reply
    • Dustin

      March 28, 2011

      Rom 8 – we are more than conquerors. Believe it!
      (and thanks Moe!)

      Reply
  • Marlee

    March 28, 2011

    Wow Dustin! Have you been borrowing my books lately?!?! LOL.

    I love Erwin’s work – he has such a wonderful way of making a relationship with God so tangible. In fact, I’ve got a blog post up my sleeve based on some of his insights too, which is why I had the opening reaction I did.

    And…I’m studying Luke right now in my quiet time, and this AM I was in Luke 19. And when I closed, Luke 19:26 kept ringing in my head. It reads: “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away.”(NIV)

    And I kept rolling it through my mind trying to bring it to my life right now, since clearly it wouldn’t leave me, I knew there was something deeper than what I was getting in the moment. SO…I looked it up in the message bible and it reads:
    “He said, ‘That’s what I mean: Risk your life and get more than you ever dreamed of. Play it safe and end up holding the bag.”

    BINGO! Like a lightning bolt – it was clear to me. And now that I’m writing this, I’m wondering who the irony of the timing on this topic is of more significance to between the two of us…guess it’s a slam dunk either way!

    Thanks for this!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 28, 2011

      Marlee, thanks for sharing those thoughts. Really enjoyed reading them. Chasing Daylight was a book I read last year… it is definitely a top5 for me. I’ll be on the lookout for your future-post. Looking forward to it!

      And you know what, I want to cross-compare verses like that (message/NIV/etc) from time to time. I think that insights come to the surface in different ways/contexts…

      Reply
  • Ryan Tate

    March 28, 2011

    That guy is a man. I am not. And I’ve never seen the show and not sure I want to.

    I love Erwin’s take on uncertainty. He has another great analogy on uncertainty in his book The Barbarian Way about a “crash of rhinos”. Ever read that?

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 28, 2011

      You know Ryan, I’ve heard about The Barbarian Way. May have to put it on my Amazon wish list. You have me intrigued… :)

      Reply
  • Donald Borsch Jr

    March 28, 2011

    “Faith is an ocean we can walk on.” –Dime Store Prophets

    So good to see you back in action, D! I missed your posts!

    I would be a liar if I said I didn’t have some uncertainties. I do. Some. Not many, because I don’t roll like that. (I don’t need to) Some. You asked, “How do you react to uncertainty?” See above quote from DSP.

    In the military you jump out of an airplane in the dead of night, not able to see the ground. Even if you are wearing NOD’s, you have no depth perception. It is a supreme act of trust and faith in the face of total uncertainty. You checked your gear. You are confident in your abilities. But you still cannot see the ground. You have done this kind of jump countless times before. But you still cannot see the ground.

    Uncertainty to me is just like that. And I handle it the same way. Faith. Trust. Confidence.

    Again, so good to see you back!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 28, 2011

      Love that DSP quote. Thanks for sharing, D.
      Also, I really liked your analogy with the plane jumping. In the end, you have to be confident in what you know. And what we know is the character of God.

      Reply
      • Donald Borsch Jr

        March 29, 2011

        Sons know the character of their Father. We can’t help it. It’s in our spiritual DNA. And what is His character but everything that is opposite of ours.

        Glad you are back, D.

        Reply
  • Jason Vana

    March 28, 2011

    Unfortunately, my ingrained response to uncertainty is to wait and try to figure everything out – which sometimes means I never move forward. My first reaction is never to jump. But I’m getting better at it, learning to trust God that I don’t need all the answers.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 28, 2011

      jason, I feel you. I’m like that a lot of times as well. thanks for sharing.

      Reply
  • Ally Garner

    March 28, 2011

    First, i haven’t read Chasing Daylight, but i’m adding it to my GoodReads list today. Thanks for the recommendation-always looking for new great reads!

    I totally get where you’re coming from Dustin. I’m risk-averse by nature as well, especially when it comes to matters of money, career, friends, family & faith. I’m just conservative by nature. And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, imo. But i do think that need to stay safe prevents us from getting out of the boat & trusting God. While i absolutely believe God wants us to be good stewards of our talents & resources, i also believe God wants us to recognize opportunities, be bold when necessary, and remember that God never gives us the spirit of fear.

    Really enjoyed the video & this post!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 28, 2011

      thanks, ally! I’d totally recommend the book. It was one of the many books I read last year, and it was by far my favorite. Easy, practical, and tons of “nuggets” that I felt I took out of it.

      I think you touched on a few other important topics as well- stewardship, fear, and boldness.

      thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  • Jon

    March 28, 2011

    Honestly, uncertainty has eaten me up at times. I can relate to you in that I’m always trying to make sure and over analyze everything. It’s that fear of not being in control, but that is what faith is. I’m learning more and more that no matter what God is in control regardless of how bleak a situation may seem.

    Bear Grylls is cool, but I prefer Survivorman. :)

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 28, 2011

      you know, my brother was totally into survivorman as well. in fact, he may be even more crazy than Bear. :)

      Reply
  • Justin

    March 28, 2011

    “God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible.” 2 Tim 1:7 (MSG). Be Bold. We often get the loving and sensible right – but the boldness? Ahhh…I need that. Great post, D!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 28, 2011

      SWEET. thanks for sharing that!

      Reply
  • ThatGuyKC

    March 28, 2011

    I tend to be the more “shoot first and ask questions later” type so the initiative is less of an issue than the actual follow through.

    I would hate to be Bear’s camera dude.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 28, 2011

      Camera dude? Yeah, I’ll pass on that one as well. To think of it… the bees are probably pretty mild compared to some of the other stuff.

      Follow through is so important on so many levels. I’ve been hit over the head with that many times… :)

      Reply
    • Donald Borsch Jr

      March 29, 2011

      KC,

      In the military we had a similar expression:

      “Sometimes it is easier to say you are sorry than it is to ask permission.”

      In my covenantal walk with God my Father, I have leaned on this expression many times, and have been rarely chastised because of it.

      My two cents.

      Reply
  • Kyle Reed

    March 28, 2011

    love that clip from Man vs Wild.
    and I think you do not start living life until you start to risk…that is where you are meant to be.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 28, 2011

      kyle, that is an interesting statement … one that I’ll be chewing on for a little bit. thank you. :)

      Reply
  • kristinherdy

    March 28, 2011

    Uncertainty bothers me more in some situations and less in others. I am more comfortable in uncertainty about my future or God’s plan, than I am, say, about whether or not that box of supplies is going to come in time for the charity event. I’m weird like that.

    I get nervous when I can’t see what other people are going to do, not knowing HOW God is going to do something he promised is way less problematic for me.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 28, 2011

      that is an interesting perspective, kristin. thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      i think sometimes it may be “easier” to trust God with the bigger things because they are big (and often way out of our control). the smaller things on the other hand…. :)

      Reply
  • bill (cycleguy)

    March 28, 2011

    When uncertainties come, I tend to stop and look at it (or at least try to) for the nuances and where it could be taking me. How should I respond? Is there anything I can do to head this off at the pass? The answer to your question: no I have never seen it. To be honest: I don’t watch much TV so don’t even know when it is on or what station.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 28, 2011

      that’s okay bill… you can just watch brief youtube clips from time to time and catch the highlights. :)

      Reply
    • Donald Borsch Jr

      March 29, 2011

      Bill,

      >>”…for the nuances and where it could be taking me.”

      That’s wisdom right there. Thank you for passing it on! I will lock that one away in my spirit, for sure.

      Reply
  • alece

    March 28, 2011

    i love me some bear grylls. and i love that clip!

    i’ve done some risky, adventurous things in my life, but they pale in comparison to the risks i’ve taken with my heart. trusting, surrendering, opening my heart, and being authentic are by far the greatest risks of my life…

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 28, 2011

      great perspective, alece. really, really appreciate the comment – often those actions are just as difficult (or risky), and I like how you put that into words.

      Reply
  • seekingpastor

    March 28, 2011

    Most of the time, I am calm and keep trusting. Right now I am worrying and having sleepless nights. Praying that this will change soon.

    Reply
    • Donald Borsch Jr

      March 29, 2011

      Matt,

      Be encouraged:
      “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
      Matthew 6:34

      Now get some sleep, man of God. Tomorrow will get here exactly when my Father says it will, so there’s no need to fuss about it. Sleep with angels, Matt.

      Reply
      • Dustin

        March 29, 2011

        I echo what Donald says… :) be encouraged!

        Reply
  • Sean Sabourin

    March 29, 2011

    Great post Dustin. Really enjoyed it. Loved this book but when I read it it was called, “Seizing Your Divine Moment.” I have read a bunch of his stuff and I am planning a trip later in the year to head down to check Mosaic out. Regarding how I react to uncertainty, I guess it all depends on the situation and circumstances. When it is work related I thrive in uncertainty, it is adventurous. When it comes to things a little closer to home, I might tread a little more cautiously and want to make sure my family is being taken care of and provided for. I have never seen the show but his eyes definitely looked a little painful. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 29, 2011

      I remember seeing on the book cover that it used to be called that. What other books of his have you read? If his others are similar I’ll have to check them out. I really liked how he used real life examples to supplement the messages he was trying to convey in his writing.

      Reply
      • Sean Sabourin

        March 29, 2011

        To date I have read:

        1. Soul Cravings
        2. The Barbarian Way
        3. Wide Awake
        4. The Unstoppable Force (my fav)

        I love his style of writing and he is a fantastic communicator in person. I got to see him a year or so ago at a Pastors Conference here in Vancouver. You should definitely check out his other writings.

        Reply
        • Dustin

          March 30, 2011

          Highly recommended? Sign me up!

          Reply
  • Michelle

    March 29, 2011

    Awesome post Dustin. I think we are all a little guilty of that – managing the risks and our reactions to them. Bear Grylls grosses me out. I honestly don’t know how his wife can even kiss him knowing what he puts in his mouth…so that makes him less cool in my book. LOL. On a side note, my sister in law’s brother thinks he is Bear Grylls and goes around eating spiders and looking under rocks for bugs to eat. GROSS!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 30, 2011

      I think many people wish/think they are Bear Grylls. :)

      Reply
  • Adam

    March 29, 2011

    Great stuff Dustin. Love the post. So true.
    I have fallen behind on my rss feeds with the busy schedule I have been keeping.

    Yea, I love Man vs. Wild. Bear is crazy.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 30, 2011

      Crazy is an understatement. :)

      Reply
  • Tony Alicea

    March 29, 2011

    I completely believe that risk = reward. And yes, I definitely watch Man vs. Wild. The best episode was the one with Will Ferrell where he eats the twinkie!

    Reply
    • Melissa Brotherton

      March 29, 2011

      My favorite Man vs. Wild EVER!!!!! It was awesome! You should try to find it online somewhere if you haven’t watched it.

      I take risk, I welcome risk. Then, once I’m staring it in the face…I get a little nervous. After I’ve gone through the risk is when I really freak out though. I start to second guess myself and wonder if it was worth it, was it what God was asking of me, did I make a mistake just because I saw it as a risk?

      Reply
      • Dustin

        March 30, 2011

        Melissa… this should get you started: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaArMY8BHh8

        There comes a point where the rubber meets the road so to speak – when the actual situation is faced with a decision point to continue moving forward (with faith, trust, certainty)…. I know what you’re talking about!

        Reply
    • Dustin

      March 30, 2011

      Thanks for sharing, Tony … totally forgot about the Will Ferrell episode!

      Reply
  • Kevin V

    March 30, 2011

    Man vs. Wild is definitely awesome. It’s true that we all fails sometimes when we took the risk, but its a part of life we have to deal with in order to be better and more successful.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 30, 2011

      Thanks for the comment, Kevin – appreciate you stopping by. Like what you said, kinda like what CS Lewis said once, “Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.”

      Reply
  • Tom Raines

    March 30, 2011

    Good Stuff, my “perfectionism” or carrying what others may think has prevented me from taking risks in the past. Just because I can’t see it or understandit doesn’t mean I don’t do what I feel is Spirit led…we miss 100% of the shots we never take. If God says go, go and trust. I like this life much better than the fearful one!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      March 30, 2011

      >>>”we miss 100% of the shots we never take”

      Love that. Thanks for the comment, Tom.

      Reply
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  • Chelsea Thomas

    April 1, 2011

    Great Post! As a college basketball player I practically LIVE by that quote: “we miss 100% of the shots we don’t take”

    This post has reminded me to continue in risks taking(calculated risk of course haha). I’ve failed more times in my life than I like to remember, but I tribute my “failures” to my current success.

    Thanks for this!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      April 1, 2011

      Absolutely. Thanks for the comment, Chelsea! I’m a calculated risk taker sometimes as well. I attribute that to my personality/nature. I think you’ll agree, but it’s hard at times to see the positives of “failure” but we can certainly realize them as we look back and evaluate!

      Reply
  • Living Light

    April 2, 2011

    Hey, I can totally relate to the fact that fear is what binds us, and prevents us from moving / acting! Gal 1 v 10 came to mind when reading this – it puts things in perspective for all of us following Christ. Thanks for some great posts!!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      April 2, 2011

      Thanks for the comment! And… Gal 1:10 has always been a life verse for a people-pleaser like myself!

      Reply
  • Alex Humphrey

    April 6, 2011

    My reaction to uncertainty is doing everything in my power to make it certain. I fail a lot of times. It’s something I have struggled with for awhile. I am getting better at being “spontaneous” and “going with the flow” but there’s that thing inside of me that wants desperately to control my own destiny.

    The sad part is, I know in my head that God alone controls my destiny. And yet I continue to fight Him.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      April 7, 2011

      Control is such a tricky thing…. myself included, we want to predict. We want to know what to expect. That is the hard thing sometimes…

      Reply
  • Chadrack

    June 21, 2011

    The truth is life is about risk. Whatever you want to achieve in life can only be gotten when you take the action. Of course you may not know in totality what the outcome may be but without taking the action nothing will happen. Also love the closing line “You know who God is, so embrace life’s uncertainty.” I with God is a mighty force therefore taking risk is really an enjoyable thing!

    Reply

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