“Perhaps extreme danger strips us of all pretenses, all ambitions, all confusions, focusing us more intensely than we are otherwise ever focused, so that we remember what we otherwise spend most of our lives forgetting: that our nature and purpose is, more than anything else, to love and to make love, to take joy from the beauty of the world, to live with an awareness that the future is not as real a place for any of us as are the present and the past.” ~ Dean Koontz
It doesn’t seem that 11 years have past since Aron Ralston amputated his arm, five days after he was trapped by a boulder in the beauty of a remote Utah Canyon. Alone with no one knowing his whereabouts, he was literally at life’s brink. The sheer will to experience his future while in extreme danger, now makes for an inspiring life story. A story that could have had a different outcome.
Many of us make (conscious and unconscious) choices about how we want to experience wellness, financial freedom, relationships, adventure, and professional success. And there are people (guides, actuaries, underwriters and extreme sports participants) who meticulously plan and model events and possible outcomes. They prudently assess risk.
Aron Ralston didn’t expect what he encountered. Yes, it was a freak accident yet he planned for his outing poorly. And he nearly lost his life. Aron is an extreme example. In your everyday life, do you adequately (if not thoroughly) consider risks? Do you rethink activities to recognize dependent events that could lead to an extreme event? Do you plan for and anticipate the unexpected?
There are countless ways in which to plan for the unanticipated. It simply takes intentional time and effort. Whether you want to mitigate your fears or fulfill your dreams (a pretty broad range, right?), here are three considerations when planning potentially risky endeavors:
- Have conversations with people who have ‘traveled the path you’re considering.’ Learn what their experiences yielded. Factor for unlikely events happening. And plan for risky scenarios, even if they have low probabilities. It’s not always the obvious or likely that manifests.
- Prioritize hypothetical situations and gauge how you would logically and emotionally react and respond (there is a difference between the two). Understand how you deal with stress and anxiety. Even after losing 40 pounds in five days and drifting in and out of delirium, Aron Ralston summoned the strength and determination to focus.
- Share your well-developed plans with others. As attractive and exciting as ‘soloing’ might be, consider the advantages of partnering with someone. Shared experiences are valuable and memorable, too!
I invite you to reflect on these as you plan business decisions, personal ambitions, and all that is important to you.