Humans have a love affair with the dangerous. In fact, if it weren’t for this love affair, we as a species would not be where we are today.
Let me start off by defining what I mean by the word “dangerous.” Dangerous, for the sake of this article, will encompass physical, financial, social, emotional, and mental danger. How so, you ask? Read further and all will be revealed!
Humans thrive in the presence of danger. Not only do we thrive, but we excel! We progress. We survive. This primal instinct most certainly evolved from our ancient descendants who traveled day-to-day doing what they needed to survive. Over the centuries, this instinct evolved to manifest itself in different forms.
Take Alexander the Great, for example, a fierce warrior and brilliant strategist who toyed with this notion of the dangerous, the forbidden. He fooled around with physical, social, and mental danger regularly, even made it his conquest to do so and ended up shaping our world beyond measure. Where would minds of such caliber as Ben Franklin’s be if danger hadn’t seduced him? If he hadn’t famously flown a kite into a thunderstorm to see what happened? This great country of America wouldn’t even exist if the founding fathers and settlers who fought Great Britain didn’t have the same thirst for the theatrics of risk. Their courage to challenge the familiar, the status quo, would have never given rise to the unity that forged our country
But why? Why are we drawn to things that could cause us harm? Why do we put ourselves in situations that give us every opportunity to fail? Why do we flirt with risk and love to seduce the perilous?
Because it makes us feel alive.
To know that we can come so close to destruction, even brush the hazardous, and come away relatively unscathed is a feeling that cannot be matched anywhere else in our lives. More importantly, beyond just the avoidance of harm, we come away different. Changed in some way. We learn something about ourselves that can only be revealed from close experiences with danger. We crave the adrenaline that our bodies release in those moments, and ride the high of success from conquering the previously unconquerable in our lives. We risk, to achieve reward; and boy those rewards are sweet indeed!
Yet, there is an element to the dangerous, while not as satisfactory as defying it, can be more beneficial to us, the reality of faltering. Flirting with risk and getting slapped across the face or seducing the perilous and waking up with herpes. It forces us to learn a lesson, and gain wisdom just as a child learns not to touch a flame. Our successes are what we will be remembered for but it is our mistakes that got us there. This, my friends, is where I think people in this world are separated from each other: The ones who play with danger and the ones who don’t.
So which are you? Do you give into the dark temptation of the dangerous and relish the rush of living so close to the edge? Or do you perhaps keep your feelers close, never wandering too far from comfort because of the possibility of all that can go wrong.
To all you danger daredevils, boldly continue! Don’t be stupidly foolish in your attempts to flirt with danger but never lose that thirst to for risk, for you are the type of individuals that will change the world, drive innovation, and conquer what others said cannot be conquered. Do you think you would be reading this on your iPad if Steve Jobs hadn’t lived life in such a way?
To all the safeguarded reading this, it time! It’s time to take the plunge into the abyss without a life jacket. Yes, it will feel uncomfortable. It will be frightening. It may even be downright paralyzing when you first try. However, you will never learn anything worth truly knowing about yourself unless you take that leap of faith because there are certain qualities about ourselves that are only revealed when nearest to danger. I challenge you to identify what you’re afraid of and like Nike says, “Just Do It!” Do not just say you will, make plans to make it happen next month, next week, or tomorrow. When it comes time to take that leap don’t think, just do. You will be far happier KNOWING you tried (and yes, possibly failing), then WONDERING what if?
So there you have it, the human race not only has a love affair with danger, whether it be flying through the air for some astronomically ridiculous stunt sponsored by Red Bull, throwing everything familiar in your life away for an adventure in a new place or placing yourself in an situation deemed by most to be unfavorable to pursue a dream, it NEEDS danger! Yes, we need danger to live to our potential. We need danger to excite those adrenaline chemicals out into our body. We need danger to learn because without it, we are destined to remain a cowering child afraid to go near the flame. Go out and explore your dangerous side because when you look back on the path you traveled in life, wouldn’t you rather see it wind through mountains, floating across seas and trudging through jungles than simply just dragging across a flat open plain?
How have you engaged the dangerous? I want to hear your stories as now! What have you done that is “dangerous?” What have you learned from flirting with danger? What have you wished to do but have never attempted?