What’s The Worst That Could Happen?

Drake, is among other things, one of the most successful rappers of our time. But beyond his prowess as a wordsmith he has put forth a captivating notion that is age old, but resonates perfectly with today’s youth. In his eloquent words YOLO (you only live once) took a brief moment where it had a life of its own. The bigger rhetorical question is “What is the worst that can happen?”

Often shrugged off before someone takes a risk of some sort. Many a BRO has hyped up his counterpart before approaching a woman with this line. It is all about putting the potential consequences of our actions temporarily out of mind thus allowing us to carry out what ever it is we are about to do.

For if we were to travel down that windy rabbit hole of possibility we may find that our imaginations are not only vivid but paralyzing. Let’s take the example of the bro talking to a woman. One may say that the worst that could happen is rejection.  That may be true but how that rejection is delivered has varying degrees in and of itself. Or maybe the gent will find success in his attempt to strike conversation with her and later find that it was not such a good idea.

Point here is that we never really know what the “worst” that can happen is. Among the endless trajectories that life can take us we are always taking some element of risk, it is in many ways the chance that we might loose our life is what makes it meaningful.

So what is it that allows us to push through those possibilities and act in the face of risk and failure? On one level it is that very same notion that the consequence of non action is certain, and the consequence of the risk is only probably.  Ask legendary hockey player, Wayne Gretzky put it, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Making accommodations for risk are also done by not just ignoring the potential hazards but preparing for them. We know that jumping out of a plane is risky, so instead of just one parachute, there is also a back up. This back up or second chute does not reduce the likelihood of failure but reduced the likely hood of the consequences. Not to apply the second chute concept to the bro and his woman, we might ask what is the fear of failure is, and to know that we have to know what success is.

If success is to begin a romantic relationship then the risk may be higher than if it is to achieve a platonic relationship. In this case the second chute is platonic friendship, it is a soft landing in spite of the initial failure. The worst that can happen is that both chutes fail and a “crash and burn occurs”. In the case of the bro, it would be a harsh, and total dismissal, which can essential traumatize a person, emotionally.

But you can’t really afford to think about that when your success is partly tied to your belief of success. So the bro tosses back another shot and saunters over to give it the old college try. Let’s be clear about courage, it is not courageous to act without caution. Nor is it courageous to ignore risk.

Courage is to face risk with the knowledge that the outcome is uncertain and infinitely probable, fully prepared to accept the worst that could happen.