A person’s comfort with taking risks is a personal choice. There are people who are so cautious they avoid risk, while there are those whose fearless attitude makes them appear reckless to many others.
The risk can be as seemingly slight as eating food past its expiration date to a much greater risk of riding a motorcycle without a helmet.
I was told a story by my sister many years ago about her son, my nephew, which I like to use about those who are risk-takers.
My nephew was around the age of 5 and he was by nature an inquisitive boy.
One day he was in the garage playing with the electric garage door opener when he decided to play a game of chicken with the door as it went down.
He would push the button starting the door downward and then see how long he could wait until he could slide under the door making it to other side without getting caught by the door.
This story has a predictable ending.
After several successful attempts he kept waiting a little longer each time as the door got closer to the floor to see if he could get under it until there was that last one, the one where the door caught him.
This was the old style door opener that kept trying to close in spite of something stopping its downward path.
There was my nephew caught between the door and concrete floor with the door pressing down on him so he couldn’t escape.
Fortunately, my sister was home and from inside she could hear my nephew calling for help.
She hurried outside, saw the problem, and got him free, thereby avoiding what could have been a tragic ending.
My point in telling this story about risk-takers is they never know how far is too far or too much until that last time when they realize that the previous attempt was when they should have quit.
Hopefully, the mistake in making that last attempt won’t have drastic or long-reaching consequences.
Personally, I believe the world belongs to the risk-takers. Life is a continuous calculated risk whether a person is traveling or staying in one place.
My wife says she took a risk marrying a farmer and moving 155 miles south from her home in Minnesota to a farm in Iowa. I like to ask her, “How is that working out for you?”
It’s been 23 years so I believe she feels comfortable in her decision.
I believe we are both happy with her decision as are our family and friends.
Any risk brings with it possibly bad consequences or best of all, great rewards.
Every farmer I know understands the risks in farming from weather to markets to accumulating debt to government policy. The risk is there and so are the rewards.
This story has come to mind because of the recent events in the grain market.
At the first of the year, I thought we were in for a year of low prices and started selling new crop corn and beans more aggressively as a defensive measure.
Here we are with improved prices and those sales from last winter are not looking so good today.
I comfort myself in that harvest isn’t here yet and there is no denying the crop looks really good so that at harvest time I will think I made the right decision.
I look at my grain sales and many other decisions I make and think of that little boy playing chicken with the garage door one more time, one more time, one more time – as long as I believe I am smart enough to know when to quit, which is the difference between success and failure.
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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