The Antecedent to Risk

once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.

—e.e. cummings

Categories: Great Quotes | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “The Antecedent to Risk

  1. I have to believe in myself first? I am sunk.

  2. Precisely my reaction.

  3. Jennie

    I would say rather that when we believe in ourselves, these things cease to seem risky.

    Risk is a function of uncertainty. If you are sure of the outcome, there is no perception of risk. There’s also no adrenaline rush when you finally get up the courage to go for it, so weigh the potential consequences of self-confidence carefully.

  4. Oh, good. So now I can actually justify not believing in myself. It’s dangerous and makes things that would be fun and adventurous less fun and commonplace.

    That sure was helpful.


  5. I think it’s like Simone Weil’s distinction between good and evil, if we substitute “self-belief” for “good”: “Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating.”

  6. Funny you should put it that way. I was thinking about this today. I had not the proper words to describe the difference though I knew what the difference was.

    I think evil is gloomy and monotonous because it does not exist except as an absence. Good exists and the absence of it is selfishness. Extreme selfishness is evil. Evil exists no more than darkness. We do not make a room dark by turning on more darkness, but by decreasing the light.

    Lack of belief is not tangible. Believing in oneself is. I know when I do. I feel the void when I do not. It is the same when I believe in others.

  7. If not believing in oneself (or others) is experienced as a void, wouldn’t that argue for self-belief being one’s natural state? We feel normal when we have it; we feel empty when we don’t.

    Why, I wonder, do we not believe in ourselves? What makes that happen? Do we start listening to the dis-couraging words of others? Whence did this internal script of naysaying originate? When did we start saying “I can’t” or “I’m not good enough”?

  8. When? When others told us that. Some never have the chance to believe in themselves, being programmed that they’re not good enough from before they can speak. Others of us work through that, and figure out being “worthy” or “good enough” doesn’t mean being perfect, far from it. (Thankfully!) I love that quote.

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