“Life has become too cosy for many, who have their lives mapped out by parents and teachers. It’s all a bit, well, comfortable: off you go to university to study a course. Land a good job, get a mortgage, find a nice girlfriend, boyfriend, partner. It’s a solid life – a good life in many ways – but when was the last time you took a risk?” – Richard Branson, Business Stripped Bare, p. 282
I don’t see the problem with people having comfortable lives. We’ve spent thousands and thousands of years developing society so as to have comfortable lives. I think Branson’s problem is with people selling themselves short. He has a greater sense of possibility and adventure, and an inability to stifle himself, that relatively few people have. So it’s not about taking risks so much as it actualizing one’s possibilities.
A relatively risk-free life could be really amazing – a nice job that is rewarding, a house that maybe one designs oneself, hobbies, a partner, whatever else – kids. That kind of life with a really solid execution could be a work of art.
Am wondering if this business that I’m starting [more soon] is an excessive risk – I’m going to be starting a fairly large business while working full-time. I don’t think so. It is a risk and it will involve stress but it’s not the kind of risk that will be a horrible addition to my life – it won’t mess things up irreparably. And it rounds out the rest of my life.
I could also just become a professor of accounting or business but who wants to study under someone who has no experience? Nobody except the poor suckers who show up not knowing what they could have in a real education.
I think Branson has another quote, or maybe it was Bill Coperthwaite, about how education needs to address whole people – different facets of the life of the human being. I agree with that idea, too. Education can be very empowering to youth and empowered young people have a lot of time and energy to do a lot of good for society, and in turn themselves.
Bernie Sanders won a bunch of primaries. He probably has a lot more energy than I think he does. I wonder if he will secure the nomination.