Taking Risks While You’re Young

I was visiting my alma mater a few months ago. While I was there, I had coffee with one of my professors. This professor is one of my heroes – he’s an authority on international law and travels around the world consulting for governments and non-profits. The cool thing was that he took a fairly unorthodox route to get there –  after graduating from college, he spent three years traveling around the world, paying his way by doing odd jobs, before finally going to graduate school.

Over the years I’d heard some pretty fantastic stories about his travels, but I was still curious about one thing: How did he end up deciding to do this – taking a risk, trying something off the beaten path?

His answer was simple. “Vik,” he said, “I’m going to tell you the same thing a professor of mine told me. As you get older, you don’t regret the mistakes you made. Instead, you regret the times you never even tried. The worst mistake you can make is not making any mistakes at all.”

It’s so easy to get comfortable. We make one compromise which leads to another compromise, and suddenly our options have diminished. We have spouses, kids, careers, and mortgages…all wonderful things, but they don’t leave a lot of time for other priorities.

It’s also easy to be scared of failure. But that’s no excuse; we all fail, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t at least make an effort.

After talking with my professor, I realized I really needed to think about what I enjoy doing most. I realized that I love giving people advice and helping them with their problems – whether in personal finance, college counseling, or relationships.

In fact, this realization was a major reason for starting this blog. Writing and promoting this blog takes many hours each week, and who knows how it will turn out? Maybe no one will care about what I have to say. But whatever happens, I know that looking back, I will have given it my best shot.

So if you’re young, figure out what you really want and try it. You’ll be glad you did.

What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken? Do you regret it?

5 Responses to “Taking Risks While You’re Young”

  1. Very well written and said Vik. I appreciate the fact you're taking a 'risk' with this blog and daring to do something that most people just don't have the discipline and passion to do– teach others through writing without the promise that 'yes', this will all be worth it. Most people want a guarantee that something will succeed before they try….
    Keep up the great work.

  2. Jao Wei-Shieh says:

    I will agree with Mr. Marcus, it is importnce (especially important), we live in an a society of US hegemony that is now,in due course of China becoming a United States–China Axis Super Power…with no risks, without the risk taking that Mr. Tuntry is explaining we  in this economy known as the United States–China Axis that without Risk taking, there would be no globalisation and future growth via college applications or jobs after college.  I would also like to commend & congratulate you on taking this Risk and Sharing with the rest of us your learnings.

  3. keneiyizoba says:

    Thanks for a great post, Vik. Living itself is a risk , there are little guarntees in life , no matter how much we plan and ponder . The key is simply get up and do what you feel you should . Think less of the risks.  I love your blog.

  4. Yakezie says:

    The biggest risk I've ever taken was moving to a new firm across the country.  Didn't know anybody out in SF 10 years ago and now I love it out here!
    Funny you mention heroes, b/c that is the first question in our first Yakezie Scholarship!

    • Vik says:

      Thanks Sam! It’s great to hear stories about people taking cool risks – I’m actually planning to do a post on that in the future…

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