Risky Business

November 17, 2009

“I almost wish I hadn’t gone down that rabbit hole–and yet–and yet–it’s rather curious, you know, this sort of life!”

Isn’t it funny how true this remark is of human beings? It seems as if every time we try something new or take a risk, when asked the question, “Was it worth it?” we can never come to a conclusive answer. There is always an “and yet…” Nothing comes without its faults, it just depends on whether or not the good outweighs the bad.

For instance, take fame.

Wouldn’t it be amazing to be loved by an entire nation, to make millions upon millions of dollars every time you complete a project (i. e. movie, record, season of television, game, etc.), and lead the ultimate life of glamor? It sounds so incredible that some people may just jump into that alternate-reality version of life before considering the opposite side of the spectrum. Is all of that worth never seeing your family, not having any sort of personal or private life, being hated by some although loved by others, and the bearing the burden of needing to constantly think of every way your actions may be perceived before you do anything? Is it worth the inevitable rumors?

Similarly, when Alice plunged down the rabbit hole, she did not consider the consequences of her actions. Anything could have been at the bottom of that hole, but her only focus was to follow the curious rabbit. Then, when things started to go haywire, she says that she almost wishes that she didn’t go down the hole, but, at the same time, she is glad she did. Why is this? Why do people always regret something, but never enough to push that metaphorical reset button?

In my opinion, it is due to the fact that, whether we admit it or not, we as humans love that sense of adventure and suspense; we live for it. Whether it ends up being worthwhile in the end or not, we are always secretly glad we did it, whatever it may be. The truth is, people usually only embark on these wild adventures when they are bored with their mundane life, or seeking a distraction from something else. What would’ve happened to Alice had she not jumped down the hole? Would she have continued her futile attempt to read her boring book, or was something lurking around the corner for her? She never would have had the incredible experience of Wonderland, and, if she knew what she was missing out on, I believe she would regret that.

The question of “What could have happened had I just taken a risk and done this?” is, in my opinion, one of the most maddening internal questions one can ask oneself. Be it about love, studies, careers, moving, or giving into that innate curiosity, taking a risk is, although challenging, often proven worthwhile in the end, or at least leads to an exciting life full of adventure and wonder.

What do you think? Why does it seem to be a part of human nature to find it difficult to ever be truly happy or fully satisfied? Why do we torture ourselves with what if’s? Do you think, in general, it is more valuable to be a bold risk-taker or a cautious rule-follower?

One comment

  1. Those are some really difficult questions to answer. To answer the first one about why humanity has trouble finding true satisfaction, I would actually say we try and try to find happiness but we just keep thinking it will get better and better or worse and worse and thats why you cant ever really be satisfied. You have an idea in your mind that it could be better or worse, you dont think life can be perfect. And quite honestly I would say you should be a bold risk taker who follows the rules. You dont have to be an extreme, you can hit a happy medium. Its good to follow the rules, but if something disagrees with what you believe in than you should take a risk and go against it. I guess you can sum it up with do what makes you happy. Very interesting questions.

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