Do you take risks?
by Peter Urs Bender

(NC)-Taking risks--and making progress in life-- are like parent and child. You cannot have one without the other.

Every advancement of human history required risk taking. From the exploration of the seas to flights to the moon. From the invention of the wheel (think what it would be like to drive on squares!) to the development of the computer.

It took a risk to create this country, and for you, your family or your ancestors to come here. It took courage to create our social programs which help the unemployed, the elderly and the sick.

And where would YOU be if you had not taken risks: to read and write, to date someone, to go out and get that first job? Each and every step in our progress requires a risk; a willingness to try something new.

Here are a few of my favourite risk takers in history.

Think what it would have been like. Columbus sets off from Spain with three ships, having told the Queen he is going to reach the new world--but he doesn't know for sure it even exists! He's not sure which direction to go in and has no high technology to guide him. And most people, including his crew, believe he is going to fall off the face of the earth. (Does any of this sound familiar to you?) The rest, as they say, is history.

Children take the most risks--walking, talking, climbing trees, riding bicycles, jumping off cliffs into water, going to school. Kids take more risks per day than anybody else I know. Considering the size and number of risks it does not look like it would be an easy life. So why do kids have so much fun?

Walt Disney
He was born into a struggling farming family. His father disapproved when Walt told him that he wanted to do "what he loved" and become and artist. His first business venture failed. But at 21, he left for Hollywood to draw for the movies.

Even before he had much success in films, Walt had another idea: to build a new kind of amusement park. For the next 20 years, he dreamed and worked on his vision for Disneyland, an fantasyland for families, complete with a castle, rides of tomorrow and mechanical animals.

Most thought he was crazy. Few were willing to invest. But Walt persisted and finally the park opeened. It is now one of the world's most beloved amusement parks, and a great financial success story.

Are there some risks, even small ones, that you have been wanting to take? Isn't it about time you got started?

Peter Urs Bender is author of the bestselling books, Leadership from Within and Secrets of Power Presentations. For more tips, see

-News Canada