It’s Not The Load That Breaks You Down, It’s The Way You Carry It

Fellow Riskologist,

Two hunters—neither knowing of the other—stalk their prey in the wilderness as hungry families wait at home in the village for their return. It’s been a rough winter, and food is scarce. They’re both experienced in their trade, their skills are sharp, and their bodies strong.

Miles from home, each hunter manages to take down a deer. All that’s left to do now is carry it home for the family to eat.

But this is where the story of the two otherwise equal hunters diverge.

The deer is unclean, having fallen in the mud, and there is no water around to clean it with. The hunters have only the clothes on their backs. One decides he wants to stay clean, so he lifts the deer in front of him and carries it at arm’s length. This is fine for a while, but the hunter quickly grows tired and stops. He’s using his weakest muscles to lift the deer, and he has many miles yet to cover. He sits down in a grove, his head in his hands, and wonders, “How will I ever make it home?”

The other hunter—a thousand miles away with the same predicament—takes a different approach. Rather than carrying the deer at arm’s length to save his clean clothes, he hoists the deer over his shoulder and begins to walk. The mud soils his clothes and some of the blood from the wound drips down his chest and back.

But he takes small steps and continues to pull the deer in close. He’s using his core and the strongest muscles in his body to bear the load. It’s a long, tiring walk, and his clothes are ruined, but he makes it home to his hungry family where he can change or walk to the village and trade some deer meat for a new outfit.

In one case, our hunter was uncomfortable with his burden. He tried to keep it always at arm’s length. But this was too tiring and he could not complete his task. Our other hunter accepted his burden. He embraced it at his core and carried it close to him. Many times he struggled but, in the end, he was victorious.

And so it goes with all things in life. You’re on a mission. You’ve decided to take a big risk, and you must decide how to navigate each coming day.

  • Maybe you want to improve the world through activism for an important cause, but the amount of campaigning you’ll need to do to succeed appears impossible.
  • Perhaps you’re starting a business, and the stress of wondering if you’ll gain enough traction all while earning little money and working like a dog every day is completely overwhelming.
  • Maybe you’re on a personal quest to see the world or become an artist or lose 100 lbs. and get healthy.

Whatever you’re after, there’s an enormous weight sitting in front of you and a long distance to carry it before you’re through. You’re pushing the boulder up the hill.

If you keep your guard up; if you shut out all the stress and anxiety and doubt; if you keep your important mission at arm’s length, you will not complete your journey. But if you pull it in close; if you carry it at your core and soil your clothes; if you accept the good and the bad all at once, then you won’t just finish your journey, you’ll find a new pair of clothes at the end—preparations for the next journey your current one pales in comparison to.

Risk is not something to be carried at the end of your reach. It’s not to be set aside or left to be dealt with when you feel more prepared. It’s to be carried from your center—to be a part of all you do. It’s to be enjoyed for the challenge it offers.

When you live like that, no load can break you.

Yours in risk-taking,