Everyday living involves taking some degree of risk all the time. I wish to find out what I need to do to ensure a productive and enjoyable life.
Obviously, the least risk is to stay at home and watch TV, but that won’t work for most people. If I go to work, ride a bike or take a walk, there exists the risk that I may get involved in a car accident which is not uncommon. If I fly out of town, the airplane may crash although I hope that it will happen to some other flights instead of mine. So I find myself always betting that I won’t wind up in the wrong place at the wrong time. After all these years, it seems that these are pretty good bets because I’m still safe and sound like most other people.
Regarding health, I always bet that my immune system and my moderate lifestyle will maintain good health. This is an ancient wisdom before the dawn of modern medicine. If I succumb to cancer or other terrible diseases, I will take it as God’s will. In order to maintain sanity, I never allow myself to be bombarded by constant news, commercial or otherwise, promoting various products or methods for preventing cancer or other diseases. The reason is that they merely play on human fears. I believe keeping life simple without noisy interference will make me healthy.
Regarding happiness, I am willing to bet on no pain no gain. I appreciate the pure joy of reading, singing, playing musical instruments, hobby, sports, and even difficult scientific or artistic work. They all involve years of learning, training, and competing that includes failures before one can reap the fruits of pleasure and satisfaction. The same goes with raising kids and a family. Although pains and disappointments abound, the investments are never wasted. Extending your love and care to other people will also bring incredible happiness, but you have to do it before you can appreciate it.
There are some worldly pleasures that I am not willing to bet. Sexual pleasure is only temporary despite the occasional urge and its overblown interpretation. Your body cannot tolerate too much of it. Besides, sex without atmosphere is no fun. A more dangerous pleasure is addiction to drugs or other substances. Not only will it destroy you, but also the rest of your family. Finally, gambling is a bottomless pit, where the addict is willing to bet anything including himself and his beloved to the point of losing everything.
In the grand scheme of things, we must never bet on technology. It only goes one way — up. Technology progresses naturally by building on the things humans have discovered. “In technology, whatever can be done will be done”, said Andrew Grove, former CEO of Intel. The question is when will the new inventions come into market.
The other big thing we must never bet on is Mother Nature. Although she tolerates all the pollution we’ve inflicted on the environment, she will one day strike back with a vengeance. Like the debts we accumulate, we will have to pay back plus interest. A selfish person may not care because the revenge may not happen in his lifetime. However, for most people who care about future generations, our children and grandchildren will have to suffer the recklessness we commit today.