05/26/2022 AGEIST Newsletter 289

We all have a certain amount of risk we are willing to take on. One could, I suppose, go fully risky all the time in every area. The word for those people is short-lived. Personally, I tend to follow the advice of Nassim Taleb and apportion my risk to a few certain activities, and then reduce it as much as possible in all the other areas of my life. For instance, I enjoy skiing, which I am experienced at and like to do at somewhat high rates of speed. I view this as taking up a big chunk of my physical risk allotment. On the other hand, I never speed and, in fact, I am an extremely cautious driver. I have also given up mountain biking, rock climbing, and most other activities that could suddenly lead to death or hospitalization. Because I don’t have a spleen, I am highly vaccinated and even so won’t travel to any destinations with blood-borne infectious diseases. Too much risk. Sorry, Africa; been there,  and I probably won’t be back.

This is somewhat analogous to much of what has been written around lifelong successful creative people: they tend to have very predictable home lives, and very adventurous creative lives. Having known many of these people, the type that win MacArthur genius grants, most of them have the most normal, even-keel domestic lives you could imagine. Zero drama. But then they go off and make some incredible work of art that is absolutely mind blowing. Routine is the friend of the true creative — Sir Paul McCartney taking the London tube every morning at 9 am to go to the studio… that sort of thing. 

At this point in life, we all most probably have certain goals we would like to accomplish; it could be anything from playing with the grandkids to finding some breakthrough in our work. We also, having made it this far when others have not, realize that immortality is a youthful delusion and that playing it safe in most of our lives is a good idea. Let’s not let that lead us, though, to avoiding all risk all the time. That leads to fossilization, and the antidote to that is to embrace the new. This is the time to be audacious, to do that thing, whatever it is, because if you don’t the regret will not be worth the risk allotment. 

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday weekend,


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David Stewart
David Stewart
David is the founder and face of AGEIST. He is an expert on, and a passionate champion of the emerging global over-50 lifestyle. A dynamic speaker, he is available for panels, keynotes and informational talks at david@agei.st.


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