Ridlon Kiphart

Opinion; An Explorer´s Guide To Risk – Embrace It To Fuel Your Passion

 Years ago I realized that it wasn´t worth surrounding yourself with people who either didn´t understand you or who just ate all energy out of you with their negativity. Since this revelation I only socialize with people who inspire me and make me feel inspired to live.  That is except one´s family which one can do nothing about, but accept the way they are. It is a choice I have done and life is far better since I took this route of life. For this reason, most people I deal with today are great characters, they choose routes very few people take in life and they continuously inspire and create happiness just by the way they are. They are all risk takers in one way or the other. It may by shares or business or adventure. But they take chances. Most of them are doing well in life, some not. But they´re always a treat to spend time together with. For this reason I am very happy to introduce Ridlon Kiphart or Sharkman to you. He will give all of you readers who´s been thinking what route to choose in life some really good advice and lots of motivation!


An Explorer’s Guide to Risk:  Embrace it to fuel Your Passion


Ridlon Kiphart

I’m going to drop a bomb right off the bat. One of the most powerful things you can do in your life is to learn how to embrace risk.  Sound crazy?  Maybe.  Or maybe we need to look deeper into the concept of “What is Risk?”.

What is Risk?

Risk is almost universally seen as a bad thing – something to mitigate and avoid at all costs.  In fact the words risky and dangerous are often used interchangeably. So companies have entire risk management divisions and we do everything we can to personally manage and mitigate risk in our lives, businesses, relationships, jobs, marriages and communities. As explorers, we are always taught to mitigate risk.

Risk is most accurately defined as “an uncertain outcome” which is neither necessarily good nor bad. Think about that.

And so the whole idea of trying to avoid risk is a complete farce – a total joke.  Why? For three important reasons:

It is only through embracing risk that we are able to create life’s greatest accomplishments whether climbing a mountain or raising a family.

Risk skews our perception of reality.

We can’t “manage” risk any more than we can manage time. 

Most people don’t like uncertainty.  It makes people nervous.  It makes relationships nervous.  It makes businesses nervous.  Turns out that human beings are evolutionary hard wired to have an aversion to uncertainty.  If you look at things as a hunter/gatherer  (which we were not too long ago), that makes sense. Early mankind didn’t have a safety net and so therefore always had to play it as “safe” as possible. Even a small injury from an uncertain course of action could prevent a hunter from hunting. Death would shortly follow. Our hard wiring tells us there is more downside to uncertainty than upside. So, many people shun risk completely, incorrectly believing that an uncertain outcome is always a bad outcome. We need to understand that risk does not necessarily equate to danger.

So then why is embracing risk so important? The answer is simple: It is only through risk – or uncertain outcomes – that great advances in life happen. Change requires risk. And unless you already have exactly what you want in life, you must risk to achieve change.  This means dealing with uncertainty. By not accepting risk you stay stuck exactly where you are. And this is the greatest risk of all.

How risky is the life of an explorer? Your brain may be giving you all the wrong answers.

I learned a long time ago that it is simply best not to tell my mom what I do. Being an explorer is so foreign to her that she immediately views everything I do as extremely dangerous. Because she doesn’t know anything about what I do, she is highly uncertain about it. In this case, lack of familiarity causes her to believe something is more dangerous than it is.

Event, Annual Deaths and Lifetime Risk

Heart disease: 652,486:  (1 in 5)

Fatalities to successful summits on Mt Everest: (1 in 20)

Car accidents: 44,757:  (1 in 84)

Conversely, being highly familiar with something skews your perception of risk in the other direction.

You can eat a fat laden – deep fried meal and talk on your cell phone while you drive in bumper to bumper traffic without a worry in the world. Because these are all highly familiar things and lots of people do them, you don’t perceive the risk.  Yet the statistics above tell a very different story.

One of the biggest problems with risk management is the illusion it creates that circumstances are less dangerous than they really are once you are familiar with those dangers.  That’s exactly what happened on Everest in 1996. The seasons prior to ’96 were relatively benign in terms of conditions, with numerous teams putting dozens of climbers on the summit. This created and reinforced a belief that the mountain was not as dangerous as it really was. The climbers’ brains suffered from the belief that because the previous years on Everest were not unusually dangerous that 1996 wouldn’t be any different. Conditions in 1996 turned out to be the worst in a decade or more.  In this case, familiarity caused the climbers to believe that something was less dangerous than it really was.

The Greatest Explorers Embrace Risk!

 Lawrence Gonzales, the author of Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why says; “When confronted with a life-threatening situation, 90% of people freeze or panic.” To many explorers who operate in low tolerance environments, to freeze or panic would invite injury or death and almost certainly guarantee failure.

So the hallmark of the greatest explorers in history may not be stamina, strength or even intelligence, but the ability to use the neocortex (the brains’ thinking part) to override the primitive amygdala (fear driven) portion of the brain. And in doing so, the greatest explorers have a clear picture of how to embrace risk and make decisions accordingly.

Explorers are not averse to uncertainty.  They have an uncanny way of simultaneously neither over nor under estimating the degree of danger regardless of their familiarity with the circumstances.

Are You Holding Back?

Which leads me to an important question: Are you holding back because of a fear of risk?

Does the fear of uncertainty keep you stuck where you are because you don’t know how to get to where you want to go? How can you take that first step to get the purpose and passion driven life you want and deserve? Embrace risk.

How can you break the fear shackle and learn to embrace risk?

Do your homework and make sure that fear of risk hasn’t skewed your perception of the real dangers – neither over nor underestimating them.

Learn to work with uncertainty through getting support. Fortunately, there is a lot of help out there.

Find people who have done what you want to do and ask them to mentor you. You can mentor in a number of ways: subscribe to their information however they deliver it, see if they have a product or course that would help you achieve your goals or meet them in person. Mikael’s blog is a fantastic place to start.

Create a mastermind of like minded people you can share your journey with, bounce ideas off, and get feedback and support from. Ideally, these people will be on the same journey but not always. The most important thing is that your mastermind group offers perspective and support and help you create action.

Go now and find your purpose today; embrace risk and take immediate action to build a life where you can live your passion!

If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.

– Bruce Lee, martial arts legend

Carin and Ridlon Kiphart, risktakers!

Sharkman and his wife Mantagirl are The Adventure Couple and are world explorers, authors, keynote speakers and filmmakers on a quest to help you live a more exciting and fulfilling life through adventure and exploration. Learn how by reading The Live Adventurously Manifesto.  They are members of the prestigious Explorers Club and have a weakness for dark chocolate.


  1. Great article, a new and unusual perspective which brings new thoughts into play! It plays togehter with intuition in constrant to strict and rigorous logical thinking, where the first and risk willingness can bring advancements and unexpected results, the strictly logic, will often only be able to build on what is already know, and follow paths already laid out! Thumbs up for this article…. READ IT! David Udborg, The Adventurers Society

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