The Dignity of Risk

Pioneer mental health advocate Pat Deegan talked about “the dignity of risk and the right to fail.”

I want to talk first in this blog entry about the Dignity of Risk. In the coming blog entry I’ll talk about the Right to Fail.

Too often peers could be afraid to take risks. Mental health staff could have a poor impression of what a person is capable of doing. This could rub off on their patients.

As well family members might abandon their loved ones. It can be harder to take risks when there’s no one in your corner cheering you on.

The boxing match between you and your illness could be ferocious enough on its own. Thus the thought of tackling a grand goal can seem out of reach.

These factors add up to learned helplessness: the thought that it’s not worth trying to risk doing something so why bother.

Dare–I tell readers–dare!

To quote Michael Jordan:

Don’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try.

This guiding motto is inscribed on a metal paperweight on my desk.

Too I have this quote magnet guiding me:

Proceed as if success is inevitable.

Only sometimes your best-intentioned plans go awry.

I will talk about having the Right to Fail in the coming blog entry.

After this I will give a pep talk about risking finding a job.

Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and athlete.

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