Friday, 5 June 2009

Risk (2)

Last Sunday I attended my third 'secular sermon' at the School of Life, in which the Sunday morning Mass slot is replaced with a 'preacher' of popular culture, and some surprise challenges to keep everyone awake at the back.

This week’s theme was 'risk', and the preacher was self proclaimed maverick and entrepreneur Luke Johnson. Johnson knows all about risks, having run everything from dental surgeries to Pizza Express, and now indeed Channel 4.

There was a slightly satanic feel to the process, mainly because there of the seven foot lycra-clad devil in the corner, or maybe it was the sight of a group of 200 Londoners singing the opening hymn, 'Ace of spades' by Motorhead.

Johnson urged us all to take risks whenever we had the opportunity. Unsurprisingly, we were then offered an early chance to apply this during the interval, where there was a 'surprise risk challenge'.

This turned out to be the ‘Communion’ of the sermon, where we were presented with a tray of ominous clear liquids which we were told were either brine or vodka. Being a little hungover (and after all, still a student), I thought some hair of the dog would be an excellent idea. I suspect I was in the minority who thought this way, but anyway I decided to go for it and take three shots of the stuff. For the record I was lucky enough to get two vodkas and only one of brine, and the rest of the morning passed by very happily.

It was fascinating to hear about the power of risk taking and its importance to human fulfilment. This is a message that can easily be forgotten in such a time of economic insecurity.

Johnson concluded by saying that we regret the things we don’t do rather than those we do, and psychology research tells us that in fact that is absolutely true.

The next School of Life sermon will be on the 28th June, with guest speaker Alice Rawsthorn on the importance and power of good design.


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