The Risk Of Doing Nothing

The Overmountain Men were from settlements west of, or “over” the Appalachian Mountains. In the 1700’s, these mountains were the boundary dividing the thirteen American colonies and the western frontier. The Overmountain area included parts of North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee. At the start of the revolutionary war, the Overmountain Men were reluctant to fight for the Patriot cause.

In the fall of 1780, the American Colonies were losing their fight for independence. The British had shifted their campaign to the south, and handed the rebels their worst defeat at the Battle of Camden. Charleston and Savannah fell under British control.

But the British made a mistake when Major Ferguson threatened to bring his army across the Appilachian mountains. He threatened to “hang their leaders, and lay waste to the land with fire and sword” if they did not swear allegiance to the King.The Overmountain Men were fired up.

They decided to organize an attack against Major Ferguson. If he was going to threaten their families, they were going to take the fight to the enemy. Men gathered in Sycamore Shoals, Tennessee and rode to the Carolinas.

The battle between British troops and the Overmountain Men took place on October 7, 1780. The Overmountain Men used silence and stealth as they ascended the ridge of King’s Mountain. Surprising the British enemy, the battle lasted only an hour. Afterwards, over 200 British soldiers lay dead, including Major Ferguson. Another 160 were wounded with 700 prisoners taken.

We are all descendants of men and women of action. Our ancestors, like the Overmountain men, were Survivors, Fighters, Builders, Creators.

What is the risk of doing nothing?

Imagine how different the war would have been if the Overmountain men did not cover 300 plus miles across mountains and backcountry trails to get in the fight.

Imagine if they did not stand up for what they believe in – their families and their way of life.

Life and work are risky. But the greater risk is the risk of doing nothing. We all have the power to act. It might seem like you have no control over the outcomes you face. But we all can decide to fight for control. With small steps, you will be amazed at the ground you can cover, even over mountains.

Project and work risks do not vary much. Big risks are the people. Bigger risks are when the people do not act. The biggest risk is when you do nothing.

How can you take control of your work? Better yet, how can you take control of your life? It is worth the fight. You just have to decide that you can do your best. You just have to decide to avoid the risk of doing nothing.

Many centuries after the overmountain men, Winston Churchill reminded the British people of the risk of doing nothing. He made sure they took action in the fight against evil.

“. . . we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.” – Winston Churchill

Adversity and risk make life worth living. Take action. You will quickly learn what you are made of.

“No man is more unhappy than he who never faces adversity. For he is not permitted to prove himself.” – Seneca

When you are asked to assess the risk, remember the risk of doing nothing.

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