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Keven Moore on Insurance: Inherent risks
in turning 50 — and life lessons to match

To live life is to encounter risks and to turn 50 is to see the ice thinning. It is my job as a risk management professional to help my readers onto solid ground. (Photo from Microsoft)

To live life is to encounter risks, and to turn 50 is to see the ice thinning. It is my job, as a risk management professional, to help my readers onto solid ground. (Photo from Microsoft)

In the words of the famous poet formerly known as Prince: Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life. He then proceeds to warn us, ‘Cause in this life things are much harder than in the afterworld, in this life you’re on your own. Then, to hook us into the song: Let’s Go Crazy!


As I ponder my life after turning the “Big Five-O,” it occurred to me that as a reformed carefree risk-taker who now makes a living pointing out safety hazards and risk exposures, how ironic it all is considering my youthful indiscretions.


As a kid being raised in a broken home, living with a bit of a dysfunctional stepmother and an ultra-conservative father, it was very easy for me to gravitate to a life of risky and poor decisions while growing up in my working middle-class neighborhood.


Fortunately, I didn’t venture too far off course but many of my neighbors and friends from the ‘hood did take wrong turns along the way resulting in some pretty severe consequences.


In this world, it’s becoming much easier to blame others for the poor decisions you make, but I believe that we are all responsible for our own actions and that life is nothing more than an audition. Some learn from those life lessons and are destined to correct their course, eventually finding their way like I did.


One of the earliest memories I have as a boy was the time I rolled off the top bunk after endlessly trying to find comfort on a very hard mattress in our family camper while camping in Beach Bend Park in Bowling Green. After landing squarely on my forehead, crying and nursing a lump, I turned to my father and said, “It felt good going down, but it sure hurt when I landed.”


In a nutshell, that is life. We all learn lessons and discover that short-term fixes can sure hurt when we eventually land.


Most of us lucky enough to finally reach the “Big Five-O” are battered, bruised and sometimes afflicted with limps from those very lessons. But we did accumulate a wealth of knowledge along the way that allowed us to reach the backside of that hill, where now we are trying to find the brakes to slow down Father Time. We also try to share that knowledge with our offspring, but, like us, they too have to learn those same very hard lessons in life.


As a safety and risk management professional, I have always found it to be my duty to share such lessons so that people can go home safely at the end of the day. Along the way, I have learned to inject humor into that conversation or training, especially for that bored and sleepy construction worker; that is, if I am to expect him to listen to what I have to say.


I have gone through life thinking I didn’t have much of a passion outside University of Kentucky basketball and anything my kids were involved in. But, I did happen to have an untapped journalism major from UK and, coincidentally, my buddy Don McNay, an acclaimed best-selling author and local businessman, referred me to Judy Clabes, the editor and publisher of KyForward.com. It was then and there that I re-discovered my passion for writing.


In writing these weekly columns, I try to find relevant topics of interest that allow the reader to learn how to protect a loved one, increase awareness of an unsafe situation, and teach a little about safety and insurance to the common folks, all while sharing life lessons. I try to add a bit of personal experience and a few lessons in my own life, but also add a twist of humor and practical advice that teaches the reader something at the end of the day.


So this week instead of writing about any certain topic, I figured that I would share with you 50 of the life lessons I have learned along the way. Feel free to share:

1. Sometimes the weight of a protective shell on a turtle’s back may slow him down, but it’s better to have such a burden than to rely on the speed of a rabbit when being chased as a meal.
2. In the World of Safety you would never want to lock a fire exit, so why would you ever want to burn a bridge?
3. Some people see the glass as half full. Others see it as half empty, but a good risk manager only sees slip hazards and lacerations waiting to happen.
4. If life was fair, we’d all be rock stars and movie stars.
5. In the World of Safety, one man’s accident is another man’s survival lesson.
6. Never listen to your critics, they are simply potholes trying to break your ankles so that you don’t win the race.
7. If it’s worth it, then chase it … but, if you have to cross a minefield, learn how to fly.
8. The optimist sees the donut, the pessimist sees the hole and a good safety manager sees the fall hazard.
9. Never jump out of a perfectly good plane unless it’s on fire or if your boss is about to fire you.
10. Never look down on anybody unless you are helping them up because they are your safety lifelines.
11. Fear is the father of bravery but yet the mother of safety!
12. Friends are like nuggets of gold … they can help buy your way out of a difficult situation.
13. Second chances are deserved, but in the World of Safety they are never promised.
14. Have no regrets and never worry what others think, unless they sign your payroll check.
15. In the World of Safety, if you live in the moment, be sure to pay attention because it may be your last moment.
16. Remember electricity is harnessed lightning without the warning sounds of thunder.
17. Life is never fair and as soon as you learn to accept that, the quicker you can learn how to win without wild cards.
18. Gravity is a great teacher that punishes those who don’t remember past lessons.
19. In the real world in order to survive, we may have to form alliances with those who stink, but better to put up with an unpleasant odor than to lose.
20. They say weakness is pain leaving the body, but a good safety manager would argue that pain is the by-product of weak safety habits.
21. Skydiving gives you the sense of freedom, but just only for a couple of minutes if you are unlucky.
22. Turtles learn early in life that their protective shell is their greatest asset, which probably explains why tortoises live long lives.
23. In the World of Safety, old age represents really good safety habits or either really good luck.
24. Crocodiles hunt in the water because that is where you are the weakest, so remember to avoid areas of vulnerability.
25. If God wanted us to jump from planes, He would have sewed parachutes onto our backs and called it sky-sailing.
26. Failure is simply seeds to future success, but only if you learn to cultivate those life lessons.
27. Ladies, always plan your jump … because, if you don’t and happen to be wearing a skirt, then the whole world will see your underwear.
28. You don’t drown by falling into the lake, you drown if you never learn how to swim.
29. Your own personal instinct is Mother Nature’s way of keeping you alive, so listen to that inner voice when she speaks to you.
30. A true expert is one who has made more than his fair share of mistakes, but none too fatal.
31. Electricity only discriminates with fools.
32. Have you ever noticed that nobody blames gravity after an accident? Well, that’s because it never lies during the accident investigation.
33. In the World of Safety … stupidity sometimes rises to the top (i.e. Upper Management).
34. In life ladders can help you reach greater heights, but they still place warning labels on top of those ladders for those who don’t pay attention on the way up.
35. Rose bushes serve as proof to risk managers to always look beneath the beauty to find the thorns.
36. In the World of Safety, sometimes accidents are very predictable, especially when danger has become your friend.
37. The strategic board game Risk only teaches you how to conquer other continents, not how to avoid perils and losses.
38. Doomsday preppers may be able to eat, but they will be eating alone.
39. Gravity is the great equalizer, just ask the ladder.
40. In the game of real life, never count on the “free move” because they are only afforded to you in board games.
41. Sometimes in life co-workers will give you a free umbrella, but they will be the first to ask for it back when it begins to rain in the office.
42. In the World of Safety … showing off is the fool’s idea of glory.
43. Gravity inflicts pain without any emotion and he doesn’t care how you feel afterwards.
44. If you think the world isn’t fair, then never try skydiving.
45. Giving up doesn’t always indicate that you are weak, sometimes it means you were smart enough to let loose before it caused you any harm.
46. The emotion of “fear” will keep you alive longer, but it can also restrict your dreams. The trick is to achieve those dreams and stay alive.
47. In the World of Safety, if you assume that your employees already know something you will quickly discover otherwise.
48. No matter how many mistakes you make in life, you are still ahead of those who never had the gumption to try.
49. When a man kills a lion, they call it a sport; when a machine kills a man, they call OSHA on the other man.
50. In the World of Safety … if you are not prepared for the unexpected, you become memorialized as a life lesson.

Be safe, my friends.


Keven Moore is director of Risk Management Services for Roeding Insurance (www.roedinginsurance.com). He has a bachelor’s degree from University of Kentucky, a master’s from Eastern Kentucky University and 25-plus years of experience in the safety and insurance profession. He lives in Lexington with his family and works out of both the Lexington and Northern Kentucky offices. Keven can be reached at kmoore@roeding.com.


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