Risks in our lives are all around us. But at the same time, it’s difficult for us to quantify what it means when someone tells us to take more risks in our lives.
Does that mean dropping everything right now and pursuing a different career?
Or maybe it’s challenging ourselves to develop a habit that we’ve been putting on the back burner for a long time.
For me, I see risks in all manner of ways. It’s a risk to make small changes in our lives just as much as it is to make large and dramatic changes in our lives as well. Risk is still risk.
Regardless, we need to occasionally make that leap. Not only does it make us uncomfortable (depending on what you’re doing) but there are other reasons for us to take risks in our lives.
It Gets You Noticed
I love Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Less Travelled By” as it encourages us to take risks in its own way. While people take the easy route in life, the truth is that we instinctively take that route anyway.
We have a bias to stick with what’s comfortable in our lives. As such we’ll follow the most popular route that many others have taken in the past.
To go against it is seen as crazy.
But we often forget about the fact that with it comes attention. We see this time and again where someone goes out and does something different and we start to take notice of it.
It doesn’t have to be anything over the top, but the fact remains we still noticed it. It’s different.
Of course, this can work in either positive or negative ways. Whatever happens to you when you take that leap people will remember what to do or what not to do should they follow in your footsteps.
So no pressure.
It Brings Vigour And Purpose In Your Life
Big or small, taking that leap can give you the vigour to succeed. There is a sense of satisfaction in sticking to tried and true methods, but taking one or many risks brings a thrill that some of us get addicted to.
Your body gets a rush of adrenaline and that alone can give us deeper reasons and energy to ensure we succeed.
All of this reminds me of the concept of having a why when setting a goal. The idea is to have a deep-rooted reason for doing something. In other words a purpose.
When we take risks, it reinvigorates that purpose and brings us back to our true selves. Where we are fixated on growing and improving ourselves.
And remember, you don’t need to make massive changes in your life to tap into this. This can come from doing something small like setting a big long-term goal to work away at little by little. Or maybe developing a new habit.
Risks Create Higher Standards
I mentioned in my uncomfortable piece that the world today demands us to be uncomfortable more and more as time goes on. This same idea is along the same lines as taking risks.
These days we need to be taking more and more risks.
Because the more we stretch our limits, the more that our desires grow. That’s not to say we all need to strive to be multi-millionaires or anything, but the more that we take risks the more that we realize that we’re not satisfied with our current standings.
There is always something else that we can do to reach new heights and achieve larger success or fulfilment. In order to uncover that, we need to be taking those risks and stepping out of the comfort zone we established.
Risks Teach Us About Ourselves
Another way to look at risk is to see it as an expression of our own ideas. As a result, by taking those leaps we learn about ourselves. This knowledge is helpful because it teaches us where our limits are and what we think we are capable of.
This is key because as much as we like to think we have no limits, there are always some ways we hold ourselves back. For example, we may need to hire someone to do a certain task in our business. We need to because we don’t have the time or enough manpower to get it done ourselves.
Recognizing those things helps us to gauge ourselves.
Going back to that example above, if we recognize we need to hire someone, we may uncover biases towards hiring. Or maybe that we have no clue how to hire people properly. This encourages us to do research and to explore why we think a certain way.
I can relate to this advice as well through my own experience running my writing business. When I first decided to run a writing business I spent the first two years learning about myself. I was taking a risk that I could successfully operate a business on my own.
Through those two years, I learned how to write better over time. I learned about how to have a stronger work ethic, what type of people I work well with too.
A lot of my growth and my own identity stems from me taking that risk. I dropped everything and started this business.
Risks Bring More Opportunities
Of course, risk has a lot of negativity around it. That’s to be expected because risk is still risk. You can fail and your efforts can backfire. Whenever we avoid it, part of the reason is likely to worry due to the potential of failure.
However, that’s not a reason to never take them. Sometimes they pay off in a big way. Take Sandra Peterson who reframed risk to see it as a way to bring new opportunities. Because of that thinking, she built a $10 billion dollar business:
“Most women I know who have been successful in business, it’s because they’ve been willing to take on the risky challenge that other people would say, “Oh, I’m not sure I want to do that.” If you look at my career, I’ve taken on a lot of risky roles. They were risky to some people but to me it was, “Wow, this is this great opportunity and it’s allowing me to learn new things and take on a bigger role and a bigger organization.” But some people would view that as, “Are you crazy? What do you know about diabetes, or what do you know about washing machines or the food industry or automobiles or the agricultural industry?”
The world needs more people who think like Sandra Peterson because we have no idea what our actions will do.
When we take leaps of faith into things we know nothing about things begin to change.
I can tie this back into my own writing career. Because of my general openness, I’ve gotten to write on a wide variety of topics. This has lead me to work with more people and thus expanding my business. For sure some of the topics can be duds, but I wouldn’t know until I got into it.
Again that’s one of the rubs to taking risks in the first place.
But if I stuck to the topics that I know I’m familiar with, I wouldn’t have met one of my long-time clients. The fact I have this client is one of the main reasons I’ve been able to move out into the apartment I live in now.
Risks Help You Overcome Fear Of Failure
Another reason we avoid taking leaps is that we have a deep fear of failure. But every single time we jump out into the unknown, the easier for us to get comfortable with that idea. Fear of failure is one of the many reasons we don’t strive for success.
By taking those leaps we come to realize that these failures that are part of taking risk aren’t the end, but rather the beginning.
This is what I remind myself every time whenever I pursue areas in my life where I’ve gone back on certain things. Examples are my Youtube channel and even with my pursuit of losing weight. Even though I’ve stopped working on those goals time and again that doesn’t change the fact I still want to try them out.
Take The Leap
Getting out of our comfort zone and taking little risks will spark a series of events. More often than not these leaps create a domino effect that can lead to grand things. While there are definitely chances of failure, I’d argue that that’s not a real loss.
You will always gain more knowledge to grow further and recognize what to do next. Each failure gives us new directions and new growths give us new directions too. Even if we embarrass ourselves or we fail, we still gain.
And even if you don’t see it that way the number of benefits we get from taking those leaps out weight the emotions and the consequences that stem from failure. It is smarter for us to take those leaps rather than to stay by the shores of life and merely exist and coast.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon