Have you ever wondered why you seem to be stuck in life? Have you ever wondered why you are going nowhere fast? Have you ever wondered how the people you grew up with are much further along in life than you are? What are they doing that you are not doing? They are taking risks and so should you!
Why we do not take risks
This should come as no surprise to anyone reading this blog, I believe that there are at least three reasons why we do not take risks.
We do not take risks because they are scary, we do not take risks because of our fear of failure and we do not take risks because we fear embracement and ridicule.
Debunking the reasons we do not take risks
- They are scary. The only thing scarier than failing is not trying and living a life full of regret
- We fear failure. We often think failure is our identity in the world or it is either a lifelong (if not a terminal) condition. Failure is not who we are and it is not a lifelong/terminal condition – unless we allow it to be.
- We fear embarrassment and/or being ridiculed. People can laugh at you, mock you or even say hurtful things to you. Only you can allow those actions cause you to feel either embarrassed or ridiculed. Don’t give anyone that power over you!
If we want to get further in life and reach (if not surpass) our goals, we must ignore those reasons. We should stop looking for reasons why we shouldn’t take risks and start looking for reasons why we should take risks.
Why we should take risks
Here are a few reasons:
- We should take risks so we can try something new.
- We should take risks to challenge ourselves to grow.
- We should take risks to advance in our personal lives.
- We should take risks to advance in our professional careers.
- We should take risks to better ourselves.
Take only calculated risks.
There are a lot of challenges out there that will allow you to take a risk by trying.
- Applying for a job promotion.
- Asking someone out for a first date.
- Applying for a credit card or loan.
- Learning how to play the piano.
- Learning how to dance.
- Learning how to play football.
- Learning how to sky dive.
- This list of challenges can go on forever.
Which challenges should you take a risk and try?
I prefer to use this formula to carefully choose the right risk for me.
- Is it legal? I could take a risk of robbing a bank, stealing a car, or using illegal drugs, but if I am caught (which most people are sooner or later) I will have to do jail time, pay court fines. Lawyer bills and will own a criminal record for the rest of my life. The latter could limit my potential in my career. If it is not legal for me the risk is not worth my time.
- Can it lead to permanent bodily harm? For me sky diving, playing football or traveling through a crime infested part of town (or through a war zone) could cause permanent injury if not death. If the odds are high for me to be injured for the rest of my life, then the risks outweigh any possible benefit for me in the long run.
- Can it do permanent damage to me? Illegal drugs, for example, may not cause me lifelong physical injury to my body, however it could lead to brain damage and/or loss of everything important to me. That is a high risk – one that I would never take.
- How much can this risk cost me? Can it cost me more money that I can afford? Can it cost me my home? Can it cost me my family? If the answer is yes to any of those three questions, then this risk is not worth it to me.
When to go ahead and take that risk
After ensuring that the risk you are about to take will come with a price tag of a criminal record, permanent physical (or any other kind) of damage to yourself, or great financial/emotional loss, then there is one question to ask yourself. “What are the odds of the risk being successful?” For me, the odds must be greater than 51% for me to take the risk. However, if it is something I really want, something that can make my life better, something that an advance my career and help me obtain my goals, then the chances of success can be as low as 10% and I will give it a go.
Sometimes you got to throw the odds out the window!
Forget the odds. There are risks you MUST TAKE. If you have an addiction, you must take the risk and enter a recovery program. You have no choice. If the odds are against you, damm those odds and prove the odds makers wrong!
Be a Barry, not an Erica (It’s a Goldbergs’ reference)
Fans of the hit ABC TV series, The Goldbergs’ will understand it when I say, “Be a Barry, not an Erica”. This is in reference to an episode when Barry was willing to go perform at his high school with his JTP friends (even though they couldn’t rap or sing) and make a fool out of themselves, while Barry pointed out to Erica (who is very talented when it comes to music) that all she does is write songs and perform them in her bedroom.
Being a Barry is someone who goes out there and take risks. Barrys’ fall flat on their face and get back up and try again. While being an Erica is someone who plays it safe and never takes risks – subsequently never leaves the safety of their room.
I challenge you today to go out there and find a challenge. Make sure it is a good challenge that will improve you and your life, then take that risk – you might just surprise yourself at what you can accomplish!