Life is a series of calculated risks – nothing more. Everything that you decide to do has a margin of risk. No outcome is ever 100 percent certain and, therefore, any attempt at anything has a chance of complete failure. We risk everything, every day of our lives without knowing it. There is always a chance that walking outside will kill us.
The life you live depends on the choices you make, the risks you take, and how lucky or unlucky you’ve been. Depending on how lucky you feel you’ll most certainly want to avoid certain risks – like walking across a highway with a blindfold.
There are, likewise, risks that everyone should take in life. Why? Because they are almost always necessary ingredients in the recipe that is happiness. Here are 15:
1. Risk taking the road less traveled. The road less traveled is a scary road to take. It hasn’t been worn in by previous footsteps, so getting lost is a cinch. The brush has never been trimmed or tended to, so you’re likely to get caught on a branch and stuck in places for a while. The roads less traveled haven’t yet been mapped out and, therefore, the only thing you really have to go on in hopes of reaching your destination is your intelligence, your logic, perseverance, and a bit of luck. However, the road less traveled has much richer plunders. You risk never getting there, but once you do, it’s well worth your trouble.
2. Risk getting turned down. That girl at the bar, any girl at the bar, might turn you down. The same goes for whenever you are asking anything of anyone. More often than not, we get turned down not because of us, but because of the individual that is rejecting our request. It doesn’t matter whether you are trying to get someone’s number or asking them to pass you a napkin – you’ll always meet that jerk who will refuse to even pay you any attention. Because we hate being rejected – our damn egos at it again – we often fail to even ask. If you don’t ask then you won’t be answered. If you don’t ask then you’re basically still getting answered no, but you yourself are moving any chance of receiving a yes.
3. Risk not getting the job. We won’t always be the best qualified. We won’t always be the smartest, brightest or best fit for the job. And there will also be times when we are best suited for the position and we still get turned down. That’s simply the way life is, but you still need to put yourself on the line and risk being turned down for your dream position. Often times, people get hired simply because they seem hungry and seem like they’ll get along very well with the rest of the team. Experience isn’t always the determining factor. Risking not getting the job is the same as risking actually landing it.
4. Risk failing. Failing is both the worst and best thing that can happen to you. When you don’t fail, you succeed. When you do fail, you succeed at figuring out another way of not doing it – it just doesn’t feel quite as good. We too often allow our emotions to get in the way of logic. If you don’t risk failing, then you can’t succeed. Success requires risking failure – that is true 100 percent of the time.
5. Risk putting it all on the line. If we do things right, there will be a time in our lives that we will have to decide whether or not we want to put it all on the line and roll the dice. My suggestion is to do so and to do so earlier on in life. The later you risk losing everything, the more difficult it will be to bounce back. The biggest rewards often require the largest risks. Just be smart about it and make sure you know exactly what you are risking and exactly what you would be getting as a reward.
6. Risk missing out in order to achieve something greater. FOMO among Generation-Yers is real. We don’t want to miss out on parties, get-togethers, chill sessions, festivals, concerts, nights out on the town. We’re afraid that staying in and getting some rest will make us miss out on something huge – life changing. Think about this: You’ve been making sure that you haven’t missed out on anything for years, how many of those experiences actually made a positive change in your life?
7. Risk that person not saying “I love you too.” No one wants to be the first one to say “I love you.” I get it – not hearing “I love you” back can suck. But imagine how great it will feel if that person does love you back. He or she is most likely worrying about the same thing waiting for you to make a move. And if that person doesn’t love you back, then at least you know where things really stand and can disillusion yourself.
8. Risk making a mistake. Mistakes need to be made if you want to succeed in life – it’s how we learn. If you’re not making mistakes then you’re not trying enough things. In other words, you’re not living enough. Risk making those mistakes because they are the things that make our lives interesting enough to read about.
9. Risk losing friendships. Friendships can be great, but they can also be very restrictive. Following our dreams usually involves quite a bit of solitude. Friendships make it very difficult to take the time that you need to get the work done that needs to get done. In my opinion, true friends should support you and your dreams no matter what. They should understand that you may have to distance yourself a bit more and then work together to keep the friendship alive – even if you don’t see each other half as much.
10. Risk not being good enough. There’s always a chance that you won’t be good enough. But again, isn’t that something that you’d like to know? The fact is that you’re either good enough or not good enough. Often, when we think we are good enough, we actually aren’t. This is important information to have because it informs you how much more work you need to put in before you can succeed. But you will never know if you’re good enough if you don’t risk not being good enough.
11. Risk launching too early. We too often wait until we perfect our product – regardless of whether it’s a physical device or service or our very selves – before we put it on the market. The truth is that no one comes out with the perfect product or service the first time around. In fact, the perfect anything depends on the feedback that you receive from others. This feedback only comes after several iterations of testing. If you wait too long to launch then you are missing out on critical learning.
12. Risk putting yourself out there and being judged. We hate being judged regardless of the fact that we do it all the time and that we are being judged all the time. Everyone always judges – it’s what we humans do. Put yourself out there and be judged. Since you’re not selling yourself to everyone – most people won’t be a significant part of your life – most of their opinions don’t really matter anyway.
13. Risk admitting that you don’t know. Not knowing is not something to be embarrassed about. There is a very fine line between knowing and not knowing. For example, one second I will know absolutely nothing about a topic and then two minutes later, after someone explains something to me, I instantly know something new. It’s crazy. And it only took a few minutes and not seconds. Knowledge is the easiest thing to accumulate, but only if you ask questions and risk admitting your lack of knowledge.
14. Risk opening up and being vulnerable. When it comes to relationships, opening up and revealing your full, true self is necessary. It’s a requirement of love I’m afraid. If you don’t open yourself up and make yourself vulnerable then your partner will never see the real you and therefore will never be able to love you for the real you. You have to risk it all to have it all. You have to risk giving yourself fully to the person whom you love if you want to experience the deepest level of love possible.
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