It’s no surprise that I love taking risks. I mean, look at my track record… I moved to California without a plan, I quit my 9-5 job without a plan, and I bought a dog without a plan. I get a rush out of the unknown and a surge of energy when I step out of my comfort zone.
This week I was talking with my hairdresser, Lori, and she told me about her 45-year-old friend who picked up and left town to move to San Francisco. She had reached a point where she knew she was not going to have kids and she needed a life change. Lori told me that she had never seen her friend so happy. She was literally glowing the last time they ran into each other and had lost 19 pounds.
THAT is the power of taking more risks.
So how did I become so obsessed with risk taking? Like any other skill, I practiced.
But, I wasn’t always this way. I used to care so much of what people thought of me that I would just stay quiet and never strive for anything out of the ordinary. But, once I began exercising the art of taking more risks, it became easier and easier.
I started off simple. I would walk up to a cute guy in the bar and ask how he was doing. The next thing I knew, I had a flight booked to Greece for a two-month backpacking trip across Europe. The more you practice being uncomfortable, the better you get at it. After a while, failure doesn’t seem so scary.
Great achievements involve great risk.
Most of the worry and anxiety we have is completely made up anyway. We get so worked up over what could happen that we talk ourselves out of moving away from our hometowns or quitting that job we hate. Our imaginations can run wild and create horrible scenarios that, most of the time, will never happen. Learning not to overthink and just DO is the key.
When I was younger, I was terrified of heights. At summer camp, I would avoid the ropes course like the plague. One time during a class trip, I even got stuck on the “leap of faith” pole because I was completely paralyzed with fear. The longer I was up on that pole, the more afraid I felt. My thoughts were getting the best of me.
Since I started to practice taking more risks, I have been hang gliding in the Swiss Alps and I’ve done more zip lines than I can count on one hand. Sometimes you just have to leap without thinking. I always tell people to act now and apologize later. If you wait too long to take action, it will never happen.
So, whatever risk you’re thinking of taking, go after it. You may never get this chance again and the worst thing that could happen is you spend the rest of your life with regret. If I still haven’t convinced you, take a look at this study that proves people who take risks are smarter than those who don’t.