Before we dive straight into the importance of taking risks, let’s define what it means to take a risk Legacy Means Everything style.
Taking a risk: jumping into an endeavour
recklessly, with no idea of how many bones you may break or where you may break them but you do it anyway because you recognise the risk is important for achieving your goals and living a life of contentment.
Someone tell Google to add the above to their dictionary.
I bet you can feel your funny bone (what’s a funny bone again?) after you felt yourself break a bone mentally after reading that definition.
Boohoo. Yeah it hurts, I know.
Well it’s this very feeling which has caused most people to not take risks to improve their lives. They believe their bones will never mend themselves if they slipped and broke a bone. This could be no further from the truth.
This kind of thinking is crazy especially when you consider the great minds of our past and present who hit the rock bottom after taking, what some would say, ‘foolish’ and ‘insane’ risks but made it out alive and changed their lives and other people’s lives forever.
This obviously proves that taking risks is good, very good. In all honesty, what do you have to lose, I don’t understand why people sell themselves short just because a little synapse in their brain, which was randomly produced, made them fear what may never ever occur.
It’s as if people have nightmares while they’re awake during the day and believe it to be real life – it’s scarily illogical.
Let explore why you should never be afraid to take risks.
The world isn’t going to end when you take a risk
Confronting the worst-case scenario saps it of much of its anxiety-inducing power. Happiness reached via positive thinking can be fleeting and brittle, negative visualisation generates a vastly more dependable calm. – Oliver Burkeman
How many times have you thought of the worst-case scenario and you started shaking in places you never thought could shake; you then gave into to your body reacting to an imaginary fight-or-flight situation and then ruined a verbal presentation you spent weeks preparing for?
You see, we don’t always have to listen to our bodies – the majority of the time it likes to pretend it’s the end of the world.
What I find really strange is that generally, people show little concern for problems that actually warrant fear, such as genuine health issues, which have a chance of causing death, would be too scared to follow their passions in a world which has reduced the risk of pursuing most endeavours significantly.
The chance of death for following most passion is (let me take a wild stab at this)… erm, probably, less than 1% – well, there’s a risk!
In simple terms, you probably aren’t going to die for starting that business you’ve been dreaming of for ages, or going to your lecturer to ask for help the day before your assignment deadline.
The worst that can happen is that you fail, unless you somehow get caught up in a World War III (which isn’t going to happen anytime soon if it does happen).
Guess what? Failure is GOOD if you handle the life enabler or life destroyer carefully.
When you fail always remember that failure is medicine to cure a severe acquired illness called fear. It helps to make clear that the worst thing that can happen isn’t actually that bad in 99% of situations.
If you have an idea or a passion just start working on it right now and don’t wait for the perfect opportunity because it doesn’t exist.
Don’t allow worry to stop you from doing what you know you need to do, otherwise, this worry will turn to regret soon enough – no-one can escape this.
Not taking risks is actually the riskiest thing you could ever do
…maybe sometimes it’s riskier not to take a risk. Sometimes all you’re guaranteeing is that things will stay the same. – Danny Wallace
There was a time I couldn’t do one pullup. I had no hand grip and my back muscles were weak and useless. The only pullup bar I had access to was one located in a crowded gym.
As a person who takes pride in doing things well I felt embarrassed while struggling on a pullup bar so I substituted the exercise for something which I knew wasn’t as effective for developing my upper back strength and size.
I was about to give up on doing pullups because, well, hardly anyone at the gym did pullups and to me it felt excessively strenuous and unnecessary since I could settle for a lesser exercise.
I also believed in the myth that discouraged me from pushing myself at the gym and made me think I had to take it take it easy on my body because I was a teen – I still remember the school textbook I read this in because it was so wrong.
The long and the short of it is, I didn’t want to risk failure. I wanted to stay in my comfort zone to avoid the shame of failure; it wasn’t even the opinions of other people I was worried about, it was letting myself down that was problem.
I didn’t quite understand that setbacks are a necessary component for success. I didn’t have enough life experience to fully appreciate this this fact.
Then as my knowledge regarding human health and fitness grew, while I read everything I could get my hands on about the importance of exercise, I quickly realised that pullups were an important strategy for developing back stability and add incredible muscle mass to my frame.
I also learnt that they could help to save my life if I happened to slip off a cliff somehow (I believe this is quite common – after seeing foolish videos about daredevils on social media), and needed upper body strength to pull myself to safety. I know this may appear to be a weird motivation, but you never know.
After this realisation, I bought a pull up bar to use at home, much to the amazement of my mother (she believes I’ve gone too far with my gym training over the years), to supplement my training at the gym.
I used a comprehensive programme that kept me accountable (you can find the programme here; here’s one for pushups as well – disclaimer: these aren’t for the faint-hearted). I worked on building my upper back strength early in the morning.
The delayed onset muscle soreness after my workouts wasn’t a nice feeling – I could barely concentrate at college on some days because any slight movement was painful.
But overtime I got stronger and stronger and my body transformed permanently. Now I know I’ll be virtually immune to many injuries caused by weakness and bad posture in the future. As a bonus, I can pretend to be a superhero from the comics, not just in mind but in body as well.
The story may not be over dramatic, or is commonly heard of, but I’m sure you’ve gathered that not taking risks is riskier than not taking risks at all. It may be costly in the long run and you won’t reap the benefits of the inevitable success if you stay in the trenches long enough.
Not starting that business because you prefer the ‘safety’ of a salaried job could cost you dearly when a devastating recession comes around. Go out there and take a risk on the side by working on that great business idea you have.
Not learning a martial art because of the pain you’ll have to go through could cost dearly if someday a lunatic decides to size you up and you’re defenceless and vulnerable. Go out there and attend self-defence classes.
Follow your passions and pursue things that will give you meaning, purpose and real security in life because not doing this will open you up to a greater risk of experiencing unfavourable outcomes.
Following your passions and your own convictions reduces risk of unfavourable things happening to you financially, mentally, emotionally and in your relationships with others.
Also, if you don’t take risks, your problems will remain whether you want to accept the problems or not.
You can’t rely on fleeting feelings to decide whether you take a risk
Don’t make a permanent decision for your temporary emotion. – Unknown
One thing I like about myself is that I look at things objectively more often than not and I avoid the mental gymnastics of allowing emotions to lead my life. I look at the big picture and always ask what’s the worst that can happen in any given situation. I analyse it, then shrug my shoulders and just go for it.
Now, don’t get me wrong I’m not saying you shouldn’t apply some caution but I believe the go all out without regret to apply caution ratio should be 9 to 1.
There’s no point in being overly cautious because it just overcomplicates things. This overcautiousness stems from assuming you know exactly what’s going happen and this assumption is usually governed by fear because your brain just wants you to be safe and not take any risks at all.
Well, tell your brain it knows nothing and that real life tells you that if you have a dream and work hard enough at it, it will almost certainly become a reality.
You have to show your brain the evidence that it can trust you and once you have your brain on your side you’ll eliminate fear (I’m not saying convincing your brain is easy).
This is why it’s important to expose your mind to positive messages regularly and read success stories and even failure stories to learn valuable lessons that will convince you and your brain that you have nothing to lose.
Look at all the people who took crazy risks and changed the world. We’re all capable of this and I’m just getting started with my current focus on personal development and trying new things (e.g. this website and an online fitness coaching service I’m currently working on).
Don’t be scared to take risks. You have the ability and you know this deep down, nobody needs to tell you this. We’re all buried alone and we live life only through our own lens so you’re in control of your life outcomes.
If you don’t take risks you can’t adjust your environment to what you want to see.
This inaction just leads to complaining, moaning and whining which we see from the majority of people. The treatment for these truly severe symptoms is to take risks, a lot of risks.
If you live by inconsistent and fleeting feelings, you won’t get anyway and you’ll always find an excuse not to do something.
If you live by objective standards, you’ll find consistency in your actions and won’t worry about risks, because you’ll see risks for what they really are – OPPORTUNITIES FOR SUCCESS. You’ll be positive, become resilient and won’t worry about baseless opinions from others.
How much time do you really have left. Spend 100% of your time taking action and 0% of your time worrying about outcomes that haven’t even materialised or most likely will never come to pass.
Taking risks is a prerequisite for success
If there is no risk, there is no reward. – Christy Raedeke
The greater the risk taken. the greater the reward. If you don’t take any risks you can’t progress in life or receive what you desire.
You can’t just wake up one day and have what you want, the truth is that you have to take risks, you have to put yourself out there, get wounded then recover, make better armour and put yourself back out there and keep moving forward towards your destination.
Once you’ve completed the journey then you’ll find the satisfaction you’ve been looking for and leave the mark on the world and people you’ve always wanted to.
An abundance of knowledge is available to help you
Knowledge is power? No. Knowledge on its own is nothing, but the application of useful knowledge, now that is powerful. – Rob Liano
Many people don’t take risks because they’re so concerned about how they’re going to do things to achieve their goals.
Fortunately, this shouldn’t even be a concern because countless wise people have come before asking the same questions you have asked and have found the answers to these questions.
They have given advice for avoiding common mistakes, to ensure our lives are as smooth as possible, and have given ideas about how we can each contribute to make the world a better place. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
This information is everywhere: books, blogs, videos and wise people who are alive today. A lot of us have access to these, yet many have not taken advantage of them so of course these people are going to feel stuck and be scared of taking risks.
They have isolated themselves away from extremely useful advice in preference for watching cat, teddy bear, celebrity gossip or unverified conspiracy videos and then complain that life is so unfair when in fact they’ve stacked the odds against themselves by not applying themselves to useful knowledge.
You can get ahead of most people by just reading self-development blogs or books in your free time. If you’re going to procrastinate, read a blog on your passions and get tips to get started on your version of leaving a great legacy.
You really have no excuse; priceless help is literally at our fingertips.
Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Take that risk you’ve always wanted to take, you really have nothing to lose.
Obviously don’t take many risks that are extremely likely to kill you. Don’t worry, most of us aren’t going to take such risks in the domain of following passions. I’m sure for most of you, your passions aren’t death wishes.
Go out there and take risks and don’t let anyone or anything stop you.
What risks have you taken and how did you feel about the results? Comment below.
If this post resonates with you why don’t you share it. Maybe the outlook of this message will inspire someone else to start living the life they were born to live.
Image credit: Risk Taking / Michael Coghlan / Flickr