“Cowardly lovers never make history.” Silvio Rodriguez
Living life in a risk averse state is like driving a car with the emergency break on. Yes you can drive the vehicle but there is always something preventing you from going full speed ahead and allowing the car do what it was made to do. Playing it safe always is like living life in mediocrity and never fully exploiting your potential.
In finance, a risk averse investor is reluctant to make an investment unless there is certainty in the payoff. But what any investor worth her gold will tell you is that there is always a risk, even if it's small.
Being a risk taker is imperative for your personal and professional growth. If you constantly find yourself playing it safe you know you're not really winning. You know that you're letting opportunities pass you by. Being afraid to take risks—in love and life-- is unnatural because we were born with intuitive intelligence to assess real danger. We innately know the perils that lie ahead. We become paralyzed with an inability to take leaps because we have covered that knowing with layers of fear—fear of the unknown, fear of failing, fear to be embarrassed, fear that we will be rejected, fear that we will not be able to do it well, and for many, fear to succeed. Insert your fear here…
Yet, for continued growth and expansion, you have to go outside that comfy zone that you've woven around your heart and life. Take a chance on being a little sore. Of failing. Yes, a little pain may be involved when you go for it.
Take exercising as an example. During a hard workout muscles break down followed the next day by soreness then restoration, which is why most trainers encourage you to take a break between workouts. Letting your muscles breakdown and repair is the process that allows them to strengthen and grow, And so it is with you--in taking risks you may or may not feel the pain of your decision immediately, but nevertheless, you will be guaranteed to come out a winner, to be stronger and more resilient. And even, more muscular.
The reward to taking chances without guarantees–in love, on a new experience, on a new friend–are countless. If you never take risks you lose out on all the goodness that life has in store for you.
Here are three practices that will help you if you living are living a risk averse life:
- Stop the negativity: When faced with a decision that requires risk, your mind floods not with all the great things that can happen but with all the potential negatives. For every negative outcome, replace it with a positive outcome. Match it pound for pound. With practice the positives will outweigh. A lot of what you may discover in the process is that it’s imagined risk. And that is the one that keeps you from living, if not flying.
- Be open to failure: We live in a society where failing is equivalent to bad. But so much good can come from mistakes. Just like you work out the kinks of a product by discovering where it doesn’t work, so too in life. Perfection comes with trial, error, and trial again. Be open to failing, and make the most of your mistakes, not lament them.
- Think creatively, there is no box: Forget about thinking outside the box--there is no box, only limitless potential. Don’t box yourself out of opportunities by even creating a box around your life. You’ve meticulously created a comfy zone around you to feel safe. And that is good. But there is a life outside the sandbox that you are playing in. Try walking over and discovering new friends, experiences that are in other sandboxes.