Is Taking Risks In Life Necessary?
Updated: Dec 6, 2021
We can agree to disagree on this one... I would rather you experiment with me before disagreeing but at least just hear me out first.
I want you to think back to the last time you felt you took a risk.
Did you fail or did you succeed?
Either is okay but the important part is that you took the risk.
How would your life be different right now in this very moment if you had not taken that risk?
Reflect here for a moment on this.
In this last year of my life I have experienced big growth. Actually my whole entire six & a half years of living in Edwardsville [a happy distance from home not too close + not too far] has been filled with growth but nothing this far in my life has compared to this past year... I am sure this is the same for more people than not, considering 2020 was quite a bat shit crazy year. Sink or swim, am I right? Sometimes our growth is not noticeable until much later, other times the realization that we are growing smacks us in our face whether we are ready or not. However, the most profound growth is the growth we choose to push ourselves into on purpose, knowing ahead of time we are taking a risk but that the reward is much greater than the pain we might suffer from taking the jump.
Taking risks has been on my mind this entire past year but very much so this last week while I have been challenging myself to dive into something new & completely out of my comfort zone. To some this may seem silly but to others I know you'll understand the feeling... I went skiing for the first time ever. Imagine this, putting the most control loving, OCD individual on top of a mountain, on slippery skis & say GO! Yup, it is me, surprise, I am that controlling person who suddenly had to sink [fall] or swim [ski] in what felt like a very uncontrolled situation. Hindsight, I now feel, just after several days of practice, that I am mostly in control when skiing, well at least on an easy route. BUT it took me feeling uncomfortable & very out of control to learn to trust myself, trust the process & my instructors, to then grow into a position of control & achievement.
All I kept thinking, while I was learning to adjust my movements on skis, was how I have always had trust in my instincts. I have learned to pivot when taking risks in other areas of life & I have paved a path of mostly good things from doing so. There was no way for me to be perfect at something new but I knew if I gave it my best efforts I would only *[get thudded] a few tries, out of the many, instead of every single time I attempted a down hill run. I kept telling myself you are strong, God gave you this strong body use it to help you do this amazing privileged thing, you are not going to fall, you are going to glide gracefully down the mountain, lean left turn right, lean right turn left, breathe... I kid you not these words came out of my mouth every time I went down a slope whether it was a bunny hill or a green route. Guess what? It worked; by my last day of skiing I made a goal to not fall at all that day. Guess what? I did not fall once on my last day in the mountains. My mindset helped me physically reach my goal.
Long story short, these are things I have reflected on in the more recent years of my life, specifically on my mental & physical patterns. These are things I strive to teach to my clients. In the past, risk taking was not something I was particularly interested in. I was a play it safe kind of woman, you can't get hurt if you don't travel off of the paved path, right? Wrong. Unfortunate things will happen in your lifetime regardless of if you choose the risky path or the safe path. Please do not get this confused with the term reckless. We are talking about doing things that scare you but that you know will 100% promote growth if you try them. Otherwise, if you don't try some scary things, you will most likely have regrets looking back.
My hard decisions in 2020 [Keep in mind "hard" is relative to each individuals current place in their chapter of life] included: starting a relationship with a man [after two full years of fun independence] who travels frequently & works a high-risk job + quitting my job[s] to start my own business. My world was turned upside down & back upright in a year. This process of change made me feel things I have never felt before- anxiety, confusion, distance from some of my favorite people mentally, physically & emotionally etc. This process of risk & growth was happening subconsciously before I even realized that I was finally taking steps onto a path I had always envisioned but continued to push away. I suddenly woke up one day & realized that I was having growing pains... I know what you are thinking "LIV I don't think you've grown since high school, you still seem short as they come." I KNOW, thanks for reminding me!! I am still staying strong + mighty at 5 foot tall I will have you know. No no no...These growing pains were mental & emotional growing pains & I am thankful for them.
You see taking risks does not have to mean making big dramatic decisions, although, we will all encounter those by choice or not in life. Taking risks can be big or small, it can be a calculated risk or a random risk, as long as you are ready to jump & either find failure or jump & find success, you will GROW BY LEAPS & BOUNDS!
*Get Thudded v. hit a surface hard & with an extreme lack of grace
Getting thudded on a snowy mountain is not fun. Compare this to failing at things in life. If you know it hurts, how will you train yourself to become better so it starts to happen less until eventually you learn to never fall/fail in that same way again?
Take this advice & relate it to your specific life situations. Find the necessity in taking risks & embrace the outcome. Learn sooner rather than later that the more you go at your goals confidently, even knowing the outcome may not be what you want the first few times, it will get you closer to where you want to be or what you want to accomplish. So go on, explore, test your limits you believe you have & see how you can level up.