Risk is usually looked at with negative connotations. Your parents may have told you not to throw the ball in the house because of the risk that you might break something. You might have decided against a certain major in college because finding a job would have been too difficult. Traveling outside of your home country might seem risky because you think it is too dangerous.
Risk can also be a powerful source of positive inertia and can cause someone to work harder at achieving more. There are many stories of people who have lost their jobs and couldn’t find employment. Due to the risk of not being able to pay their bills they have started successful businesses that they are passionate about. How you handle risk and what you do when you are confronted with it defines who you are.
When faced with risk, there are three paths to take.
- Avoid It
- Deal with It
- Ignore It
If you choose to avoid risk, you will just keep doing what you’ve always done and wonder to yourself what it would have been like to change or do something new. When you realize that the education you are pursuing or job you are working at does not meet your inner needs of fulfillment, the safe thing to do would be to keep doing what you are currently doing. You could just finish your degree or stay at your company till you retire because that is less risky.
If you want to actually live your life and not just go through the motions, you will need to embrace risk and learn to deal with it. Take time to understand what all of the risks are and decide what the worst thing that can happen would be. In reality, the worst thing is probably not as bad as you originally thought it was going to be. Let’s say you want to start your own business. You may have been putting if off because you were worried about how you would pay your bills or even get started. What if you don’t make any money for the first year? What if you can’t get your old job back? What if you fail?
What’s the worst thing that could happen in this situation though? Well, you could lose all your money and go bankrupt. Now that that is out of the way, think of all of the good that could happen. You could be passionate about what you work on. Instead of spending 8, 10 or 12 hours a day at a job that wears you down and chips away at you, why not put your heart and soul into a new career? You may find that you will actually have more energy at the end of the day.
Lastly, you can ignore risk completely. While it takes a lot of practice to get to this level, some of the highest achieving people can get there. These kinds of people can keep the fear out of their mind and precede full speed ahead. I find it helpful to always be mindful of the risk, but the key is in not being afraid of it.
Don’t let the fear of doing something be the reason why you don’t do it. By not being afraid of risk you can completely change how you live your life.
How do you handle risk? Do you let it influence your decisions and shoot down your passions? Or do you deal with the risks and change your life for the better?