Though it may seem incredibly hard, becoming more of a risk taker is an important thing to work on in your life. But confession time: I'm a total wimp. When I'm gearing up to take a risk, I like to hold onto the railing and look down at the bottom of the edge, gnawing my lip, and hashing out all the reasons why I shouldn't leap over. Hundreds of reasons wash over me, doing their best to talk me off of the ledge and come sit in the corner and join their Lameness Squad. But I always put up a "one moment finger" and leap just as they're settling back in relief, and you can too.
When you have a dream you've been hiding or a goal you hold a lot of stock in, it can be terrifying to take the first step forward in case you ruin it. If you want to step outside of your comfort zone and try something that you just know will reap lots of rewards, you immediately bring up the hand that describes all the negatives that are attached with the pluses. But those are just what they sound like: Excuses. So get ready to pull your socks up and hurtle forward — below are seven tips on how to become more of a risk taker.
1. Restructure Your Idea Of Failure
A lot of people skid to a halt right before leaping off of the edge because they think these five fatal words: "But what if I fail?!" And that's the end of it - pack up the show guys and hit the road, because we've been run out of town.
But instead of letting your fear of failure stop you, rethink of its position in the process. Rather than seeing it as something negative that strips your ego and closes the book on your goals or dreams, see it as an important part of the process. As in: You will fail at one point, which means you just have to try again, but in a different way.
Lifestyle writer Daniel CJ Grant at Lifehack wrote, "All successful people have stories of massive failure attached to them. Thinking that your risk is going to be pain free and run as smooth as silk is insane." Don't let your fear of failure stop you from taking an exciting risk. Rather, just make it a part of the equation and move forward.
2. Remind Yourself: "The Worst That Can Happen" Isn't Actually All That Bad
OK, unless you're gearing up to throw yourself off of a cliff for a laugh, "the worst that can happen" is usually magnified tenfold in our heads. But when you break it down, the only bad thing that can happen is we'll be uncomfortable with the results for a bit, and then move on. If the cute person at the bar doesn't say hi back, you just go back to your friends. If your side business fails, you think of a new strategy. If you get food poisoning on your whirlwind trip to India, you sweat it out for a couple of days. Risking taking your optimal levels of comfort down to 80 percent is worth it, no?
Business writer Tara-Nicholle Nelson at Forbes pointed out, "Every time you take a risk in pursuit of your dreams, one of two things will happen: either you will succeed at your mission, or you will succeed at getting an education." Even if you fail, get rejected, or have to start all over, the worst thing that can happen is that you learn a new lesson. Use that information, and find another way to succeed.
3. Think Of How Not Taking A Risk Is Just As Dangerous As Taking One
If you stay in your comfort zone, you don't grow. You're not trying, you're not letting yourself see where your life can unravel to, and you're not trusting your skills and smarts to get you to where you need to be. Keeping all this in mind, not taking the risk can be just as dangerous as scrunching up your eyes and leaping.
Nelson offered, "While inaction might seem comfortable and even wise, every course of inaction incurs possible opportunity costs, the economics term that describes the benefits forgone by not taking an alternate path."
If you don't do that solo trip to Europe, you won't see how much you can actually rely on yourself. If you don't trade careers, you'll never see how far you could have gone in your dreams. If you don't put yourself out there and share something creative with the world (poetry reading? art gallery? chilli competition?) you'll never know how many people you could have touched with your thoughts and creations. So go for it!
4. Think About How You Don't Have A Bottomless Pit Of Chances
The next time you back away from a risk biting your fingernails, convince yourself to take a step forward by thinking this point: How many shots do you actually have to try this? It's easy to put something off when you think you can come back to it when you're more ready, but who can guarentee this opportunity will be there when you've finally sorted yourself out?
Grant offered, "The top thing people are saddened by on their deathbeds are regrets. They wish they did more, asked that girl in the coffee shop out, spoke out when they should have, or did what they were passionate about. Don’t regret. Learn and experience. Live. Take the risks you believe in."
5. Focus On Everything That Can Go Right
Instead of focusing on the major explosions and caving roofs that will inevitably happen after you fail, take your decision making process down a different route and think of what will happen if everything goes right.
Lifestyle writer tyler tervooren from self development site Riskology said, "The solution, then, is to trick your brain into plugging the right numbers into the decision computation. One of the easiest ways to get started is to simply ask “What if everything goes right?” rather than the usual opposite."
You have just as big of a chance succeeding as you have failing, so help even the scales by not only being aware of the end of the world, but also of the amazingness of when you pull it all off.
6. Think Of This: Risks Are Building Blocks, Not Outcomes
Sure, if you take a leap of faith either A or B will happen. But it usually takes more than one risk to get an actual outcome, so change the script on how you view these jumps into the unknown. You're not only supposed to try that one time - you're supposed to take stock what happened, what worked and didn't, and try better next time. Up to the point you actually do succeed.
Motivational writer Dean Bokhar from self development site Pick the Brain said, "Most of the stuff you try—most of the risks you take — will not work. And that’s OK. Because what doesn’t work today, will lead you towards what works insanely well tomorrow."
7. Keep In Mind That The More You Do It The Easier It Becomes
It's a fact that the more you do something, the less scary it becomes. It becomes familiar, a routine, and the nerves fade away. So while your first risk might seem intense, be comforted with the knowledge that the next time you try it, it'll only be better.
Business writer Christina Desmarais at entrepreneur site Inc, offered, "You can become more comfortable with risk. But it involves practice and developing new habits."
So leap, my friends! Rewards and satisfaction is waiting for you at the bottom.