19 Nov Day 3 Taking Risks in Small Things Leads to Big Things
It’s easy to play it safe. Certainty is one of our deepest basic human needs and to get it we stick with what we know. The security we get by doing this is very comforting but if we are not careful that comfort becomes a prison cell. We keep the same job because it’s too scary to think about the unknown and doing something different. We stay in the same relationship because even though we are not happy it’s better than being alone. We stay in the same house or city or book club – after all it’s comfortable. But it’s boring! How stuck, stagnant and blah do we feel when there is no variety, no excitement, no change?
Risk taking is vital to living a joyful, passionate life. As someone who was extremely certainty driven it did not come easily to me. I had a teacher that gave me a card for my wallet that said do something that scares you everyday and you will live an extraordinary life. That was nearly 5 years ago and I really took it to heart. I can’t say I do something every single day but if I find something that seems scary to me I move towards it and most times give it a go. In fact now that’s how I know I’m on to something good. If the thought of it gives me nervous butterflies it confirms to me it’s something I should probably do. Usually the only things that make me feel this way are situations in which I will be vulnerable. Like trying something new or doing something that I’m not good at. I worry about embarrassing myself or feeling stupid or rejected yet I do it anyway. Once I started doing this I realized that being embarrassed or looking stupid isn’t nearly as bad as avoiding things out of fear. All those years I was too scared to try I missed out on a hell of a lot of fun!
Risks don’t have to be big. I’m not talking about bungee jumping or sky diving. Sometimes the biggest risks are the little ones like reaching out to start a new friendship, signing up for cooking class or going to Zumba instead of spinning. It’s buying a shirt that is not the “you” that people have come to expect or asking that girl on a date when you are not sure she is interested. For me this week I cut nearly 5 inches off my hair after having the same hairstyle for almost 10 years. It was liberating! These types of little risks build up our risk taking muscles. The actions we take bring joy into our lives in numerous ways. Even better than they joy we get from new friends, interests and hair cuts is the confidence small risks build for when it’s time to consider big risks. They are much easier.
So start today with a small risk. Put flavored creamer in your coffee instead of plain, drive a different way to work, buy a plane ticket, say you are sorry, buy the crazy shirt. Doing these little things will fill you with joy and over time you will create an extraordinary life.