Reflecting back upon the dreams, risks, successes, failures, and choices made that have brought me to this place and time in my life, all I can say is WOW! Sometimes, the changes and risks were straightforward and effortless, “in the flow” and easy to incorporate. Other times, things got so chaotic that I’d scream, “Stop the world – I want to get off!” But there was no growth in giving up. And there was no going back.
To quote Colette Barron-Reid from The Enchanted Map,
“ It’s most important to note that nothing is static. Life is about movement and evolution, uncertainty as well as security, loss as well as love, treasures along with challenges. Secrets are uncovered and beauty is revealed even in the darkest places, if you are willing to see your life as an on-going adventure.”
This adventure called Life offers many lessons, challenges, and opportunities for choices; some may call this Fate. The choices we make (or don’t make) and the manner in which we handle these fated events are what help to determine our Destiny. Or, the way our life story unfolds over time.
Risk taking requires making a change in some aspect of our life, to a lesser or greater degree. Risk can be calculated or non-calculated. Generally, the smaller the degree of risk involved, the less we calculate its pro’s and con’s. For instance, opting to try a new flavour of yogurt or get a new hair style is a risk of lesser degree. Deciding to quit your job, go back to school or move across the country or around the world holds a greater degree of risk. Yet all are “risks” and “changes”. All provide us new experiences and information to process.
Changes offer an opportunity to gain experience, skills and knowledge. We can access this learning for future decisions and risks. It is the accumulation of experiences over time and the learning we have from them that infuses us with Wisdom.
Knowledge + Skills + Experiences = Wisdom
But only if you chose to learn from them. It is always your choice.
The question to ask is: Why might someone not want to take risks? Here are some, but by no means all, of the reasons:
1. Fear & Anxiety
Fear can hold you back and prevent you from trying new things. Fear comes from a place of feeling insecure with yourself, others or the world around you. Fear and anxiety love to hang out together! If something creates anxiety for you, chances are that fear is in your world, too.
2. Lack of Confidence
Risk-taking means taking action and responsibility and not being afraid of failure or mistakes. If you are not sure you can do something correctly, you likely won’t try. This is also part of the Perfectionistic Personality – “if I can’t do something perfectly, I’m not going to do it at all! The Perfectionist hates embarrassment, so the fear of making a mistake can prevent them from taking any action at all. Without practice, how can they ever become good at anything new? How do they ever gain confidence to risk and try new things?
3. No Support From Others
Sometimes we feel compelled to take a different road or follow an idea or dream which will create a specific change in our lives. We feel passionate about it, but others don’t share our enthusiam. It’s hard to pursue our “dream” when others call it a “nightmare”! Resistance from others usually comes from not wanting to see you get hurt. But it could also be their own projections of not being able to cope with changes, risk-taking or failure that they are putting on you. Sometimes, it could be their jealousy of your courage to try something they couldn’t or wouldn’t do. But if they succeed in planting doubt in your mind, you may hesitate with going forward with your plans.
Remember: Trial & Error could just as easily be Trial & Success.
4. Just Hate Changes
Some people truly hate the idea of change. They spend most of their life ignoring, minimizing or blocking opportunities for change that present themselves. It takes time, energy, focus, and passion to take a risk and follow a dream. For some, this is just too much to ask of them! Better to “stay put” with what is familiar and safe – even if you are miserable with it. Just excuse yourself from the adventure of life. Curiosity, learning, creativity, challenges, new vistas and ways of doing things are grossly over-rated!
But what if the cry for risk-taking and change is calling you? Only you know the degree of risk you feel comfortable with. If you want to expand your world, it can be rough, tough and utterly overwhelming. But come through the experience and be willing to learn the lessons it provides, then you have something precious that no one can ever take away from you.
Knowledge + Skills + Experiences = Wisdom
A final quote from Colette Baron-Reid’s The Enchanted Map:
” The path you’re on now is one that will challenge you to the core.That said, peril is also exciting and exhilarating… A life lived fully isn’t lived only in safety. A new experience is calling to you, one that will test your courage. The choice is yours, but there is greater value in risk taking than in remaining unchallenged. New territories are waiting to be discovered.”
Article written by Pat Antoniak Registered Nurse – Registered Aromatherapist and owner of the Natural Comfort Wellness Centre in Tsawwassen, BC.