Risk Essay

My high school speech and drama teacher was famous for saying, "Happy people take risks." But I have never been a risk taker.

Coincidentally, high school was not a happy time for me. I never once felt courageous enough to step out of my comfort zone. I stayed quietly under the radar for four years while people all around me were going to parties, achieving in sports and academics, and going to homecoming and the prom.

I wouldn't try any of it because I was afraid. What if I failed? What if I made an utter fool out of myself? What if risking something made me more miserable than I already was?

Even though my school was doing the same play in which I had the lead in junior high, I didn't try out. Even though I had played soccer my whole life, I quit halfway through varsity tryouts because I was just sure I wouldn't make the team anyway. Even though boys liked me and wanted to ask me out, I didn't accept any dates because I feared being a bore. All around me, teenagers were excelling at high school life — and I was afraid that I couldn't, even if I tried.

Some people look back at that as one of the greatest times of their life, but not me. I spent the whole four years scared to take a risk. If I didn't risk anything, I wouldn't lose anything either. I wasn't miserable, but I certainly wasn't happy either.

Today, as a forty-something wife and mother, I'm still afraid of uncertainty. I don't lead committees, I get tongue-tied going to bat for one of my kids, and I've Pinned boards full of recipes that I have no intention of ever making. That mom who was so nice to me at the park? I'm worry she would reject me if I ask her for a playdate.

As a career woman, I never once had a poor performance review — but did I try to climb the ladder to a more senior position? Nope, I was just fine right where I was. Even as a writer, I know there is a book in me, but I worry no one would want to read it.

I wish just once in my life I had had the courage to take a risk. Well, maybe twice: If I had succeeded once, I would have understood that it really wasn't anything to fear. And if another time I had failed, I would have noticed that it really wasn't the end of the world.

My sons are not huge risk takers either. Thank goodness they're not the daredevil kind, but they also don't tend to put themselves "out there" in sports or social situations — just like me. I try to encourage them and tell them they would be happier if they just tried, but how can they believe someone who doesn't follow her own advice?

It's really not too late for me to learn to take chances. I can think of plenty of healthy ways. For starters:

1. I can run a race.

2. I can finish my book.

3. I can apply for that job I really want.

4. I can make that super-complicated dessert for Thanksgiving dinner.

I'm pretty sure if I find the courage to try one or even all of these things, I will not die. Maybe I'll stop before the finish line or get rejected or burn something. Maybe I'll be miserable.

Or maybe I'll finish and be a success. Maybe I'll be great. Maybe I will feel great.

I'll never know if I don't try. I'll never know unless I let go of that fear of trying. After all, happy people take risks, and I want my sons to know what happy looks like before all the good risks pass them by.

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Taking Risks

Every once in a while in one’s life come challenges. These challenges can be so daunting and demanding that it places the person in not just a weird external state but also a peculiar state of mind. There are hardly any people in the world who make it a point in their life to take steps that are too farfetched or have stakes that are too high. Almost every individual finds it easier and more convenient to take steps that are safe and secure them for the present and for the future.

Anyone who has spent even a year in the practical world would agree that this is not how life can be lived. The entire essence of life demands people to challenge themselves and push themselves off the edge just to see if they can fly – that is the true meaning of life. When one dives into a situation where the end point or the result is unknown and cannot even be anticipated based on the current circumstances, it means they are taking a risk. These are not hard core decisions but mere choices that individuals have to take because they pose a better likelihood in the future. It cannot be claimed that if one has a safe job, they will always remain employed and have complete job security. An unstable and an unconventional job might become a constant source of income for several people. The entire questions falls on one question; “Are you willing to take the risk?”

Some people might also claim that taking a risk and having it result in a positive outcome has a lot to do with fate and luck. Though this might be true for various people, but in some cases, where the decision lies in another human and not on fate, taking a bold risk exemplifies your confidence in yourself and that is a valuable but rare quality in humans.

Hence, if you have a risk to take and are torn between a safe and a risky option, tell yourself this:

  1. The risk you are willing to take might give you a once in a lifetime chance to explore not just your abilities and potentials but also to live your dream.
  2. Taking a risk and actually have it work out for you might make you feel more confident about your own abilities and make you feel good about the things you can achieve in life.
  3. Taking a risk makes it easier for you to come up with ideas and innovations that you were too scared to try and test before.
  4. Taking a risk opens up an entire new world of possibilities for you. It makes you feel like there is no end to your passion.
  5. Above all, taking a risk is the best way to overcome your own weaknesses and confusions.

Hence, risk taking is a core element of human life and human existence.

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