Taking Risks: The Secret Weapon of the Successful

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 “In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take

One often finds two kinds of players in the career playground- those who “play it safe” and those who are “risk takers”. The safe players are known to live in a zone of mediocrity. These players maybe average performers who colour inside the lines and always play by the rules. Such people fear the unknown and rarely venture outside the boundaries.

On the contrary, risk-takers live in a realm of possibility and greatness. They dare to go beyond their comfort zone and colour outside the lines. Risk-takers acknowledge failure as another aspect of life and not the end of it. For them failure is an experiment that didn’t work! Risk takers are all about challenging the status quo. They hone their decision making skills to take the right kind of risks and are able to reach great places with it.

They Negate the Negativity

The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” -Mark Zuckerberg

We live in a world filled with uncertainties. These uncertainties are more prominent in the career domain. For example, there are many instances where you are required to make a decision. Every decision including the decision to do nothing carries an element of risk with it. The problem occurs when you tend to exaggerate the consequences of the risk of certain moves, overlooking the opportunities, hence giving rise to assumptions.

While risk is an unavoidable constant of life, instead of contemplating on the consequences of a risk you’ve never attempted, try evaluating the entire scenario, including the potential hazards. You excel further when you avoid shying away from taking risks, and instead focus on taking the right kind of risks that offer the opportunities. How often do you ask yourself ‘Is this risk worth taking? Does this risk impart a more perilous circumstance or a benefitting one? Which risk would pay off more in the long run?’

Comfort Zone- Not so Beautiful After All

By definition, a comfort zone is a place where one feels safe or at ease. Though it is a beautiful place, nothing ever grows there. Hence it is necessary for one to break out of it, especially when you want to take risks.

To implement this habit, you can start with doing everyday things differently; for example, taking a different road to work.  Whether the changes you make are big or small, make a change in the way you do your daily activities. Look for perspectives that come from these changes, even if they are negative. Slowly, take bigger steps. Identify your fears and face them with determination. This pushes you out of your comfort zone and prepares you to take risks. Though it can be hard to break out of your routine, if you really challenge yourself you can end up with fruitful results.

They are Okay with Failure

 “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work.” - Thomas Edison

Risk-takers are essentially people who learn from failure and use those learnings to their advantage. They know that practicing the art of taking risks may one day increase the outcome of success, but it also carries a cost of failure. Sometimes these costs are the ones that define you at work.  More often than not they are largely imagined. However, risk takers know that too.

Michael Gervais, a renowned psychologist explains that the limbic system in our brain has evolved to experience a physical and emotional danger in the same part of the brain. To not misunderstand one pain for another, we have got to work beforehand. This happens with learning to accept and be okay with failure, with viewing short term failures as a part of long-term achievements. In other words, if you want to take risks, you shouldn’t judge yourself on whether you succeed but rather on whether you have the guts to risk failure in the first place.

They Take Initiatives and Express Opinions

One initiative can change the world. Taking initiatives and expressing your opinion can contribute to constant development at workplace. To hone the skills of taking initiative, do more than what is required of you. Do you have brilliant ideas? Then go ahead and let them out. A million ideas didn’t mean anything to the world, only because they were untold. When you take initiative without being asked, you solve problems using your intellect, which helps you realise your potential and earmark progress. Taking initiative also means you have the courage to take more responsibilities, preparing you further to take risks.

Failures are a part of risk-taking; they are merely experiments that didn’t work. Failures teach you to have a clearer understanding of consequences which help you grow and prepare you to take the right kind of risks. Life is too short to play it safe, because people who don’t play safe are the ones who truly embrace success.