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Life Is About Taking
"Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new." Brian Tracy
Have you seen a successful person who is not a risk taker? I don't think there is any because one of the attributes that got them to the top is their ability to take risks.
What separates achievers from ordinary folks is their willingness to take optional as well as necessary risks. For example, let's assume I have a good job. I enjoy it and earn enough to get by. I'm not rich, but comfortable. Suddenly I receive a new job offer. The job comes with much more responsibilities and a significant increase in salary. What shall I do? If I join the new company, how do I know I will like my boss and co-workers? What if I can't handle the responsibilities? What if I'm found incompetent and fired? What if after losing my new job, I can't find another one? Should I risk my present security? Some people would say no. "No, it isn't worth losing your security. If you take the new job, lose it, can't find another one, and can't pay your mortgage, you'll lose your house. And then, your wife will probably divorce you."
My own life is about taking risks. I started my career in the entertainment industry in Nigeria by gatecrashing into the launching of Tera Kota's album where I met the who's who in the entertainment industry when I was 17. Since then I have become a calculative gambler and a realistic risk taker. I have left many certainties for uncertainties and that has enabled me to grow very well. Life is all about taking risks; we should be willing to take risks every day. Whether you drive, take public transportation, or walk to work, you are risking getting into an accident. Every time you go to sleep, you risk not waking up! But you go ahead and do it anyway.
My role models are risk takers; they are common people doing uncommon and extraordinary things. They often sow the seeds of revolution - and not just once or twice but time after time. They dared to be different because they took the road less travelled. They are my inspiration and I get energy from them.
The reason why a lot of people refuse to take risk is that they do not want to move from their comfort zone. They love the security of their comfort zone.
People who think like that don't understand what true security is. Security can never depend on outside circumstances. It only comes from within. If I stay with my present job, where's the security? Can't I lose it due to corporate downsizing? (That's happened to me.) Even if I'm indispensable, what if the company I work for goes bankrupt? (That's happened to me too.) On the other hand, if I were used to taking risks, I would have built an inner strength, become resilient and learnt the ability to cope in tough circumstances. Those who refuse to take risks to protect their security willingly live in cages, trapped by their own fears. If we desperately want to fly, we will be willing to give up being a caterpillar. Turtles can't advance without sticking their necks out and we can't either.
As we try new things, we become more confident and develop a better self-image. If that's all there is to it - if a little step outside your comfort zone is all it takes to grow and improve- then why don't more people do it? What makes that little step so difficult? The answer is simple; we don't like pain.
The moment you leave your comfort zone, you experience pain and discomfort. Since all positive changes take place outside the comfort zone, change is painful. The very moment most people feel the pain; they pull back inside the comfort zone. The life in the comfort zone may become a life of regret. Perhaps, we may regret that we did not do the things we wanted to do. Regret is a killer.
The statement "no pain, no gain," has been perverted, criticized and labelled as nonsense. The people doing the criticising are almost always "comfort zoners" who haven't achieved much with their lives.
Brian Tracy says, "90% to 95% of people will withdraw to the comfort zone when what they try doesn't work. Only that small percentage, 5 or 10 percent, will continually improve themselves; they will continually push themselves out into the zone of discomfort, and these are always the highest performers in every field."
You have to risk failure and try new things. I have met so many people who were always taught to play it safe. And guess what? They are playing it safe, leading, as the quote says, "Lives of quiet desperation." It is the people who risk failures and try new things that change the world and lead the lives they want to!
Dayo Olomu is a UK-based Motivational Speaker, Writer, Business/Life Coach, Trainer, Media Entrepreneur and Competent Toastmaster. His core belief is that we are all endowed with seeds of greatness, and his mission is to help individuals and organisations achieve their full potentials. He is the author of best selling "4 Indispensable Strategies for Success" and the President of Croydon Communicators Toastmasters. Get his FREE monthly Rise to the Top ezine by sending a blank email to email@example.com or visit his website at: www.dayoolomu.com
Illustration by Kevin Van Aelst for The Chronicle Review - Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription)
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