When was the last time you took a risk?
And I’m not talking some reckless shit like quitting your day job to start traveling all around Europe so you can ~find yourself~ in Michelangelo’s paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, all while speaking crappy Italian to the people standing next to you who honestly just wished you would shut up.
While I understand of the appeal of wanting to completely abandon a life that makes you feel unfulfilled and unhappy, you may not necessarily find it in an indefinite vacation. In fact, I think you may find just the opposite.
When I’m asking you about the last risk you took, I’m referring to the types of bets that can be taken within everyday circumstances, the chances we take on ourselves and on our loved ones. On strangers and on fate.
How about taking a bet on yourself by applying for the job you think you’d never get? What about asking that guy at the bar if you can buy him a drink, even if you perceive him as completely out of your league? How about letting someone know when they hurt you, even when it’s uncomfortable and they may not see from your point of view?
What about the thing that has no guarantees, that could very well end in pain and heartache and disappointment? Yeah, that thing you’re thinking of right now. That’s one of the risks you must take. Because if you’re not jumping into the waves of uncertainty daily, if you’re not risking anything on the regular, you are not living. You are surviving.
Because you survive by playing it safe, a solid fifteen or so feet from the ledge. You keep breathing by staying on the sidelines, watching everyone else’s mistakes so you don’t make the same blunders. But when you stay benched, you miss the moments on the field of your life that will take your breath away. You miss the thrill. The joy.
And yeah, you may avoid pain, but by dodging the ache that comes with being let down, you miss the opportunity to grow. Because it’s not only in the great moments of our life we grow. It’s in our failures, too.
So go ahead and get lost in a new city for a weekend or even in a local bookshop. Listen to a song you thought you’d never like (and may still not like). Go and approach that guy standing at the bar, even if he’s surrounded by friends. Apply for the job. Take the time to try and pick up a new skill, be it painting or a musical instrument. Ask for that raise you know you deserve.
Dance like no one’s watching in a crowded bar, try to learn to speak a new language even if you never really had a knack for learning different tongues. Let go of the person who is comfortable, but not good for you. Challenge yourself, dude. Just take a fucking risk. You have more to lose, after all, on all the chances you don’t take. You have more to lose by playing it safe.
So my final question is this:
What’s the next risk you’re going to take?