The year 2016 has become a year of transformation and risk for me. I have taken more risks in this year than I have in a last long while. Why is that? Because my definition of risk has changed. I have started looking at risk in a completely different manner. Risk is a mandatory item in my daily arsenal now. I know that it is necessary for my growth and improvement. I know it is an absolute must so I take on risk every single day as who I am.
It began with that huge step. Quitting my 9-5 job to finally become an entrepreneur, and an online business owner. Did I know where it would go from there? Would I ever make money from it? Did I know what I was doing with my life? No to all. I was completely lost and clueless. That’s how I lived for a few months after quitting my job.
My Risky Journey In 2016 Outlined In 3 Paragraphs
I had no idea that that one risk would completely tumble my life upside down. From that one risk, my self-esteem improved, and my risk-averse personality faded a bit. I realized risks actually enhanced a person’s life, and allowed them to live more freely and authentically. That one risk caused another major risk to come into my life – I moved to Chiang Mai to live for six months. Something I had been dreaming about doing for years now, but never got down to it. So many un-lived dreams inside of me.
The move to Chiang Mai bought with it other risks that I would never have attempted as the old Shikha. I went to an improv workshop (freaking out the whole time), I rode a motorbike on the streets of Chiang Mai (terrified absolutely the whole time), I bought a ukulele (learning how to play it) and I took a watercolour lesson which I absolutely addicted to right now.
All of these steps might be minor to some, major to others. To me, they encompass that life where I’m bold, brave, and beautiful. They represent to me that Shikha who is the Shikha I want to be – the one who is bright, shiny, admired, loved, brave, bold, and forever filled with love.
One Risk Leads To Another
Just like you cannot eat just one Pringles chip, you cannot take just one risk. That is a impossibility. When we take one risk, it causes a flood of emotions in us. We start believing in ourselves better. Our spirit becomes stronger and wants to occupy more space. It also sends a signal to the universe that we are ready to take on more and more. It causes more opportunities to take more risks to flood into our life.
One risk leads to another and another and another. It is a never-ending roller coaster ride, where you take one risk and feel comfortable with it, and then another shows up terrifying you and causing you to feel off-balance again. This way we are always kept on our toes. We never really get comfortable and we cannot slack off.
The Opportunities For Risk Are All Around Us
The real fact of the matter is that the opportunity to take risks are all around us. They are coming at us faster than we can say yes to them. Every single day, you can probably think of big and small risks you could undertake or avoid. Most of us choose to avoid the risks that tumble into our lives. We see the opportunity to take the risk, and we sidestep it back to Netflix and Chill.
Instead of doing that, we can live by the motto – Do something scary every day. Something scary is always something risky. Either we are risking making a fool of ourselves, or being embarrassed, or doing something imperfectly, or being laughed at. Whatever it might be, it is always a billion times worse in our heads than in reality.
Every single time, I have done something risky, I made such a big deal out of it in my mind. I made up all of these horrible stories of decapitation, and exile. In reality, the risk once I undertook it, turned out to be minor. It was Goliath in my mind, but David in real life.
Don’t Listen To The Critics And Censors In Your Head
You probably think to yourself, I could do a lot more, if I didn’t have these horrible nagging voices in my head, telling me what a loser I am. These critics and censors are there to protect us – it’s an evolutionary tool. The choice is ours though. These voices are always going to be there – and they are present in everyone’s heads. No matter how successful a person becomes, they still have these voices going at it in their heads. So don’t ever think you can get rid of them.
But you can realize that listening to them and letting them control your life is a CHOICE. A choice that we are making every single day. We can choose to take that risk or we can choose to listen to the voices and step back to our comfort zone.
The choice is ours. The problem is that most people choose comfort over risk.
Surround Yourself With Risk-Takers
One way I have found to avoid the comfort zone and push myself to take the risks that are necessary is to stand with other risk-takers. That’s one of the reasons I moved to Chiang Mai. In Chiang Mai, I’m not really a risk-takers as I am back home with my family and friends. In Chiang Mai, I’m just normal. I’m another one of the risk-takers. Being around people who are taking more risks with their time, and life motivates me, and makes me want to be bigger, bolder, and better.
That’s why I say surround yourself with the dreamers, and the doers. Surround yourself with the risk-takers. There aren’t many out there. But you will be able to find them. They are usually the ones others call quirky, or weird, or unique, or crazy. Search them out, and take them out for a coffee. Pick at their brain. Learn how they think. Emulate them. Learn from them. And become as much like them as possible.
Risks Fulfills Lives
Without risks, life would be a mundane set of events. With risk, every event becomes something to fight against and something to become better with. When I take a risk of riding a motorbike around the streets of Asia, I can look myself in the eye better. I can say to myself when adversity does come, if I can ride a motorbike, I can do anything. It makes me stronger to myself. It results in increased self-approval and self-acceptance. Life as a whole becomes easier, because the more risks you take, the braver you become in general.
You start trying things and doing things that you’ve been talking about for years, but never had the courage to undertake. Maybe it’s a piano lesson, or a watercolour lesson. Whatever it might be, all of a sudden, because you took that one little risk, this bigger risk seems more probable and easier.
Your Life Is A Survivor Show
Life takes on new meaning. Life isn’t just about going about our days completing our to-do lists, or checking off everything our bosses want us to do. It becomes more than that. It becomes a sort of adventure. You are on this Survivor show, where you compete with yourself every single day. Not only are you becoming better, bolder, and braver everyday, but you are competing with yourself every single day.
Even a little bit of improvement in your self-image can help you move mountains. Suddenly, items that seemed like mountains seem like molehills, and you are able to go after real mountains. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro that would have been unthinkable a few months ago seems like absolutely accomplishable now.
We change from the inside out due to the risks we take.
Start Small, Go Bigger Slowly
I’m going to keep on repeating this, because this is important. Start with the smallest risk your ego can afford. We can still little children at heart; small on the inside and needing a lot of reassurance, and love. Rejection is hard on our inner artist child. We need to nurture ourselves as much as possible. So take on risks slowly and small at first.
Do the smallest thing possible. When I first started riding a motorbike, I did the smallest thing possible for me. I woke up at 6am every morning for the first few days, and went riding on the streets at 6am. Which meant that the roads were less busy, and I could get used to the traffic slowly, and build up.
Eventually, once I felt comfortable on the roads in the morning, I moved up to going out in the day time. I also told myself to go really slow at first. I drove at 20 km/hr maximum. Sometimes I sped up to 30 km/hr, but that was a rarity. I was slow. Everyone passed me.
But I didn’t care. I wanted to go as slow as possible, so I could brake and avoid any mishaps. Mostly though, I was building up courage.
It is easier to do things when you are going small and slow. It is easier on our egos, and our hearts. You will get there eventually. There’s no need to hurry the process.
Focus On Yourself And Your Story
There are some risks we will take with our lives even though they aren’t something we are interested in. Like, applying to a job that pays a six-figure salary with a firm that has a great reputation and that will impress all of our parents’ friends.
Remember, the risks you are taking with your life are supposed to be the risks that your heart wants to take. Not your spouse. And not your parents. Definitely, not your friends.
What does your heart want to do? Is it water skiing? Do it, even though you are older than everyone else who water-skis. Is it perhaps flamenco dancing? Go for it, even though you think your hips are too wide or your legs too short, or whatever.
We make all of these random inane excuses in our head. My excuses for not going to improv? I am going to look foolish, I’m going to embarrass myself, I’m going to be the laughing stock of the world, I’m going to be ostracized, and I’ll have to go live in a cave to hide out while the media frenzy dies out.
I mean, creative people like us are dramatic. We have amazing imaginations which instead of pouring into writing, we pour into imagining up random stories in our head of why we can’t do what we want to do.
We Are All Going To Die
This is the truth. We are all going to die. We are all dying slowly but surely. The time will come one day when you will take your last breath. What will you say in those last few moments to yourself and the people around you? Will you be happy at a life fully lived? Or will you lament the fact that you didn’t do everything you wanted to do, because you were too afraid to take the risk to be fully alive?
Being fully alive is scary. It means, there are no more excuses. We take responsibility for our own happiness and we do what we can to live in the moment.
No more pretending that we have no clue anymore. We know exactly what we need to do and we just need to do it. That’s what life becomes.
A no-holds barred, no excuses awesome fest.
Tell yourself that you are going to die daily, not to be morbid, but to be reminded of our fragility and limited time on Earth. We have so little time, and we have to ensure we do everything possible to live it completely.
Do it right now.
There is no later.