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When you think of risk-taking, what do you think of?
Skydiving? Parachuting? Mountain climbing?
Or do they look more like this:
Writing? Giving speeches? Speaking up for yourself?
According to The Extraordinary Healing Power of Ordinary Things by Larry Dossey, M.D., the former list classifies you as a Level I risk-taker and the latter is a Level II type. Level I activities are the ones we are more likely to associate with risks, but the good news is you don’t have to live dangerously to reap the benefits of risk-taking.
Why You Should Take Risks in 2014
Taking risks whether it’s starting a new career or learning to say, “No” is invaluable. Why? Common sense says risk-taking leads to danger, accident, illness and even death. But on the other side of the coin, taking risks can make us healthier. In a brilliant summation, Dosser says:
“Risk is a paradox, which has been defined as truth standing upside down to attract attention.”
In this analogy, to find purpose and meaning in our lives, we need only look at the thing in our lives dressed up as fear.
He goes on to say that risk-taking and playing safe are both “competing biological urges” and “our birthright.” It is “a reminder that our obsession with creating a risk-free existence, from the nursery to the crematorium, is folly.”
Whether you decide to do something monumental like backpack around the country, quit your job or windsurf, or do something on a less grander scale that still gets your heart pumping like join a club or pitch a publication, taking risks are what fuels us. It may feel foreign and uncomfortable because it’s supposed to feel that way. It’s the bridge that when crossed opens us to new possibility. It makes our lives more meaningful. It’s what hope is made out of.
This year while you’re dreaming up your resolutions list, take the time to think up what risks you can take in 2014. It may not mean river rafting, but it may be doing the following:
It’s saying how you really feel.
It’s quitting when something’s not right.
It’s saying, “Yes” to opportunities that thrill you.
It’s saying, “No” to people, places and things that don’t fit.
It’s showing up, not just because other people are watching, but because it matters to you.
It’s taking the necessary steps to fulfill a dream.
It’s following your passion.
It’s being vulnerable.
It’s letting other people see your imperfections.
It’s being you. You in all of your wonderful eccentricities and flaws and strengths and idiosyncrasies.