Taking risks

December 1, 2012

Take a risk!

Take a risk!

This compilation of quotes by Mitch Ditkoff at the Huffington Post was really inspiring.  I think when we are young, we often don’t think in terms of risk.  We just live, and everything is new and possible.  When we get older, and, arguably wiser, you gain experience, and become aware that your decisions and actions have varied consequences.  I have always tried to live without regret, and learn from each experience (good or bad.)  However, I tend to be bad at risk.  I seek the known, and feel calm in security.  When that is threatened, I feel out of control and overwhelmed.

These quotes are good reminders for both personal and work lives.  Here are a couple of my favorites:

2. “Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” — Helen Keller

8. “Life is being on the wire, everything else is just waiting. — Karl Wallenda

23. “Nothing will ever be attempted, if all possible objections must be first overcome.” — Samuel Johnson

 43. “Take risks: if you win, you will be happy; if you lose, you will be wise.” — Anonymous

47. “Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

For libraries, numbers 23 and 43 are especially notable.  Sometimes it seems like we cannot move forward with projects at work because of all the “what if’s” that happen–and the huge fear of failure and what that would mean.  But, you cannot have a success without trying, analyzing, and adjusting.  Being flexible and agile in your plans and reactions is important.  Knowing when to change, or even quit, is also key. If the project doesn’t have the outcome that you expected, don’t think of it as a failure; rather, think of it as learning and growing, becoming wise. Paradoxically, although we live in a risk-averse society (we love a winner!), risk-taking is more important than ever (would we even have all we have without the risk-takers such as Steve Jobs?)

The same can go for your personal life.  I tend to live in a “what if” state–thinking of all possible consequences, and worrying about all possible outcomes.  It is important for happiness to realize that there are some things you can control, but many things that you cannot.  Taking risks on a regular basis and realizing and learning that the outcome is almost always positive rather than negative can help with overcoming your fears.

You should be true to yourself and never do something risky that doesn’t feel right to you.  But, you shouldn’t let fear of failure, fear of risk, fear of not being seen as successful, hold you back from trying new experiences or having big ideas.  You CAN control how you react to change, and how you capitalize on it.  And that makes you a winner.

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