Humans are hardwired to avoid risks. Taking a risky decision can be mentally and at times, physically stressful. We have become so accustomed to going for something and getting rejected, defeated or lost in return, that we assume our failure before we even try. This is where we get convinced by our minds to take the safer and more comfortable route.
Risking something can go either way. Most of the time, we are scared to take the first step because we directly focus on the possibility of a negative overall outcome. This makes us lose track of our true potential and sets us on a path of compromise and regret.
Though it is the possibility to experience pain, shame, fear, and regret, it is equally a possibility to feel euphoric, confident and victorious. There are always pros and cons to risk-taking, but you have to learn to take the first step.
But how does one move forward knowing that there might be potential pain at the end of the road? Successful people today are the acrobats of risk-taking. The key to taking risks fearlessly is to accept the overall outcome no matter what it is and to enjoy the process along the way. Even if the outcome is not as you would have wanted, you will end up learning and moving on to the next task at hand.
Scientific research shows that our minds are hardwired to take an easy and comfortable path. This is because we often overestimate the risks by constantly focusing on what could go wrong instead of what could go right.
Moreover, we are never confident enough to believe that we have the skills to make it through the process. This leads to inaction, distractions, and at times, addictions.
Though walking around the risk seems like a good idea at the time, it always sets us on a path of potential regret, making us always ponder upon the “what if”.
Here are a few steps that can help you be a better risk-taker:
1. Find Comfort in Vulnerability
Humans are very uncomfortable with vulnerability. We tend to avoid things that are awkward and make us vulnerable. For instance, having a difficult conversation with our loved ones can be uncomfortable, because we are exposing our true selves to them without any defense mechanisms.
Being vulnerable is not a bad thing. We have to assess and ask ourselves why we are truly feeling vulnerable. We only grow when we are uncomfortable, and this is one of the pros of risk-taking.
Once we have clarity of what bothers us about vulnerability then we can take further steps to change this. Once you are down to the rawest forms of your fears, write them down so you can further develop skills to overcome them.
Being our true selves should be liberating and not stressful, and this includes the feeling of vulnerability. So, be true to yourself by finding the reason for your vulnerability and manage your decisions around getting comfortable with your fears.
2. Be Decisive Instead of Being Uncertain
We are chaotic beings. Our minds are often wandering around the dilemmas and controversies that our thoughts have cooked up for us. This makes us heavily uncertain creatures. Being indecisive is the worst nightmare of any risk-taker. Indecisiveness can lead to procrastination, laziness, and in the end, you might end up abandoning the goal altogether.
No matter how confused you are or how confusing the situation seems, execute the decision, and wait for the outcome. Remember, this is all a learning phase, so even if you happen to fail on a few decisions, you are now aware of what decisions you will take in the future if a similar obstacle comes your way.
3. Stop Underestimating Yourself
One of the main reasons why people do not take risks is because they are not confident enough to handle the stress and discomfort that comes along the process. People who doubt themselves in such situations are not fully aware of their abilities and skills. Unless someone convinces them or tells them they can handle the stress, responsibility, and pressure, they do not move a muscle.
The best way to get confidence before taking a risky decision is to evaluate yourself based on your previous successful and unsuccessful experiences. Do a thorough analysis of yourself and your thinking process. Evaluate yourself with honesty and accuracy. Once you are clear about who you are, how you have handled stress earlier, and how well you can survive in difficult times, you will have the courage to take on risk.
4. Be Patient
Risk-taking is not a skill people are born with. It is a skill that you have to develop with practice and patience. Just like any other muscle group in your body, you have to keep working out in order to handle the stress, make correct decisions, and adapt to changes quickly.
Moreover, if you pay too much attention to the end result, you are not doing it right. You have to enjoy the process in order to reap the true benefits of the end result. So, learn to practice mindfulness to help you dedicate your full attention to the task at hand. Start choosing new skills to work on. It is important to become disciplined and physically and mentally fit.
Taking a risk can lead to failure where you learn and pick yourself up and re-evaluate your goals. You have to define your limits before taking a risk, condition yourself to be a genuine risk-taker and you have to be ready to fail.
Remember that the risk you are willing to take is nothing but a new experience to learn from. Once you are well aware of your potential and are confident, you will become a smart and effective risk-taker.