I would rather be ashes than dust –
I would rather my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze
Than it should be stifled in dry rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor,
Every atom of me in magnificent glow,
Than a sleepy and permanent planet.
Man’s chief purpose is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.
--- Jack London
Do you continue down certain life paths—a job, a daily routine, a pattern of communicating (or not communicating) in a relationship—because they feel secure, even though you know they’re no longer working? One of the most difficult skills to learn and successfully integrate into your life is how to take risks. Just like any other human being, you have a natural tendency to stick with what you know, with your habitual patterns, with what feels safe—rather than stepping out of your comfort zone. Without taking risks, you will be unable to keep your actions aligned with your evolving Vision. By definition, your Vision—unless it paints a picture of the future exactly the same as the present—requires you to commit actions that will propel you into uncharted territory. You may prefer the safety and ease of sticking with your habitual patterns to putting yourself on the line and allowing the possibility of failure.
This week, ask yourself which risk you have known for some time that you need to take but have been putting off. Alternatively, consider which important goal in your personal or professional life you have been thinking about pursuing but have allowed to dissipate out of fear of failure, rejection, or not being “good enough.” First, acknowledge what is truly important to you. Then let the risks inherent to achieving it diminish in importance to achieving it.
How do you approach taking risks in your life? Tell us about it in the comments.
Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday each week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).