"Once we have completely eradicated our delusions it will be utterly impossible for us to experience unpeaceful states of mind." Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Thursday, December 12, 2013

"Do one thing every day that scares you." -- Eleanor Roosevelt

What is the last risk you recall taking?

What does courage mean to you? Do you exude bravery on a daily basis? Would you consider yourself a bona-fide risk-taker? 

Lately, I’ve been reflecting a lot about courageously taking risks; actively partaking in activities where the potentially harmful outcome, is unknown. Not about extreme risky activities, such as sky-diving and cliff-jumping, per se, rather about life risks; applying to random job advertisements and then, hopefully going to interviews, signing up for community college interest courses, like Spanish or Photography all alone just because I can, and even smaller everyday type of risks like trying a new type of specialty coffee at Starbucks, taking a new route to an everyday destination, and striking up conversations with strangers…

I've been thinking about the difference between being a "trier and a failure", opposed to being a "never trier"… making someone a winner? Or are they also a failure? Or, if you are a trier, yet do not succeed, with your newfound wisdom, does that actually deem you a winner? Hm.

I was at a job interview several years ago, when the interviewer asked me to tell them about a time that I had tried at something and failed, and how I dealt with that failure. I drew a blank; when had I failed? Initially, I thought that it should work in my favour that I could not come up with an answer to this bizarre interview question; I had never failed at anything before in my life -- I was such a gem and they should hire me right away! Then, reality hit and I thought "okay, maybe I have failed before but since I'm such an eternal optimist,  I have simply chosen to not dwell on the past and have pushed those not so fortunate incidences right out of my memory". 

The interviewer was disappointed that I couldn't come up with anything and even though we moved on to the next question, in my mind I was still stuck on my lack of failures. 

Had I really never failed at anything? It was seemingly great until I really deliberated about what that meant: If you never fall down, how will you know how to get back up? If you've never failed, you obviously haven't taken very many risks and therefore how fulfilled can your life possibly be? 

In a favourite TEDTalk of mine, Aimee Mullins talks about the opportunities of adversity. To watch, click here! As I listened to her talk, I thought about the parenting notions and how many parents shield their children from pain or disappointments, thinking that they are protecting them, but really, are they just taking away an opportunity for their children to grow? I think about how fortunate I was to be on team sports as a child, because I think that they teach about failure and supporting one another in trying times, and also about resilience, which is something that is so vital in all aspects of life whether at work or in relationships. 

Ultimately, taking risks adds so much value to a life, and yet so many people shy away from everyday opportunities disguised as risks simply because they are usually a bit unnerving. 

Here's a list about why taking risks is a good idea: 

~ Risk gives you an opportunity to open up to your talents, interests, abilities and dreams.
~ Risk teaches you to set clear goals and follow through.
~ Risk allows you to feel powerful and proactive, making things happen rather than waiting for them to happen *to* you.
~ Risk opens you up to new ideas, skills, opportunities and experiences.
~ Risk allows you to grow and discover new things about yourself and the world, to develop your strengths and talents.
~ Risk allows you to conquer your fears.
~ Risk is exhilarating. It makes you come alive.


What have been wanting to do for so long, and yet are having difficulties mustering up the courage??