Is taking a leap of faith too daunting? Are you torn between the possible negative consequences? Most people prefer to deal with a predictable, certain outcome, even if it’s negative, over taking a risk with an uncertain fate. Are you one of them?
Or are you tired of coloring inside the lines? What if there is something greater, something life-changing, out there and you’re not sure how to take the risk necessary to reach your goal? We’ve got your back.
Today, we’re bringing you 7 secrets to succeeding as a risk taker. Ready to have your life changed? Then let’s dive right in!
Zero to One
by Peter Thiel
⏱ 13 minutes reading time
🎧 Audio version available
Don’t Take Risks While You’re Not Thinking Clearly
The first step to succeeding as a risk taker is to only make these risky and adventurous decisions when you’re thinking clearly. Everyone has experienced that moment after a wild night out, or after a few drinks at the bar, when they think they’re ready to move to Alaska to pursue professional ice skating, but this is the difference between a risk taker and a careless, impulsive person.
The same goes for those get rich quick schemes that force you to decide on the spot. Let us tell you, anything will sound great and valid when you’re not in a clear state of mind. This doesn’t just apply to substances. This also applies to making decisions in a fit of anger, in an episode of grief, or when you feel like you’re at the peak of happiness.
Of course, if you happen to be intoxicated in any form– and if you happen to be surrounded by equally intoxicated people, then whatever you propose will sound as genius as the next iPhone. Decision making, especially decisions that hold risk, has a proven track record of epic failure. The next time there is an important, life-changing choice to make, keep a clear head.
Don’t Listen to NaySayers
Elon Musk, founder of Paypal and billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, once said,
“If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.”
The lesson here is to never stop pursuing your own happiness to order to satisfy someone else.
With risk taking comes the extra risk of having naysayers try to intervene. Chances are, when you share your plans to pursue something ambitious, some people may tell you to give up before you even start and get a real job like “everyone else”.
What should you do when you encounter these naysayers? These dream killers? Don’t listen to them! Would you rather spend the rest of your life following someone else’s rules? Walking the path someone else laid out for you? Or would you rather do something that’s meaningful to you, something that truly matters?
Critics will prevent you from chasing your goals and achieving dreams they deem too far-fetched.
But you know what? There is something phenomenal in you! You could be the next Bill Gates, Elon Musk, or Timothée Chalamet of the world, and it’s your responsibility, and your responsibility alone, to share that greatness with the world.
Don’t let anyone affect that determination. Your focus should be on surrounding yourself with people who inspire and encourage you to pursue your dreams.
One of the most prominent speakers about the subject of risk taking is Dean Bokhari, a writer, speaker, and philanthropist. He pointed out famous playwright Neil Simon once wrote,
“Don’t listen to those who say ‘you taking too big a chance.’ Michelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor, and it would surely be rubbed out by today. Most important, don’t listen when the little voice of fear inside you rears its ugly head and says ‘they all smarter than you out there. They’re more talented, they’re taller, blonder, prettier, luckier, and they have connections.”
I firmly believe that if you follow a path that interests you, not to the exclusion of love, sensitivity, and cooperation with others, but with the strength of conviction that you can move others by your own efforts—and do not make success or failure the criteria by which you live—the chances are you’ll be a person worthy of your own respects.”
Have a Growth Mindset
Famous actress Mary Tyler Moore once said, “Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.”
See, there’s a difference between taking pointless risks that lead nowhere and to taking calculated risks that will pay off in an epic way later on. And there’s a big difference between the two kinds of people who take these risks. Just one word: mindset.
Having a growth mindset makes all the difference. Successful people who are comfortable with risk taking know all too well that there are bound to be highs and lows, success and failures.
That’s when the truly successful risk taker rises to the challenge. Instead of backing out when the road becomes bumpy, they focus on growing and on moving past it. There’s actually a name for those who do the opposite, called a “fixed mindset.”
These are the people who don’t change the way they think; who get stuck in life and don’t move on, even if they’re the ones holding themselves back. As Helen Keller once said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all”!
Learn From Your Mistakes
Mistakes are blessings in disguise. As Dean Bokhari said, “Learn from making mistakes, rather than letting mistakes make you.”
Of course, everyone knows making mistakes can be frustrating, but that in no way means you should let your mistakes dictate the rest of your life, or as Bokhari put it, don’t let them make you.
Former United States first lady Rosalynn Carter nailed this secret by saying,
“You must accept that you might fail; then, if you do your best and still don’t win, at least you can be satisfied that you’ve tried. If you don’t accept failure as a possibility, you don’t set high goals, and you don’t branch out, you don’t try–you don’t take the risk.”
“Be authentic” is a bit of an umbrella-like piece of advice. When it comes to risk taking, being authentic may be one of the most beneficial secrets you are now privy to. It means the risk you’re going to take is genuinely yours and yours alone.
It’s important that you are authentic to yourself and your beliefs and not thoseof others, lest it lead to disaster and regret. How many times have people taken risks because someone else in their lives, a spouse, a friend, or a family member, took that risk first?
Don’t Be Afraid Of Failure
Ah, the biggest bump in the road for successful risk takers. This is what stops people from even trying. It’s the always hovering fear of failure.
If this is going to work, then you need to learn to deal with this fear and not let it dictate your future decisions.
Yes, it’s understandable how putting yourself out there and taking a chance on something uncertain may make you hesitate– but that hesitation is good! As long as it doesn’t paralyze you.
The enemy of success of not failure itself, but the fear of failure. This is also the same fear that leads to us not putting in too much effort, just so you can shrug off the results if the outcome isn’t ideal.
Isn’t the goal to throw ourselves at life and give it our best?
It’s better to try hard and fail and then learn from it than never trying at all. Next time may be the time you succeed. Either way, that’s okay!
Success is Directly Proportional to the Size of the Risk
And our number one secret to succeeding as a risk taker? It’s that success is directly proportional to the risk you’re willing to take.
If you decide to go on a limb and ask your crush out, you’re taking a risk. When you ask your boss for the promotion you want, that’s a risk. When you quit your job for another career, that’s a risk.
But what if all these risks work out? The results are dramatically fulfilling. The moment you take that risky leap of faith is nerve-wracking, but the impact may be worth it.
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