I’ve never been much of a risk-taker. I don’t dive head first into things and I prefer to have a plan (or at least a rough outline) before I take a chance. Not surprising, right? I assume a lot of people are like this. We like comfort, we like what we know.
Lately I’ve been thinking about the positives and negatives of being cautious, in life, exercise, relationships, etc.
-You can make well-thought out decisions and prepare (as much as you can) for the outcomes
-You reduce the risk of unfavorable consequences
-You probably feel more at ease in your actions
On the other hand…
-You might be too slow at making decisions that you never actually make one
-You can overthink a simple situation and blow it out of proportion (aka overreacting)
-You get stuck in your comfort zone and prevent yourself from growing, learning and excelling
A big theme in my life right now is learning when it’s OK to be cautious and when I should take risks. Do I have to choose one or the other? Do cautious-risks exist?
We all know the quotes about leaving our comfort zone and taking chances. Truthfully, some of the best things that have happened to me have been a result of risks. However, many have happened as result of careful decisions. The fact that there’s no concrete formula for life (or for anything, really) confuses, irks and excites me at the same time. In both small and profound aspects I struggle with when to take risks…
I don’t know if I should add more salt to the dish, I might ruin it and make it too salty.
I can’t tell if I’m feeling phantom pains or if I’m really injured. I probably shouldn’t run at all. (See: last weekend)
This job might be a really good fit, but I don’t want to jump the gun in case something better comes along.
There’s something to be said for being smart (trust me I toot my own horn in that aspect), but, again, I firmly believe that good things happen outside of our comfort zones. Why not combine the two? You don’t have to “throw all caution to the wind” and go skydiving just to prove you can leave your comfort zone. You can do it strategically and with baby steps, sometimes. That’s not to say it won’t give you butterflies, but I think you can break a big goal/decision/action down smaller.
For instance, I’m did this last weekend with the Princess Half Marathon. The idea of re-aggrivating my stress fracture made me want to throw up and stay far away from the race. But, frankly, if it was just me psyching myself out and not actual injury pain I would have done myself a disservice to not attempt to run. Holding myself back out of worry and fear won’t do me any good…in running and life.
The half marathon showed me that I can be cautious AND take chances. I can take calculated risks. If I can do this with running, why not carry it over to other parts of my life?
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So this is me (vaguely) declaring that I’m going to take those small steps, literally and figuratively, to improve and grow. I’m going to buck up and add that extra salt to the dish because how will I know if I don’t try? Big things happening over here, obviously.
I will never ever be the person to say “F this, I’m moving across the country,” but I don’t have to be. I can be a calculated-risk taker. One who is slightly scared about the unknown but has thought it through enough to take that chance.