“Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little course, and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice. Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Are you a risk taker?
What was it like the first time you did something? Were you excited or afraid? What did you think would happen?
For some people it is the first time standing on the edge of a diving board. It is that uneasy feeling of the board moving up and down and perhaps it is the fear of the unknown, not knowing what will happen that petrifies many people before they take that first leap. Push the board down and it propels you upward and then it retreats while your feet lose contact with the board surface and by propelling yourself forward you clear the end of the board. With arms and legs flailing about and the body in free fall towards the water the next challenge is getting into the water without hitting the water broadside. Kersplash … the next part is getting back above the surface of the water and in a few seconds your head breaks through and with one big gulp of air you realize you made it and a sense of relief passes through the body.
Getting to the end of the diving board for the first time and making the decision to leap, jump or dive was an experience that only happens once. Once the event is over it is either safe to do it again or not. For most people the experience is worth repeating again and again. After a few tires then experimenting and doing new launches off the board seems OK, fear now become excitement.
It was a risk to make that first jump at least it felt risky. How did you get there?
1. You made a decision (ok, I am ready, I am going to do it)
2. You anticipated the event (increased heart rate)
3. You took action (overcame the internal resistance)
4. You observed the results (it was better than you thought)
5. Your confidence increased (it was safe, go do it again)
If you go back to that very first time, you may have watched a friend go jump off of the diving board and as they were “in the air” they yelled “come try it, it’s fun!”) and as you watched you were thinking “maybe it is or I’m not so sure it will work for me” and it may have been a moment where all you could respond with “No, it doesn’t look like fun and I have to go”. A quick risk reduction step, an excuse to do something else, so that you wouldn’t have to take that first step.
You left the swimming pool and walked away, not taking that change, or risk to leap off the diving board into the cool water. You missed having the fun of flying into the air and landing with a splash of laughter and joy, thinking next time I’ll try, next time I’ll jump into the air and experience what looks like to be so much fun, only if it weren’t so scary.
Not long ago I was talking with someone who wanted to make a change but was afraid of taking that step. Fear gripped his words, ” I’d like to but (notice the but) I’m not sure it will work”, and so in a moment of indecision backed off, and retreated to a place that felt safer. It was like walking away from the pool knowing that everyone else was having fun but that first jump, that first dive, just looked like it was too risky to take, maybe next time.
What are you waiting for, next time?
What is your risk taking score?
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Anaïs Nin