“You drown not by falling into a river, but by staying submerged in it.” ~ Paulo Coelho
Risk is an important ingredient of living life. Of truly living it, not simply existing.
It makes everything worthwhile and it shows us that we can. Yes, sometimes it is as scary as hell to just do it, but it always pays off.
Even if you think you have failed, this is never true. You have always gained much more than you can ever think of. You have gained experience, you have gained confidence (you have the proof you can despite all the fears). And just like anything in life, the rule of compounding, or attraction, works here.
The more you do something, the more of it you can do. So if you were brave once, you would remember it. And that memory will give you the strength to be brave again. And then again and again. Until you are not afraid of taking risks anymore. Sure, some fears will always be there to draw you back but it will be easier for you to defeat it if you have done it before. You will know how, you will know it’s possible.
I believe that risking is an essential skill to develop. Moving away from your comfort zone is uncomfortable, clearly. But if you dare to do it, you will see it was totally worth it. Sometimes we need to keep going in the dark, withholding the hope and faith that we shall find light. It is never certain what tomorrow may bring so don’t plan too much and don’t burden it with expectations. Just take that step. Because once we look back we are almost always sorry for what we didn’t do, not for what we did.
Stop asking yourself what if, and find out. You will be glad you did. After all, the comfort zone is not as comfortable as it may first appear. Think of it, we all want to escape it, we all dream of adventures and something out-of-routine. And fortunately, the power to achieve this lies within us. We just have to risk jumping despite the fear of the fall because we may land right down on our dreams.
Of course, this is a difficult job. Humans, especially nowadays, are used to be in search of security. We have become averse to changes. We prefer to go back to the same old every time, simply because we are afraid of the new.
In the past, when people were nomads, changes were inevitable yet people knew the value of simple pleasures which we have long forgotten. Or at least the most part. In our attempts to escape change we are fighting nature’s law.
In a world where nothing is constant, we are constantly trying to make it such. No surprise that we often end up disappointed. Nothing is meant to last. Not me, not you, not even the Universe. But let me make a correction here. Nothing is meant to last the SAME. Maybe there is no time, maybe you will get a next life but nothing will ever be the same. Nothing.
When I was younger, watching ice skating with my dad, I was always puzzled when he said “hey, he/she knows how to fall” addressing some athlete’s close encounter with the ground. For a girl who is tripping most of the time and falling half of it, I was wondering not just how they do it but also why. In the end, who would want to practice falling? It’s painful and… shouldn’t they be practicing not falling? Sport is all about winning, I thought then, so why are they training how to fail?
Little by little, it became clear to me. If you know how to fall, it is less painful. And if it is less painful then you are less scared of it. And if you are less scared, you are more willing to give it all. All of yourself. When you know exactly what it means to be down, you are no longer afraid to aim for the top. And if you are not afraid to aim for the top, well, you might actually reach it.
So the next time you think the risk has brought you only pain and disappointment think again. If nothing else, it has taught you how to fall. It has shown you that you can survive the pain and that you can overcome the disappointment. It has proven you are strong enough and you can get up after the fall.
So what is there to be afraid of?
The only thing that should scare you are the missed opportunities, the lost chances. This is much much scarier than jumping and finding yourself on the ground. Because you will stay on the ground forever, even though deep down you know you can fly.
Don’t wait, start today, start small. Learn how to fall, so that it would not be too painful.
Once you become stronger, you will be able to tolerate greater pain and respectively, greater risk. And once you get to tolerate greater risks, you will face greater returns. And greater falls, of course. But if you trained yourself in the art of falling you will not end up shattered on the ground. You will simply get up, dust off and give it another try.