By Dr. Dina Evan

There is so much talk these days, especially in the self-help and personal growth movement about creating your own reality. I own it. I teach it. However, there is something else we don’t talk about that is critical to that process — the courage to take risks.

Right now, life is filled with uncertainty and there are pivotal points along our path that afford us with opportunities in which one decisive moment could forever change our life. Those of us who did not have an easy childhood often hesitate to take these opportunity-filled steps because “the worst” has happened in our lives and we are afraid that the worst will come again. It seldom, if ever does, and operating from the pain or fear of the past holds us hostage in our lives with regard to creating the happiness and success we deserve and want.

We forget that never again will we be three feet high, or that gawky teenager, standing without a tool bag or life experiences, or the cognitive ability, or support system or height to tackle life head-on.  Still, we shrink back in fear unable to commit fully to our own lives.

Stephen Mills, a web columnist, says,”The willingness to take risks and the skill to make intelligent decisions between risk and irresponsibility will to a large degree determine the level of achievement that you will attain. Your biggest risk is not the possibility of failing — it is in not trying. Burn this
thought into your brain: The one sure way to guarantee failure to achieve your dream, is to play it safe.”

Some simple things to remember about risk taking:

  1. In reality, we encounter very few life threatening risks, while creating our best life.
  2. In reality, there are very few decisions that cannot be changed if necessary.
  3. If you are protecting yourself from being wrong, remember that standing in your ego leaves you  nowhere, except trapped in the status quo.
  4. Successful people do not equate failure with their own worth. They equate failure with success and the courage it takes to continue the trial and error process toward success. They consider failure a key to progress and learning. They are not afraid to fall.
  5. Neither do they stay down after a fall. They get back up and begin again.
  6. The fastest route to success is often right through the middle of what does not work, or the fear, to get to what does work.
  7. Being different is not a bad thing. Being different often denotes leadership, courage and character. You have to be different to be successful in life.
  8. Fear is often the flip side of excitement and doesn’t mean you should stop or not go forward. Listen to your gut and determine whether the fear is realistic or perhaps it’s just that something needs to be changed. Fear can also be simply because you are in unfamiliar territory. The unfamiliar is the exciting cutting edge to positive change.
  9. You will seldom lose anything of value that is not replaceable — your shirt, your income, your place of residence, your relationship. The only thing you can lose that is not replaceable is your integrity, your character and your quality of life.
  10. Look behind you at all the challenges that you have already overcome in life and remember that you have accumulated a world of tools and knowledge that will help you boldly create whatever you choose.

The question is very often not “Should I,” but rather, “How can I?”

Success energy is accumulative. Like a snowball rolling down a mountain, it builds on itself. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in life in which you stop to look fear in the face.” That is a profound truth. With every risk you take, with every success and failure that teaches you something, you grow stronger and more enthusiastic about
your path. Enthusiasm is contagious.

Most of what happens in life are things we cannot control. However, we can control our response to life and everything that happens in it and that response creates either success or apathy.

Make sure your response to life
is a resounding, “bring it on!”