When you think of risk, what pops into your head? Is it something scary, such as hang-sliding or dying on Mount Everest… or is it an activity where one false move means certain death? If we are being honest, truthfully, risk does not have to involve danger. Risk can be defined as in intentional interaction with uncertainty.
“Uncertainty is a potential, unpredictable, unmeasurable and uncontrollable outcome. Risk is a consequence of action that was taken despite uncertainty” says Wikipedia. Rick can therefore be defined as ‘activities with uncertain outcomes’.
Taking calculated risks is an essential part of what makes us human and is crucial to our development. Our risk-taking ancestors survived because they took chances to adapt to their changing environment. Today the same principle applies. “To grow, we need to experience challenges – whether we’re 4, 14 or 40’ says psychologist Michael Ungar. I’d add ‘until our dying breath’.
Facing things that makes us uncomfortable has advantages, whether we succeed or fail: we become emotionally resilient, confident, satisfied and engaged with life. Thankfully we don’t have to parachute from a plane to reap the benefits of taking risks. Choosing to be creative everyday means we are taking some risk already. Any time that we pay attention to areas of our life that are challenging, lacking or intriguing to us, we can choose to take some risk.
That could mean being open to the universe after a divorce to find a new mate or to change our artistic medium to express ourselves better on an easel. We embrace the adventure that is uncertainty. “Do one thing every day that scares you”, Eleanor Roosevelt said.
Will taking a risk cause anxiety? Yes!
Researcher Hans Seyle found there are two kinds of stress. Distress is negative stress and eustress is positive stress. “Eustress”, or healthy anxiety motivates or focuses our energy. Healthy anxiety is “just right” anxiety. The kind we need to make us creative. So obviously too much anxiety becomes toxic to our performance and paralyzes it.
Too little anxiety is toxic as well, as it is puts us in an ‘I’m bored’ state. So, the level of risk we choose to take should also include ‘just right’ anxiety for us. This will obviously look different to you than to me, but, for both of us, it will involve a ‘stretch’ from our head, heart or gut center (or all three).
Pioneer Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard, explains in his 1844 treatise that anxiety is the dizzying effect of freedom, of paralyzing possibility and of the boundlessness of one’s own existence. He writes, “Anxiety is altogether different from fear and similar concepts that refer to something definite, whereas anxiety is freedom’s actuality as the possibility of possibility”.
We intuitively know that our best learning takes place beyond our comfort zone from our heart, head or gut perspective. At least that is what happened to me when I left my corporate job of 19 years. I had to take a big risk, relinquish the golden handcuffs and take a leap of faith in to the unknown. Through the process, I discovered more passions. These included living off the grid in mountains, building a cabin and trail running on old mining paths and meeting my soulmate whom I would marry.
There’s always a sense of satisfaction that emerges when we try something and succeed, proving ourselves that we are capable of doing the task. Creativity is born!
The coolest thing about taking a risk is that it may be fun. Neuroscientists explain how this bliss happens with biochemistry. Taking risks and engaging in new activities releases dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter that’s part of the brain’s reward system. That means you can call risk taking the ultimate cure for boredom. It’s the best way (that I know) to wake up and feel alive. We can have our say in our own destiny-by taking a risk- versus being dominated by our own circumstances.
Read After: The 12 Biggest Life Secrets Forgotten By Mankind
Indeed, every chance we take teachers us something about ourselves and leads us along a mysterious and long term creative path.
If you want something you’ve never had then you’ve got to do something you’ve never done. And, as Vincent van Gogh said, “People are often unable to do anything, imprisoned as they are In I don’t know what kind of terrible, terrible cage.”
Any risks you’ve taken you’d like to share – that reaped your creative benefits? Was the risk from a head, hear or gut perspective? Let us know and happy risk taking!
Thanks for reading my post. My core message of everyone is creative resonates with people of all ages and walks of life. So, I invite all to become the best version of themselves that they can be and find true meaning by pursuing long term creative quests.