It’s too easy to develop a routine in your life and stick with it, but if your days are monotonous, when will anything change? When will you have any fun? It might seem scary, but it’s important to take risks sometimes. Put yourself out there more, or in a different way, and see what new doors open for you. Here are seven uncomfortable risks we need to take to live a better life.
1. Admit life isn’t all good.
This may seem like a depressing note to start off on, but it’s important to acknowledge. Too often, people think they need to be happy and optimistic all the time. That’s not realistic. Life has ups and downs. Bad things will happen whether you take risks or not, but it’s important to know that one of the risks you need to take is to admit that life can be hard. It might be difficult to go out there without a smile on your face, pretending like everything is fine when you’re actually depressed, but it’s worth it. By acknowledging that life isn’t all good, you’re making yourself more relatable. You’re making it easier for when you’ll need more help later, instead of being the happy-go-lucky one everyone else comes to.
2. Be optimistic, but logical.
This isn’t the opposite of the first point, but rather a continuation of sorts. Don’t always get your hopes up. Don’t always assume that you’ll be the employee who gets promoted, because if you’re not, then it could crush you. It’s harder to come back from a major disappointment than it is to just keep on truckin’ from a minor setback. Be optimistic in thinking that you’re a great worker, qualified for the promotion, but be logical in admitting that you have many wonderful co-workers as well, and any of them could deserve that same promotion. It’s a risk to not assume that you’ll always get what you want, but it’s better to hold back extreme hope and instead keep focusing on the future.
3. Bend the rules.
This goes for if you’re a leader or a follower! Don’t be a stickler for the rules all the time. For example, let the kids stay up a little later if they’ve done all their homework. Sometimes just a small change in the rules can seem like a major reward. Also, don’t be afraid to bend the rules yourself, to forge a new path. So what if everyone in your office always does exactly what your boss says? Do you think you have a better way, and do you think you’ll have the results to follow up your reasoning? Then go for it! It’s better to bend the rules and try something new than stick with the same old thing and produce mediocre results.
4. Take advantage of every opportunity.
If you met someone socially who could help you make a major career move, would you feel comfortable selling yourself to them? It might seem weird to do so at a party, but you need to be prepared to take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. This doesn’t mean you need to have your business card at the ready every time you go to the grocery store, but just be prepared to talk if the chance arises. Too often people will hesitate and miss the chance, then spend far too long wishing they had reacted differently. Don’t be that person—take a risk!
5. Be authentic.
It might not sound like a risk, but it really is. How hard is it to be yourself in a major meeting at work? Or at a party where other guests might be more well off than you? You might feel like you’re being looked down on in both of those situations, but you’ll be judged more if you’re acting fake. People value honesty above all else, and being yourself is the easiest way you can be truthful. Also, if everyone was the same, we’d never get anywhere! We’d all have the same ideas and nothing would ever change. So embrace your true self and your ideas and show them to the world.
6. Tell people how you really feel.
OK, this one is scary. It’s so easy to hurt people’s feelings, even if you don’t mean to. It’s also scary to put yourself on the line by speaking up honestly, when you could just sit back and take it. But it’s important to tell people how you really feel—about them, about their ideas, about their attitudes. This applies in both your personal and professional life. Don’t let people walk all over you or take credit for your ideas. Stand up for yourself and speak the truth; you’ll find it’s not only easier than it seems, but the rewards are well worth it.
7. Stand up for what’s right.
It’s easy to sit back and expect someone else to fight the battle for greater good, but what if no one does? What if it’s all up to you? Could you do it? One of the hardest things in life is to be the only one fighting a battle, but if it’s worth it to you, then you should do it. You’ll be praised for doing something so difficult, and you’ll set an example for others who might want to speak up but don’t have the courage.