I had breakfast prepared and the table set when Dharma arrived for my weekly lesson. As soon as he hopped onto my lily pad, he gave me the once-over. "Irwin, you look terrible. What's wrong, my boy? Is it something that I can help with?" I was a little embarrassed to answer him but knew he'd never let it go if I didn't. "Sir, I didn't sleep at all last night. My mind is heavy and it's beginning to affect my whole life." I then proceeded to tell him about my troubles. After a few minutes of patiently listening, Dharma replied, "Tadpole, a frog's life shrinks or expands in proportion to his courage. What you need, son is courage. The courage to face your decisions squarely in the face and then proceed. You'll never know what the outcome might be if you don't, first, have the courage to try. You must remember that taking risks won't always mean success. But therein lies the learning portion of life." I wasn't sure I believed him, although I had no reason not to. "Dharma continued. "The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried." My first thought was this. "But why should I take risks? Isn't that, well, kinda risky?" Dharma rolled his eyes a little but then gave me a few really good reasons why we should all at least try the things that scare us.
1. Risk gives us the opportunity to open up to our talents (and we all have them), interests, abilities, and dreams.
2. Risk teaches us to set clear goals and then follow through.
3. Risk allows us to be proactive which also makes us feel more powerful. Risk gives us the change to make things happen for ourselves rather than to just stand by and let others determine our fate.
4. Risk opens us up to new ideas, skills, opportunities, and experiences.
5. Risk allows us to grow and discover new things about ourselves and the world we live in. It helps us to strengthen our skills and talents.
5. Risk allows us to conquer our fears.
6. Risk makes us come alive. it is exhilarating!
"Irwin, there are two kinds of extreme risk-takers; those who are afraid to take even reasonable risks...wanting guaranteed results, while others take risks easily...believing that their willingness to take that leap makes them courageous. Which one do you want to be? The one whose life is flat and lackluster or the one whose life is filled with exciting new challenges and opportunities?" That decision didn't take much thinking. "Dharma, I want to have a rich and fulfilling life!"
"The process of taking risks may lead to failure, Little One, but even that can make us a better frog by increasing the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. We learn by experience. And we can learn to overcome our fears. And here's how."
1. Take calculated risks rather than foolish ones.
2. Project forward. Either in your mind or on paper. What are the risks and how can you prepare for them? is there a Plan B?
3. Analyze your risks. What are the potential risks and how can you minimize them? Do your homework. What information can you gather that might better prepare you.
3. Consider your timing. Will conditions improve in 1 or 2 years? if so, use this time to learn as much as you can through research, save some money, and then set the stage for your success.
4. Look at your worst-case scenario. By looking at the worst thing that could happen you can intelligently decide if the potential gain is worse the risk. Just remember, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Only you can determine if something's too risky.
5. Look at what the cost might be for not taking the risk. Is not taking the risk affecting your health, relationships, your happiness, and fulfillment...your satisfaction with your life?
6. Look before you leap. Do your research and know as much as you can about whatever it is you want to do. Do a trial run, if you can, and definitely talk to others who have accomplished whatever it is you want to do.
7. Honor your level of risk tolerance. You need to have some sense that you can handle the challenges you're giving yourself. Some people can tolerate more risk than others. If you bite off too much, you're likely to end up sabotaging yourself. Start small, and build up your risk "muscle." And finally,
8. Be clear on your objectives. What is it that you want to achieve? What does your desired outcome look and feel like? Ultimately, you must decide if the risk feels right. If you've followed the advice here, you'll know if the risk is worth any potential loss or failure. usually, it is.
"Irwin, whether you succeed or fail, taking a risk will stretch you and give you faith in your strength and abilities and the confidence to do even more. I hope my words and advice have helped with your decisions." They really had. I felt so much better and, in fact, was actually feeling a bit sleepy and no longer restless. My stress was easing. I knew what I had to do. I knew what I wanted to do! But first I needed to get a little shut-eye. Even doing the breakfast dishes can wait.
Please "hop back by" tomorrow for a celebration of poetry. I may not always "get it" but poetry is an important part of language. I'll have a few interesting facts about poetry that may inspire you to try your hand at writing some! Until then, nighty-nite.