The Importance of Risk-Taking

Until recently, I was by no means an avid risk-taker. In fact, I’d say that I tended to stay on the more cautionary side of things. However, I had an epiphany that made me question this mindset entirely. On my laptop, I had an application to study abroad filled out and ready to be submitted. However, as the deadline drew closer, I was more and more hesitant to click the button. I’m not sure why – I think I feared of both rejection and the prospect of being accepted. I then asked myself “what’s the worst thing that could happen?” and pressed submit.

After taking this single risk, I reevaluated how I had approached everything in life. I realized that I would get nowhere if I kept staying small and remaining in my comfort zone. I’ll be the first to admit that I would’ve been completely nervous about this idea less than a year ago. However, I’ve come to understand and appreciate risk-taking. It is through risks that humanity has progressed forward into the society we are today. Every single thing that has happened throughout history is the result of a risk being taken.

J.K Rowling was rejected 12 times before Harry Potter was finally published. Had she given up after that 12th rejection, we would not have the incredible phenomenon that is the Harry Potter franchise. Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard during his second year of studies to found Microsoft. Had he chosen to stay in school, technology might not have been what it is today. These inspiring stories serve to demonstrate just how rewarding a risk can be.

T.S Elliot once said, “only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go”. Through this quote, Elliot encourages us to take as many (calculated) chances as we can, even if they’re scary. In the past, I’ve let the fear of failure hold me back. In other words, I’ve played it safe. You probably have too. Yes, the unknown can be scary. No, things might not work out the way we expect them to. However, by pushing through fear, there is often something pretty remarkable waiting on the other side. In order to make the most out of life and grow as a human, you have to be willing to take a risk every once in a while. After all, the best things in life happen as a result of risk.

While I am still learning how to be a risk-taker, I want to spend 2019 as far outside of my comfort zone as I can. I want to expand myself beyond familiar territory and dive two feet first into new experiences. I want to thrive in a state of uncertainty. I want to discover more about myself and those around me. I want to invigorate my curiosity and confidence. I want to accept and embrace failure. This year, I am committed to taking risks – I hope you are too.