Risk-Takers Win the Race

Author: August Clarke

“The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” – Mark Zuckerberg

The word “risk” might either excite you or fill your mind with fear. This is because, like most things, there are good risks and there are bad risks. When I talk about taking risks, I’m not thinking of something that puts you or anyone else’s life in danger. I’m talking about everyday things that scare you.

Sometimes we miss out on opportunities because we are afraid of failing. But doing so often leaves us with regret rather than relief. It’s easy to walk through life securely situated in your comfort zone. But I’ll tell you this:

Nothing feels better than when a risk pays off.

When you do something that scares you and it works out for you, that high can last for a long time. You’ll be proud of yourself, more confident in your ability to do things outside of your comfort zone, and also more willing to try new things in the future. Taking risks allows you to move forward in life and take advantage of opportunities you otherwise wouldn’t, as well as build up your self-esteem in the process.

I’ll give you an example.

I am terrified of public speaking. For one of my classes, we had to find or write a speech on something important to us, memorize it, and present it to our class. As someone who gets extremely anxious about such things, this assignment really scared me. Most of the kids in the class felt similarly, and they just picked a speech off the internet and presented that because they thought it would be less intimidating than writing their own.

I decided to take a different approach and write something more personal to me. The thought of standing in front of my class and exposing myself like that to my peers was initially terrifying. But in the end, the speech went really well. I had many people come up to me to tell me that my speech was really good, and my teacher even talked to me after class to compliment me on it. There was none of the judgment that I had been so afraid of.

It was three minutes out of my life. Three minutes that shouldn’t have been so scary, but were. And yet, I gained so much self-confidence in those three minutes, all because I was willing to put myself out there in a situation that made me feel uncomfortable. I don’t regret standing up in front of my classmates and saying what I said, but I do think I would have regretted missing out on an opportunity to express myself in a safe environment if I had just picked a generic speech off of YouTube.

I don’t regret standing up in front of my classmates and saying what I said, but I do think I would have regretted missing out on an opportunity to express myself in a safe environment if I had just picked a generic speech off of YouTube.”

The word “risk” will mean something different for everyone, but we all have things that scare us. For some, it might be as small as initiating a conversation with someone you don’t know well or asking a new friend to get together on the weekend. For others, it might mean asking out that girl or guy you’ve had your eye on for a while or auditioning for the leading role in your school’s musical. Whatever they may be, we shouldn’t run from these things, but allow ourselves to embrace them. Try to do something that scares you every day! The worst thing you can do for yourself is to allow a possibility to become a “what if” because you were too afraid to see what might happen.