I decided to write about this when I remembered a story a girlfriend narrated to me. Her friend, Deji met this fine girl – emphasis on fine – girl was gorgeous plus she was intelligent as well and rich. Deji however, was just okay looking, graduated with a 3rd class and broke. Deji showed interest in the girl and your guess is as good as mine, she blatantly refused. In fact, she made a fool of him. So my friend called Deji and said to him, ‘This babe is way out of your league now, ahan’. And he gave her a puzzled look like she had gone bonkers and said ‘My dear, such a phrase doesn’t exist. Only two things matter, she’s a living creature and I like her!’ And she pressed further, ‘But she embarrassed you and she might do it again’, Deji said, ‘Well, I tried, better than keeping quiet’. Fast forward two years later, Deji and the girl were married. And it got me thinking, what if Deji had listened to her? What if he hadn’t stepped out in faith to pursue the object of his admiration?
That attitude, not being afraid to take risks, the willingness to step out in faith, to take a risk even if all details are not in place, to take a chance when you don’t know where exactly the road will end is one common attribute of achievers.
How many times have you come across people who have excellent skills and are in terrible jobs but refuse to move?! Even when better comes. Why? They are unwilling to take up a challenge; to leave their comfort zones. I see it all the time, people who cannot even imagine leaving the ‘comforts’ of their jobs; they get openings with great training opportunities, better exposure, maybe a pay cut and they turn it down. In the long run, they know they will be better off but they just won’t take that step.
Consciously or unconsciously, we limit our playing fields when we do not take risks; we create artificial boundaries when indeed there are none. I remember a while ago, I needed to change jobs. I had one, not fantastic at all. I worked long hours with little pay. And I knew I could get better with my skills. But there was a caveat; since the job took so much of my time, I had to resign and start a proper job search and study for entry tests. That meant sitting at home without a source of income. A lot of people told me not to resign. They said to me; a bird in hand is worth two in the bush. But I left. Guess what? I got a better job with better hours, better prospects and more pay.
So the question is why do we restrict ourselves? Why do we always confine ourselves? Why do we say things are impossible when we haven’t even tried?
For most people, the fear of failing keeps them from trying new things but in truth, you really cannot escape risk – especially in a nation like ours; by road, air, water or just walking in the street. What’s most important is deciding if the risk is worth it because the fewer risks you take, the higher your risk of failure. As John C. Maxwell said in his book, Failing Forward, risk should be evaluated not by the fear it generates in you or the probability of your success but by the value of the goal’. Amelia Earhart, the first female pilot to fly solo over the Atlantic Ocean said, ‘Decide whether or not the goal is worth the risk. If it is, stop worrying’.
Think about all the successful people we make reference to; Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Aliko Dangote, Strive Masiyiwa; they are all risk takers.
Now when I say take risks, I do not mean make rash and irrational decisions but hey live a little. Try something new. Put yourself out there. As Wayne Gretzky said ‘one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take don’t go in’. Plus you don’t win the lottery if you don’t buy the ticket.
So what’s that thing you always wanted to do? It could be as noble as achieving some career goals, starting a new business or as little as saying hello to that hawt guy or hawt guy who lives on your street, whatever it is, take a risk! You only live once. Really, what’s the worst that could happen?