“I am learning to understand rather than immediately judge. I cannot blindly follow the crowd and accept their approach. I will not allow myself to indulge in the usual manipulating game of role creation. Fortunately for me, my self-knowledge has transcended that and I have come to understand that life is best to be lived and not to be conceptualized. I am happy because I am growing daily and honestly not knowing where the limit lies. To be certain, every day there can be a revelation or a new discovery. I treasure the memory of misfortunes. It has added more to my bank of fortitude.” – Bruce Lee
Taking Risks In Life
When we think of risk, images of hand gliding, sky diving and rock climbing may come to mind—activities in which one false move can mean death of the most dramatic kind. But risk doesn’t need to involve danger all the time; it needs to involve only uncertainty at times. Risk is with us even when we make a new friend or try a new hair salon. I found this out though my own experience.
I had the opportunity to go abroad for a a teaching job, to teach English. Because of my inexperience, I was stranded in Bogota International airport for 11 hours, feeling completely lost and frightened. It was my first time abroad and I actually missed the flight to Pereira 3 times because of my naivety. Moments such as this can be scary and we’re not always ready to engage it. The experience at the airport itself had me seriously doubting my abilities and loathing myself for taking such a huge risk coming all the way to South America without evaluating the difficulties I would be encountering.
Despite facing hardships in risking my future, I realized that the risk in accepting the job did me good. The courage I had to muster to overcome hard times makes me proud of all my achievements be it small or big. It also provided an opportunity for internal growth. Initially I thought the decision to travel to the other side of the planet would be the riskiest thing I would ever undertake; but after the unfamiliar became familiar, getting acquainted to a different culture and environment I wanted to venture out and explore some more.
With renewed determination, I traversed down to Peru, but again, things it did not turn out as planned. If I wanted to stay in a foreign country for some more time I had to find something to do; I was running out of money. I felt disappointed and powerless. My situation was so bad that I realized that if I did not get another job, I would be literally starving. I somehow managed to make it through this phase by finding courage through my difficult travel experiences.
One of the greatest things about traveling is that, you get the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life. And listening to their life stories can be so inspirational. I was inspired to take even bigger risk in my life - I decided to open my own sushi restaurant in Ecuador. But the decision didn’t come easy. The cold fear of trying something completely new, fear of failure, fear of unknown and the fear of venturing out of our comfort zone is an incredible feeling. Fear itself becomes so tangible. The thought that I got an opportunity to try out something new altogether and then giving that opportunity a miss began to trouble me. I knew it then that if I did not grab the opportunity, my past would haunt me forever. I finally opened the restaurant of my dreams with sheer hard work and determination. I was petrified, ecstatic and my mind a twisted mess.
For one month I single handedly struggled, acting as the chef, waitress, dishwasher and the entertainer. I found myself paralyzed by fear but the strong will to succeed and the passion I had for my business helped me in keeping up the competition with the next door big businesses. I didn’t make millions of dollars but the experience itself will always help boost my ego and be proud of it for the rest of my life. Risk is, by nature scary, it’s uncertain and unpredictable. You’re heading off into uncharted territory. But risk allows you to grow and discover new things about yourself and the world, to develop strengths and talents.
Many of us never follow our dreams, never do many of the things we want to do, and never venture far from where we are right now. Often our fears hold us back. We don’t want to look foolish, be embarrassed, or feel like a novice. We fear failure and fear of the unknown often gets the better of our intuition to succeed. But in every human being there is an innate longing for greatness. That longing can never be fulfilled without a willingness to change, to improve and to try something new. Some degree of fear will always be there; it is part of who we are. The question is if we are prepared to challenge ourselves to rise up. Rather than making fear an obstacle, learn to work through it to accomplish your goals. Believe that dreams do come true if we are willing to be challenged. How will we know what we’re good at or enjoy doing, unless we give it a shot!
Focus on what could go well. Just as life will have its high and lows, taking a risk may come with great excitement and terror. Life is inherently risky but that shouldn’t be seen as a hindrance in achieving our dreams and goals. All we got to do is take a willing step forward and grab what’s offered to us. Life will not always go the way you planned it, but if you are willing, there is always joy in trying instead of chanting what if. You know at least you tried. Even if you make mistakes, it will help you grow and help you make the next step right. So go on! Jump out of that plane (with a parachute of course) into the world of your dreams.
“Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. For feedback or comments please email: firstname.lastname@example.org”.