Without risk, we all stagnate


Listen: Without risk, we all stagnate

Career Opportunities podcast logoI think it is true of any long-term relationship, but I began to notice that when I brought up new ideas to my wife, her response often began with a host of reasons why that particular idea wouldn’t work. There seemed to be a never-ending list of reasons we shouldn’t do something. At one point, I stopped her and said, “Instead of finding all the reasons we shouldn’t do something, why don’t we try and find one reason to do it.” I realized we had fallen into a common trap in life…that of risk avoidance. New things are risky and prone to failure. Still, life without new thoughts and new challenges quickly degenerates into boredom and stagnation. Will we fail, sure, but we may also succeed beyond our wildest dreams. I think the risk is worth it.

Still, life without new thoughts and new challenges quickly degenerates into boredom and stagnation. Will we fail, sure, but we may also succeed beyond our wildest dreams. I think the risk is worth it.

Whether in work or life overall, I often talk with people who are stuck on the wrong side of this equation. They know something is wrong, but the act of reaching out — of doing something new and different — scares them. Even though they know something is wrong and are often angry about it, they can’t seem to take the first step towards resolving the issue. They simply stew and complain more and more each day. I am sure you know or work with people like this. It seems a common problem. Furthermore, no matter what you might suggest, they remain immovable.

The truth is, like most issues in life, the person has to recognize a problem before they can confront it. They can blame their unhappiness on a host of other issues — their job, their spouse, their earnings — but the true problem lies within their own fear. Until they come to grips with that, they are failing to see the true and deeper cause.

So, does any of this sounds like you? I know that, on occasion, it describes me perfectly. I can get comfortable and cocooned and seek out a safe little hole sometimes. Then I start to feel the prickle of dissatisfaction. I get grumpy and can’t seem to place my finger on the cause. If I am lucky, I quickly realize the problem and start to look for a new project, a new place, a new taste, a new smell — something to break me out of my comfy little hole. Sure, it seems counter-intuitive. Comfort should not bring dissatisfaction, but too much comfort, for too long, can do just that.

If you are feeling a little dissatisfied today, here are a few, low-risk ways to shake things up and get yourself moving again. They might seem small, but they can work wonders.

  • Take a walk, preferably in a neighborhood you have never visited before.
  • Go to a different restaurant for dinner, or at least, order something different at your favorite one .
  • Talk to new people — online and offline
  • Randomly visit a new web site — use StumbleUpon (http://stumbleupon.come/) or other random site link, like the random link in Wikipedia (http://wikipedia.org)
  • Visit your library and pick up a book or magazine you have never read before
  • Whatever gets you out of your rut and back on the track to something new
  • Even better, do it with a friend!

Are you feeling dissatisfied with your current surroundings? Is everything seeming a bit too dull and grey? Maybe you aren’t taking enough risks in your life. No one says you have to jump out of an airplane, or careen down a river with Class 5 rapids. You only need to do one small thing to get you moving again. Share your own concerns and methods for breaking free on the Career Opportunities Forums at http://forums.friendsintech.com. We’d all love to hear what works for you!

Next Friday: February 8, 2008: Scared by too many possibilities

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