I’m a firm believer that taking chances in life is healthy – as long as those risks are calculated.
Sadly, we live in a society that is becoming more risk averse, so how do we overcome those fears?
By deliberately taking risks.
But before you go out to find a Russian to play roulette with, the risks I am talking about are calculated yet still remain challenging and of course fun!
Overcoming the fear of risk
I was trying to think of the first time I did something that was high risk. I was eleven and my Dad was teaching me to drive.
So perhaps this is more of an example of my Dad doing something high risk! In his defence, we were on a private road.
As I sat in the driving seat of the old Ford, straining to see over the wheel and touch the pedals at the same time, I was both frightened and excited.
Wanting to learn, eager to achieve, but knowing that if I made a mistake I could injure myself and my Dad. So no pressure there then.
But hey, I managed, and once I had used up all of the kangaroo petrol, it felt fantastic!
When I became old enough to take part in more adrenalin filled adventures, I was ready to feel that heady cocktail of fear and excitement, mixed with adrenalin and determination.
The very same combination that you feel whether you are jumping out of an aircraft or attending an interview for your dream job. Whether you are reaching speeds of 100km per hour on a zip wire or pitching to a new client.
How do you control that fear?
Try doing something that you find much more difficult, so that when you come to do other things, they don’t feel as scary.
How can adventure make your life easier?
Adventures and experiences are a wonderful way to learn about yourself and can really enhance what you are capable of. Once you learn this, you can use it in every aspect of your life.
These challenges fall into different categories and I would recommend that, over time you choose from all the categories.
However, to begin with it’s best to choose a category that you are most comfortable with, before progressing to the others.
These tend to need no previous experience and any training is given before or during the activity. So you go from zero to hero in a very short period of time.
The down side is that you do need to push yourself way out of your comfort zone. The advantage of this type of activity is the feeling of euphoria you will experience afterwards that will stay with you for a long time.
It’s that “wow if I can do that, I can do anything” moment.
Examples: aerobatic flight, zip wire, bobsleigh run.
These are adventures you experience as part of a group. Again they often don’t require lots of previous knowledge, as training is ongoing.
Doing something as part of a group can be a great introduction to adventure, as you all help each other through it. A strong camaraderie develops, even with people you don’t know very well.
Examples: white water rafting, sailing, skiing.
Slow Burning Challenge
As the title suggests, these are where you experience something that takes longer to achieve and usually where you have to allocate more of your time.
Often it is something that you continue to do long after the initial challenge is over.
These experiences aren’t always scary but they require a relentless commitment ….and there lies the challenge.
Examples: running a marathon, horse-riding, husky safari.
Once in a lifetime event
These are the one off things that often incorporate a melange of adventure, experience, culture and emotion.
Let’s face it, if you’re going to take part in a one off event you might as well pack as much in as you can!
For most of us, these tend to be well planned, as many have a hefty financial outlay or a lengthy time commitment, not to mention any training that you might need.
One off events are often life changing experiences as they encompass so much.
Examples: climbing Kilimanjaro, motorcycling through the Himalayas, voluntary work.
Top tips about taking risks
Start small and build your confidence – you wouldn’t go into an Indian restaurant and order a vindaloo as your first introduction to curry. You build up to it and it’s exactly the same with just about everything you encounter in life.
Take risks regularly – then you get more comfortable with it. It becomes part of your life and something that you take in your stride rather than stopping you dead in your tracks. You wouldn’t run a marathon without putting in some training beforehand. If you can get used to risk then it turns into something that isn’t so daunting.
Risk is relative – If you can overcome fear in a difficult situation, then you will find it much easier to control fear in a situation that has less risk. It’s like going on the scariest ride in the fairground first, then all the other rides are easy.
Failure is an important part of success – there will be times when things don’t work out. Times when the risk or challenge is just not right for you, and you know what? That’s fine – you are human…it’s allowed. You can’t win them all and learning how it feels when you don’t manage is really important and makes you all the more ready to face something the next time around.
And finally, what next?
1. Choose a challenge category
2. Decide on an experience that you would like to try
3. Set a date and start your preparations
You never stop being frightened when you do something new, but with practise, you learn how to harness fear, hold your nerve and take the chances and risks that present themselves to you as you skip through life.
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