In my high school years, I was constantly worried about my future. I spent so much of my youth anxious. Then, about five months before I graduated, I got into a car accident. And you would think that this car accident was what changed my mind and my view on life but actually it was an article I read while recovering that really changed me. The Harvard Business Review had published an article called “The Hidden Dangers of Playing It Safe”. In this article, it discussed how in the media and in day-to-day life you don’t hear much about the failures that occur by not taking risks. You hear about the large-scale, catastrophic failures that ruin companies and men and cities alike. We tend to forget about the failure that is regret.
You grow up reading books and having the idea of fearlessness forced on you. As if having no fear is the end-all-be-all to a happy life. That you should take chances and high-risk moves without so much as blinking an eye. I never believed in that. And after reading that article I still didn’t believe that you should jump fearlessly into any great unknown. But I do believe you should be brave. See, bravery isn’t being fearless so much as it is acting despite fear.
Take a risk or live with regret:
The article made it clear to me that living your life cautiously and safe has the same likelihood of ending in failure as taking risks (if not more). So as someone who was and still is a planner, this was comforting. To know that at the end of the day, I can choose to go after what I desire knowing that the alternative is worse. That living a life where I played things safe and planned every single move wasn’t going to bring me joy or success. That I didn’t need to be fearless or have complete faith in my plans, I just needed to do them.
You won’t hear about the guy who never chased his dream, you won’t hear about the person who settled for a life that was comforting but empty. You will hear about the epic failure or mistake made by someone, but at least they were brave. And, maybe, just maybe, you might hear about someone that went for what the wanted and got exactly that.