A mundane life is one without taking chances, where opportunities are wasted because people let them be. Everything remarkable in life requires a little bit of risk to execute – like the guy who quit his six-figure job to live like he did on college to launch a now successful startup, or the girl who met her now husband on vacation and flew to meet him halfway around the world. We have all heard the stories, and tend to remember them.
The label of a risk taker, however, seems to have a negative connotation to it, conjuring associations with harm, hazards or destitution. But by taking risks, we don’t mean foolish, potentially compromising ones. Different than engaging in risky behaviour, the only potential harm is not taking these types of risks, which may be thought of instead as “opportunities worth seizing.” However you phrase it, the risk takers and opportunity-seizers are living it better, and here is why…
You could move across the country to start a life with someone, only to have the relationship crumble a few months later; or invest in a business venture that falls flat, but at least you won’t regret not trying, nor will you subsequently wonder what could have been. With every life failure you become more seasoned, stronger and astute. We’d be hard pressed to find an urban young professional out there who hadn’t done a thing or two in his or her younger years that they have regretted. Those same YPs will tell you that they learned from those experiences.
But there are things you probably regret not doing already in our relatively young lives – like applying for that exchange program, accepting that job or following that sexy stranger’s lingering glance through with an exchange of dialogue. You don’t want to question whether you lived up to your true potential, whether you tried your hardest and what your life could have become if only. People who make both their mark and a lasting impression don’t think in terms of should have, would have or could have – they just do. The only regret they have is what they didn’t do.
You Are Not Stagnant
Risk takers are not the type to accept and settle with the ordinary, routine pattern in life where they are no longer challenged and growing individually and in relation to others. They maintain a “go-getter” mentality and will not sit around wondering and watching the world pass them by, either because they lack confidence or drive, are afraid of failure, or afraid of success. They don’t perpetually play it safe and stable and are always looking ahead as to how they can better and chellenge themselves. It must be noted that not all risks need to be potentially life altering. Some start small, like trying a new form of fitness or type of food. Once a habit is built of trying new things, however, you will likely experiment with some bigger risks.
Taking risks leads to discovery of new things that may have otherwise been overlooked, like a new hobby, passion or career path. Without taking risks, you might never have discovered your city’s underground art scene, found that hidden gem of a hole in the wall restaurant, traveled to what is now your favourite vacation spot or (finally!) found the love of your life. Furthermore, risk-taking inspires self-discovery as you learn to refine your tastes, identify what you like and don’t, what was worth it and not, and what resulted in the most satisfaction.
You Have a Story
Whether you succeed or fail, you have an impressive story to tell at group dinners, dates and everything in between. Risk-takers are both intriguing and inspiring to others, especially to those who don’t have the courage or the tools to take them themselves. If the risk resulted in the best-case scenario outcome, it always makes for a better story, but even if it doesn’t, the story reveals a specific character trait that others likely find admirable. Risk-takers who have succeeded are seen as impressive and inspiring; it is these types of people whose success story is shared among others, whether he or she shares it or not.
Live in the Moment
Risk takers may be more capable of living in the moment because their mentality may become a way of life. They tend to be less analytical and “safe” with their decisions. He or she may jump on a plane last minute, dive off that cliff and into the water, or may initiate a well-received kiss without over-thinking it. They are more inclined to identify opportunities and seize the moment, not wanting to regret, maintaining a Mark Twain mentality that, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do.” They take the chance because they know that moment will not happen again.
Keep in Mind
This isn’t to say to go out and blow your entire bonus at the casino in one night, embark on occasional drug binges or try to steal your best friend’s significant other to avoid a life of regret. We speak of the enriching types of risks, with the key difference between a risk and a potentially dangerous gamble being the consequences. Once certain opportunities and moments are lost, they may never present themselves again. Go for it.