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How do I learn to take risks in life?

Karen R Koenig
Psychology

This probably comes as no surprise, but nice girls aren’t big risk takers. You like to play things safe, you prefer to keep the stuff of life neat and tidy, and you love being in control. Often you’re attracted to people - friends, lovers, spouses - who are the opposite, who don’t worry a lot about consequences or what people think. A part of you would like to be more like them, and the other part simply shudders at the thought of climbing out on some of the limbs they dangle from. Now, I’m not suggesting you rush out and empty your savings account into a Las Vegas slot machine or take up bungee jumping, but I am advising you to loosen up. You may be so worried about consequences and how others will judge you that you’re paralyzed when it comes to breaking out of your nice girl role.

To escape this mind-set, you have to start taking teeny, tiny risks. Next time someone is rude to you, don’t smile back. You don’t need to twist his ears off, but you also don’t have to act as if he did you a favor. Refuse to do something you always do - make coffee, do the laundry, take the dog for a walk, clean up your kids’ toys, drive your teenagers somewhere at the last minute when you have other plans, stay late at work, give someone a lift when it’s way out of your way, plan a get-together, make a cake from scratch, let a whiner complain, scour the house from top to bottom before company comes, buy an expensive gift for someone you don’t like. I could go on and on. There are so many things you can refuse to do that will eventually leapfrog you up to the front of the line.

I understand it’s scary to take risks. Start small, but also begin thinking about the bigger ones. Maybe you’ve been unhappy in your marriage for decades. It’s okay to think about hurting your spouse’s feelings and disappointing your kids and going into counseling or considering leaving. Perhaps you’ve hated your job or your profession and have given up hope of ever finding a satisfying career. Just start noodling around in your head what you might do for a living. Could be you’ve been wanting to move to another part of the country. You don’t need to plan a yard sale yet. Instead, daydream about where you might want to live. Get the picture? Take the risk in your head where there aren’t any consequences until you’re ready to move into real-world action.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.