The ability to take calculated risks is an essential human trait, crucial to our development as a species and as individuals. Take the following tips to heart, and start living.
Form a Net
The fear in taking a relationship risk comes from the what happens if your feelings aren't reciprocated, if it doesn't work out. To assuage that fear, have a sturdy support net in place.
"Create a rich, connected life so you know that, even without any one relationship, you have purpose and passion," says Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. Develop friendships, contribute to the community, work at jobs that are meaningful and rewarding. This way, if a relationship ends, "there's a hole there, but it doesn't wipe you out."
Follow Your Desire, Not Your Fear
To take a risk is to accept a challenge, not to act foolishly or carelessly. Find things that make you feel slightly uncomfortable but still intrigue and excite you.
Make a list of 30 activities that attract you: acting in a play, writing poetry, learning Italian, planting a garden, living in a foreign country, playing in a band. Next, circle the things that seem to hold the most juice, and pick one to pursue. Don't throw yourself into it all at once; start with the bunny slopes -- sing for your friends, say, rather than audition for a band. Take it step by step, backing down a level if you feel panicked rather than excited.
Enjoy the Ride
One of the benefits of risk-taking is simply that it's fun. Discover new opportunities to awaken your senses and enjoy something for its own pleasurable sake.
- Try a new sport or activity that appeals to you, like in-line skating, windsurfing, or scaling a climbing wall at the gym.
- Go skinny-dipping.
- Break out of your wardrobe rut, and wear something out of character.
- Chat up an attractive stranger.
- Forgo your usual lunch and order something you've never tasted before.
- Take a spin on the Coney Island Cyclone or another amusement park ride.
- Give your hairstylist free rein with the scissors, and totally change your look.
- Treat yourself to a solo dinner in a nice restaurant.
Read about the Importance of Taking Risks.
Text by Frances Lefkowitz