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Are you afraid to take risks - 8 tips to make you braver

One of life's greatest ironies is how often people complain about their circumstances, but rarely (if ever) do anything about them.

It's not that we lack the desire or intention to change our lives, it's the change itself that is scary and risky. Even when people are unhappy with their current situation, we tend to sit back and just wait for better things to happen (which they do sometimes, but more often never). For that very reason we miss many opportunities, even when they are staring us straight in the face.

So here it is (he said authoritatively):
Most of us live our lives routinely. We get up at a certain time, get ourselves ready for our day and then jump into a sea of responsibility that we surround ourselves with. We don't think too much about it, we just do what we're supposed to do and tick off things from our to-do-list and move on to the next. When thoughts like Is this all there is in life?”or ”I'm bored and want to do something else ”suddenly creeps in, we know that it's time to look for new opportunities, but ...

... we tend to spend lots of time to dream about what we want to be different. Whether it comes to losing weight, finding a new job or a partner or write a book, we are too busy in the world of dreams to think for a second on how to get where we want in real life. We dream – we don't plan – because we know that change requires hard work and the mere thought of it is exhausting enough to prevent us for even trying to change things for the better.

And as if that wasn't enough, we worry. What if we go through all the hard work to change things and it won't work? Or, even worse, what if it's not what we want after all ...

Stop! Here's the secret:
The thing about risks is that if we take them and if we have calculated the consequences before hand, we get more confidence even though the end result may not be exactly the way we expected it to be. We learn that we can deal with difficult situations that life throws our way and we also learn to bounce back after failures. Together, these two experiences is a massive asset, which in turn leads us to become more willing to try new and different things in the future. I know it's like this. My whole life has been one challenge after the other and facing new challenges doesn't bother me anymore. Not at all.

Still scared of taking risks?
Here are some ideas that will strengthen your ”risk taking-muscles” so you can replace fear and anxiety with curiosity, desire and optimism:

1. Look at the risks you have taken in the past and what lead you to succeed at doing something good
You learned to drive a car, you got your exam, you found a better job, you fought and lost weight, you dared to go up to that girl/guy/man/woman and now you live together. Ask yourself what you would have missed if you had not taken advantage of those opportunities.

2. Start by taking small risks when possible
Try a new exercise, go to a new restaurant or dress in a color that you don't normally use, talk to a stranger in the STM-queue. Embrace the moment and enjoy not knowing what'll come out of it.

3. Make an honest list
When you are faced with an opportunity that feels scary, make a list of both positive and negative things that can happen. Is there a dominating side?

4. Ask yourself:
”What's the worst that can happen if I take the risk?”Can you live with that? Know your own tolerance for risks. If it feels unbearable, it's probably not something you should do.

5. What do you value in life?
Know your values, the things that define who you are and what is important to you. Examples of core values ​​can be health, family, financial security, independence or creativity. Ask yourself if the choice you make supports your core values ​​and if the choice can cause you to live closer to them. If not, it's probably good to go from there. If the answer is yes, run like a madman and embrace the chance.

6. Place your choice in the rocking chair
Play fast forward and imagine yourself as an old man/woman in a rocking chair in which you sit and think about your life choices. What is the story you want to remember at this special time in your life? What will you regret then it if you don't take this chance now?

7. Put yourself on the planning table
Make a step-by-step plan that shows you how to get where you want and then take the smallest and safest step forward towards that goal. See what happens. If you are considering changing jobs, you may write a resume. If you intend to go back to school – look for courses that'll lead you towards the changes you need in life.

8. Stop being a coward
Do you remember that person who never took any risks?
No, no one else does either.
No one remembers a coward. It was the last thing I wanted to say, ha, ha.

About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

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"The 5 minute marketer" - the book
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