Take the risk to grow…

December 30, 2022

Two quotes from wildly different people just seemed to fit together this morning – one from a world-renowned psychologist and one from a TV sitcom star.

“You will either step forward into growth, or you will step backward into safety.” (Abraham Maslow)

“The bottom line is, in life, sometimes good things happen, sometimes bad things happen. But honey, if you don’t take a chance, nothing happens.”  (Bea Arthur as the character Dorothy in the Golden Girls TV show)

We grow as human beings by experiencing new things, meeting new people, going to new places and taking in new knowledge. That growth does not happen or is at least stunted if we are overly cautious and always stepping back into safety.

One of the easiest ways to make something happen and experience some personal growth is to meet new people. Some people find a way to step back into safety by physically shrinking back into a protective shell. They put on a physical visage that shouts, “Don’t see me, don’t talk to me.” It usually succeeds because others can see that this person does not want to interact.

So even if you haven’t worked up the courage to say “Hello” yourself, maybe you can take the risk to respond pleasantly to someone who says it to you. Maybe even add “How are you?” to your response. And if, by chance, they want to strike up a conversation, take the chance to talk with them; otherwise, nothing happens.

I have posted here often about doing volunteer work at a local non-profit organization. That will not only make you feel good about yourself, but it will put you in an environment in which meeting people and conversing with them is pretty much a part of the experience. It is a perfect and usually very safe way to step forward into growth. What starts as a conversation about the work that you are doing together will quite naturally morph into talk about the times when you are not doing volunteer work together. Go with it and let yourself take the risk of sharing a part of your life with someone else – otherwise, nothing happens.

I could post suggestions about other more adventuresome ways to grow by taking bigger and more exciting risks; however, all of them at some point involve interacting with others to share and learn from the experience. So, take the advice from the Golden Girls quote and make something happen – you’ll learn from whatever the outcome is.

Put yourself out there and Take the risk to grow…

Don’t just sit there…

December 5, 2022

I don’t remember where I saw this quote, but it rang true to me. “Risk something or forever sit with your dreams.”  (Herb Brooks)

Many people sit with their dreams, unable or unwilling to take the risks that may be required to achieve them. Perhaps they dream of getting a better job but are afraid to take the risk to leave the job that they have now. Maybe they have dreamed of asking a certain person our but are afraid of rejection. Maybe they have always dreamed about trying a particular sport or activity but hold back because of imagined failure or the possible risk of injury. Whatever the real or imagined risks involved, they just never try.

I suppose that there is a kind of comfort in just sitting there with one’s dreams instead of actually taking the risk to try to make them come true. Dreams can become like old friends and prove to be a sort of comforting refuge from the reality of their day-to-day world. That is especially true if the crushing weight of the mundane rules their real world. Dreams allow an escape from the repetitive sameness of a boring job or life.

But while just sitting there may provide a refuge it fails to provide any real reward. One might imagine the reward that awaits at the end of a dream but can only really experience it by accomplishing the dream. The dream is like the shadow of the person or the thing that is imagined- you can sort of see it, but you can’t touch it or hold it. You don’t really experience it; you just see it – in your dreams.

So, the key to today’s thought is that you must take the risks that you also imagine in order to turn your dream into a reality. Don’t just sit there with your dreams. Take the first step. Say hello to that person whom you ‘ve been dreaming of meeting. Fill out the job application for the job you’ve been dreaming of having. Try the beginner’s level of that sport or activity that you’ve dreamed of competing in to see if you really like it.

Many dreams involve launching yourself into them and provide no way to turn back. That’s OK because turning back is just another way of say failing. You’ve already “won” just by trying and things will never be the same again.

There is a law in physics that states that “a body at rest tends to stay at rest and a body in motion tend to stay in motion.” Don’t just sit there at rest with your dreams; take the risk and become a body in motion. I think you’ll like being a body in motion a bit more.

Risk something. Chase your dreams!