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…