“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”
I have been taking chances literally all my life. I would like to think most of it is innate, at least when it came to confidence in my physical abilities. That supreme confidence did not match my initial shyness and reluctance around people, particular of the opposite sex. I eventually grew out of that, though I am just naturally quiet around new people, but my ability and willingness to take chances, however innate also had to be coupled with learned behavior.
I learned to ride a two wheel bike without training wheels prior to my third birthday. Even then I seemed to understand the concept of risks versus rewards. The pain or discomfort from falling on the bike was far outweighed but the ability to follow the older kids on the block I was determined to keep up with.
At twelve I essentially made the decision to move away from home. At thirteen the move was actually made, uprooting anything I was ever familiar with in attending a boarding school three states away. The short version is that I have been living a life filled with taking chances. I have definitely defied a conventional route in life, one that I wouldn’t necessarily recommend for most, though I feel uniquely blessed to say that it has always, eventually, worked out in my favor.
The unconventional route was taken in part because I lacked mentoring and guidance. I made mistakes, that were probably ordinarily avoidable with better direction and guidance, but for better or worse I never let sensibility or the unknown stop me. I have lived a remarkable life, because of the experiences. Even without my life played out publicly or via social media, the willingness to take chances in life has provided substance and excitement that people who have played it safe, rarely have the opportunity to experience.
Unfortunately taking chances for me also came with risks, often unnecessary, to my safety and freedom. Like I said I have been blessed, but as I matured, I definitely learned to minimize my risks. I realize I may be incapable of actually totally eliminating risks. I am not even sure why, but I still take them to this day. A zest for life and new experiences still means that I do things that I know I should not, but the fear of living a pedestrian, placid life far outweigh the risks I still appear willing to take.
I am a serial entrepreneur. I have always bet on myself. I am up in life, but those ventures have not come without many months of uncertainty and instability. Those are the chances that I have always been willing to take. Betting on myself has never seemed wrong, but that confidence has been hindered by sometimes overestimating the scruples and hustle of others. I will be an entrepreneur till they put me under. My aversion to risk and taking chances has only be diminished because of an understanding of how my actions have at times negatively impacted those closest to me.
It took me a while to fully comprehend the impact of my choices on others. Sure, they shared in and received the benefits of when things worked out. Yet, when they did not, my justification of the purity of my intentions did not negate the fact that the instability and uncertainty that I put others through may not have been fair. I still take chances, but added to the risk versus reward quotient is the potential impact on others. MY appetite for risk cannot be forced upon others no matter how well intentioned.
If anything I can impart to others is take chances. Do not take unnecessarily risky ones and seek guidance whenever possible, but take chances in your life. A life never lived outside the safety of your comfort zone is one missing opportunity and experiences. Life is a journey, take some chances and allow yourself to live it to the fullest.
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