What was going through the mind of the first man to eat a raw oyster?
How did someone figure out that the sap from poppies could be used to make opium?
Which fool created synthetic derivatives?
What do these things have in common? They all involve some element of risk and exploration.
Sidenote: At the end of this post you’ll find a link to my new favourite video.
Despite what you may read here, this blog is not dedicated to taking death-defying risks like swimming with sharks and skydiving. Truthfully, if I was given a choice between hitting the “Publish” button for this post, or getting in the water with sharks, the choice is clear.
Bring on the sharks.
Especially if there is no blood in the water or splashing at the surface. And that goes not only for this post but every other post.
Glad you asked. The sharks represent an immediate but temporary threat to my body, but each post represents, a long-term threat to my ego. I always have the same worries telling me to quit this blog:
A) Am I making sense?
B) Am I making a difference?
C) Is anybody reading this? (At last count 1,000 per month)
Is Your Ego Doing The Same To You? How to Stop It.
In some sphere of your life, the answer is always, yes. With good reason, there are some risks that should be too great to take. For instance, that first hit of an illegal drug, that illicit affair, that ill-advised ‘one for the road’, are all risks that a correct mental state will protect you from.
On the other hand, remember the last pretty woman you were afraid to talk to? Remember all the questions that kept popping into your head? “Suppose I walk over and she’s mean?” “Suppose her boyfriend shows up and kicks in my teeth?”
The question you never asked yourself was, “I wonder if she spent last Saturday night at home watching PBS and eating ice cream?” Now suppose the answer was, ‘YES‘. How would such a different mindset have changed your behaviour?
“All change in history, all advance, comes from nonconformity. If there had been no troublemakers, no dissenters, we should still be living in caves.”
A.J.P Taylor, Historian
Your ego sometimes goes overboard in self-protection. Anytime you’ve felt the weight of conformity, even when the thing that you are conforming to is very stupid, that’s ego. Going against the grain of society is never easy but there are times when it needs to be done not only for you but for the benefit of those around you. If you doubt this, bear in mind, 50% of Americans are overweight, should you conform?
61% of Americans don’t use, or have problems sticking to, a budget, should you join this group?
So, if trying to be the financially solvent, fit guy in your group makes you different, and you intend to pursue your goals and stay in the group, then you are a risk-taker. Some groups will eventually kick you out. So what? Given the benefits, it’s all for the best.
How to get started taking risks? Start small, go out by yourself even if its to an art gallery, make a budget and stick to it, say hello to the next attractive person you meet without feeling pressured to try for a response or a conversation. Find a physical activity that you enjoy and go and do it no matter what your peers say. (Remember to make yourself physically fit first and follow your doctor’s instructions before you start)
Benefits of Taking Risks
1. Confidence – Every time you do something risky, like start a new job or take up a new hobby, and succeed at it, your confidence will grow. If you really stretch the boundaries and try some death-defying activity, your confidence grows exponentially. After falling from 12,000 feet just how scared of that pretty woman can you be?
2. Social Rewards – Getting introduced as the entrepreneur, the artist, the diver, sure beats being introduced as ‘the up and coming middle manager’ in any social setting. People who take risks are applauded by society, probably because the risk-taker is experimenting upon himself, but the entire society will ultimately benefit. Think of, the first man to eat a raw oyster. Even if the risk is minor, like trying new restaurants, and finding new clubs, you’ll benefit because you become the “Go To Guy” of your group. Translation: You become “Sexy“.
3. Growth – Each time you take a risk (the legal kind. Driving the getaway car doesn’t count) you’ll grow internally. You’ll learn a little more about yourself. You’ll have a better understanding of what you like (I’ve got to do this again!) and what you don’t like (I’ll never do this again). No matter your age, or where you live, you’ll be better for it.
Remember, comfort is a cage, it’s riskier to stay in than get out.
When it comes to taking risks, start small and build on your successes. See you at 12, 000 feet, and leave a comment before you go.
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As promised, here is the link to my current favourite video on YouTube.