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Living on the edge is the key to success

Article by Mike Anderson – Founder & CEO of the NSBC.

Living on the edge and taking risks is the key to happiness and success.  Almost everything worth doing is risky.

Are you stuck in a comfort zone and just hoping to have a mistake-free, loss-free, and stress-free life? It may sound like the good life, but it is actually the “no-life” way to go. Too much safety and comfort bore me and lead to apathy and a life of mediocrity. You will never get where you want to be if you don’t take risks.

The main reason why we don’t challenge the status quo is because the unknown is riskier and therefore our fear of failure kicks in. This is the seesaw of success and failure – or worse, living an existence of mediocrity. Most ideas never get off the ground because people are afraid to take a risk and fail. Those who have achieved real success have overcome the fear of failure and often risked the most to get there.

The risk must be calculated and intelligent, and should be constructive and positive. Intelligent risk-taking is to imagine all the things that could possibly go wrong when deciding on whether to take a risk. The trick is then to put all the measures in place that you can to prevent those things from happening.  Nothing will ever be perfect, so there comes a time when action needs to be taken. You cannot possibly prepare for every outcome. You need to have some faith in yourself and the fact that you will be able to handle whatever comes your way.

Of all the skills in life to learn, I believe risk taking is one of the most important.  Imagine how dull your life would be if you never took chances.  Without taking risks, you might never have found those great things you have discovered in your life. Everything great in life requires some risk to make it happen.

Becoming a risk taker seems to have a negative connotation to it.  The word brings up images of danger, hazards or even loss.  But no matter how dangerous the idea of risk taking is, there is an even greater danger of not taking risks. Risks are a key ingredient to living life to the fullest.  Fortunately, the skills of becoming a successful risk taker can be learned.

Start small and then go big. The best way to become a successful risk taker is to start small. Just get in the habit of saying yes to new things.  Some things might not be as good as you expected, but you’ll be surprised how often you find something great. Once you build up the habit of trying new things, you’ll want to experiment with some bigger risks. If you keep at it, eventually you’ll get really good at taking risks.  Your success rate will improve as you will have all this risk-taking experience behind you.

Risk taking and taking action work hand in hand. Learn to act. Often the difference between a successful person and a failure is not that one has better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one must bet on one’s ideas, to take a calculated risk – and to act.

Remember the words of Leo F. Buscaglia: “The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.”

Are you prepared to look back one day in your twilight years wondering what you could have done?

Now that we are prepared to act and embrace taking risks, we can speed up the process and become successful quicker. Why drag out the process when we can make things happen by doing things now, quicker, more effectively and with bigger results.

Think about it! You waste a quarter of your day by:

  1. Meeting those you don’t need to
  2. Doing things that are not results orientated
  3. Worrying about the bad things that are never going to happen
  4. Procrastinating… “I’ll do it tomorrow”
  5. Exposing yourself to negative and unsuccessful people
  6. Not seizing opportunities because of the fear of failure and
  7. Losing opportunities due to indecisiveness

Let’s have a look at 20 steps to FAST success:

Although this ideal situation of “quick success” doesn’t usually work out in life, there are some incredible stories. I have had the fortunate opportunity over time to meet these mercurial individuals who have shared with me what it took them to have “quick success”.

Let’s take a look at how some entrepreneurs have achieved “instant or quicker success” over those who have given up and failed, or taken a great deal longer than ever expected:

  1. They are risk-takes and don’t think about failure.
  2. They get up insanely early.
  3. They keep promises no matter how small.
  4. They’ve given more thought to planning their business before starting out.
  5. They strive to be less reliant on borrowings.
  6. They take action and do things.
  7. They believe in themselves and have supreme confidence in whatever they do.
  8. When they do fail, they are not afraid or embarrassed of their failures.
  9. They have knowledge, experience and a deep passion for their business.
  10. Their customers love what they do to.
  11. They are willing to put in never ending hours of work themselves.
  12. They continuously express gratitude and always have a positive outlook.
  13. They challenge the status quo which gives them the seeds of vision and opportunity.
  14. They learn from the pitfalls of others and get the best advice from the right people.
  15. They act quickly and change direction when something doesn’t work out.
  16. They demand excellence from themselves.
  17. They soar with the eagles that fly high, only surrounding themselves and connecting with positive people.
  18. They take responsibility for everything irrespective of what happens.
  19. They only focus on what’s important, they have the ability to say no to almost everything.
  20. They don’t throw in the towel – they persist and persevere through everything, they just keep going and never give up.

Success usually happens because of the accumulated experience people collect from their failures, it doesn’t make any sense to assume that you will make it fast. Yes, you can succeed from the first attempt but generally most people never make it before they fail many times. You need to understand and prepare for this. Always keep it in your mind that quick success must be a bonus.

I strongly encourage you to aim for fast success but don’t assume that this is how life works. Slow and gradual progress is the way most successful people have followed until they have made it. Yes, in some rare cases you might find a chance that pushes you forward quickly. The general rule is that you must be patient and persistent until you make it. Take a step everyday even if it was a small one and eventually you will make it, that’s if you keep moving and never give-up.