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Why living on the edge is the key to success

Article by Mike Anderson (NSBC Founder & CEO)

Living on the edge and taking action are the keys 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 seize risks and take action.

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, therefore no action is taken. 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 making a decision on whether or not 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 seizing risks and taking action 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.

The best way to become a successful risk taker is to start small, then go big.  Get into 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.

Seizing risk and taking action work hand in hand. Often the difference between a successful person and a failure is not that one has better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to 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.”

It’s impossible to become successful while always playing it safe. Taking well-calculated risks can bring unimaginable opportunities. When taking a risk doesn’t pan out the way you had hoped, simply learn from it and keep moving forward. Big dreams and great success aren’t realised by playing it safe!

You have to get moving and create. Whatever you have chosen to pursue in your life, take action and do something about it. Don’t overthink your way to success. Sometimes our thoughts keep us from achieving because we overthink and overanalyse every situation. We prevent ourselves from achieving by instilling fear (and therefore doubt) rather than courage into our own hearts.

Absolutely nothing is more important than being proactive. If you do nothing else except focus every day on getting something done to move yourself forward, you won’t be able to stop your success journey. Despite the simplicity of just taking action there is a perpetual shortage of people who excel at doing so. Don’t wait for conditions to be perfect, because they never will be. Something will always feel off, and your subconscious mind will always justify complacency. You must beat your subconscious into submission.

If you have an idea that you really believe in, do something about it. Unless you take action, your idea will remain worthless. Once you are doing something and implementing ideas, it is hard to stop. An object in motion tends to stay in motion and you want to use that to your advantage. Once you get the ball rolling, you will build self-confidence and things will start to snowball and become progressively easier. Kill your fear by taking action and then build on that.

Focus on what you can do in the present moment. Don’t worry about what you should have done last week or what you might be able to do tomorrow. If you speculate too much about the past or the future, you won’t get anything done.

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen” – Michael Jordan.

Are you prepared to look back one day wondering what you could have done?