So, which gets you more, comfort or risk? I say risk. Comfort is what we seek, but it’s risk that delivers it. Think about it, what brought you the biggest change and pleasure in your life? Was it sitting on your ass? Or was it when life kicked you in the ass?
As a culture, we continue to get more and more risk averse. Our parents worked hard to give us what they didn’t have. Marketers work hard at convincing us that having more is the path to comfort and pleasure. We’ve learned to choose comfort over risk. Hell, why risk when we have what makes us feel good?
Matthew Hussey makes the point that the resource you will never get back is time. You can waste and lose your money, possessions and to some extent your health and get them back. You will never get the time you lost back. That is particularly scary when you are still wasting your time not taking the risks that serve you.
I’m not talking about risk for risk’s sake. It’s not about adrenaline-risk addiction we see often with extreme sports. These risks might not be stupid; they are often avoiding scarier risks. For some brave soul it might be easier to ski off cliffs than finish a degree. It’s not about taking any risk; it’s about taking the risks that move your life forward.
We are a culture of not only risk avoiders; we are a culture of pain deadeners. This can be good. If inspiration is not going to get you off your ass, pain will. More often than not, men see me or come to our groups because something is not working rather than because they want more of what is working. Men, more often than women, need to use pain or shear incapacitation as the excuse to seek help.
Pain avoidance is a great motivator. Use it to be the negative reinforcement to show you what is not working. Gradually your risk taking will allow the pain to turn into pleasure.
You grieve what you’ve lost – that’s good because you need to let go of what you no longer have. Regrets are a different breed. When a loss occurs because you didn’t take a risk causing you to miss an opportunity, that’s tough. It’s one thing to be sad about something you had no control over, it’s another thing to be sad over an opportunity not taken.
When you failed because you tried there is grief, yet there is a sense of accomplishment in trying. Like the old saying, “It is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved.” It is better to go for a goal and fail rather than to deal with never trying.
The psychologist Phil Zimbardo is quoted as saying, “Being privileged denies you access to some of the more interesting aspects of life.” When you have to work, you work. When you need to overcome an adversity, you learn to apply that behavior strategy to other situations.
Follow the energy
Ask yourself where comfort will take you. Will more comfort give you the life you want or will risk? Play out the path you’re going down, play out other possible paths. Feel the fear, know the fear – it will not leave until it is released. There is no better way to release it than to move forward as you are feeling it. Numbing out on a comfortable couch is not feeling the fear. The energy of fear will turn into excitement if you’re feeling it.
Bring it on
Imagine what it would be 5, 10, 20… years in your future if you haven’t taken risks? What it would be like if you have? Imagine a turning point in your life, such as your midlife crisis, your first son, your son going off to college. Where do you want to be at those places?
Be careful here. Don’t take on others’ expectations of what you should do. Look at what you are passionate about, what you dream about every day. Others can guide and support you. It is you who has to take the risks.
Fill your passion tank on a daily basis. Create a vision board with pictures of your dreams. Take action once per day to move those dreams forward. Use music, exercise, jumping up and down – use something to prime your excitement pump every day.
Besides visualizing your dreams manifesting, physicalize them happening in your body. Feel them. Feel what achieving them would feel like. Where in your body do you particularly feel the excitement of doing and getting your dream? Let that feeling spread throughout your body. Let it be an orgasm of your dream.
Start doing putting these steps in action now, right now. Stop reading and do something. For five minutes dance to your favorite high energy song as you imagine and feel your dream. Just do it!
Let us know how you have moved out of comfort into risk and toward your dreams.