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I have not failed.  I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work…. Thomas Edison

Someone has offered you the chance of a lifetime but it means stepping out of the comfortable world you have made for yourself and risking all that was for all that could be. What crosses your mind? Do you think about what could be yours if you take the risk or do you think about everything you have to lose? Some people love taking risks, others hate it!

I’m a risk taker.  I adhere to the philosophy that I would rather regret what I’ve done than what I didn’t have the courage to do.  I’ve made some stupid mistakes, gone off on some half cocked and ill prepared ideas and  had some disastrous results.  But I’ve learned from those mistakes, met incredible people along the way and had lots of fun.  Some people would (and do) see me as having failed.  I see myself as having found ways of succeeding that didn’t work, so onto the next to see if that does.

I spent a lot of my formative years, too afraid to take risks for fear of failing and having people laugh at me.  Being laughed at is my ultimate fear.   I don’t even fear snakes as badly as being laughed at.  I LOVE being laughed WITH, but not at.  I’m a Leo, we hate humiliation and embarrassment.  So stepping out of my comfort zone is putting myself in a position of being open to ridicule.  It is the ultimate risk as far as I’m concerned.

Of course, if it was anything that endangered my family, that wouldn’t ever be considered as that is too great a risk.  (The brilliant idea I had of firing my sons out of a cannon, through a burning ring of fire and landing in a pile of jelly had to be put on hold as there were  human risks involved lol.)  Any other risk, I’m usually prepared to take a shot at it.  I’m not talking about being careless.  There is also common sense that has to come into play.. and sometimes a calculated risk is necessary.  Sum up the pros and cons first to see what’s really at stake… if all that is really holding you back is fear……. STEP OUT!

This crossed my mind today as I was going to be helping a friend photograph a wedding yesterday and wasn’t able to make it, so another TAFE friend stepped into the breach.  This young lady who can be quite shy and lacking in confidence at times, has never photographed a wedding and is more comfortable at a speedway meeting, taking photos of sprint cars.  Yesterday, she stepped out of her comfort zone and put her fear behind her to try something new to help a friend and I’m so proud of her for having done so.

I remembered back to being her age and how I was terrified back then of making a mistake.  Nowadays, mistakes happen with regularity and they are all part of the learning process but that degree of confidence to make them, comes with age. I don’t see them as mistakes anymore to be honest…. they are all learning curves.  Well, that’s what I tell myself nowadays to encourage myself to get up and keep trying.  Thomas Edison had a fantastic attitude to failure and his quotes inspire me to keep taking risks.  The quote at the start of this blog is my all time favorite.  Another of his is ” Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is to try just one more time”.

Don’t get me wrong.. it’s still very hard to step out of my comfort zone in some areas.  I could get up on stage and make an absolute fool of myself in character and  not feel a qualm about what I’m doing, but to be myself, I feel awkward.  Socially, whenever I walk into a new setting, party, class, group, etc, I feel like I am on show and start to feel paranoid that people won’t like me.  I can appear very confident and people wouldn’t begin to know that deep down inside, my nerves are eating away at me and that I am imagining all the people in the room are finding fault in me.

When it comes to starting a business or a course, I have no problems at all with that.  Those risks are a lot easier to take.  Following through with them when you feel you are failing is another matter however.  I wrote about giving up on giving up  and I’m working on following through with things when they get tough, but it’s not easy.  But putting myself on the line socially is so much harder to do.

The thing with not taking risks is you may be missing out on the greatest opportunity of your life.  You may be   one step away from your greatest desires in life, but were too scared to take that extra step for fear of what you could lose. I think THAT is the greatest risk of all.  Life can hold so much for us and if we could all put our feelings of unworthiness or fear behind us we might just discover exactly how wonderful it could be.

Pardon my indulgence for quoting Mr Edison again but ” If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves”.  I am trying to constantly remind myself of that at the moment as I too often doubt myself and my skills.  I compare myself to other people and find myself lacking by comparison.  What I don’t always take into consideration is that maybe I have some skills they don’t have.  Self doubt is my greatest enemy and I am determined to win the battle.

Being comfortable is fantastic in pyjamas, round the house clothes and shoes.  For life in general, sometimes we need to go outside ourselves to really achieve.  One last quote from the great man, Thomas Edison, to finish with, as it really sums it all up.  “Restlessness is discontent and discontent is the first necessity of progress.  Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure”.

Happy failing and succeeding…. Livvy 🙂

Thomas Edison Possibilites