Jan 212013

My New Year’s resolution for 2013 is “more risk”. Which is a very nice idea in the abstract. But how to put that into practice?

This is exactly what I want to be doing more of!

This is exactly what I want to be doing more of!

Risk doesn’t necessarily mean doing something dangerous. For me it means doing something scary. It means taking a step outside my comfort zone. It means doing something new, not knowing whether I will get the results I am hoping for.

The nice thing is: Humans are very good at learning things. Specifically, do something a few times and you will be able to predict what the results are that you’re going to get. Do something which is new to you enough times and it won’t be new anymore. And thus it won’t be scary anymore.

In that sense, taking risk is nothing more than learning something new.

I’ve learned a lot of new things. From learning to walk and talk, to learning to play the saxophone and currently learning to juggle. I’m used to learning something new and so have a lot of meta-skill in learning.

Yesterday I was able to put my new resolution into practice wonderfully: I was playing a game with friends (“Diplomacy”, which actually looks a lot like the game “Risk”!), where in turn one I made a bold move to sacrifice one of my lands to a fellow player, trusting him to give it back later. It worked beautifully (though I still lost very quickly), resulting in a very interesting and different game from normally. Risks pay off (though sometimes differently than expected…)
Which is not to say that something specific can’t be scary as hell. Last year I went through some pains to stand on the edge of cliffs and bridges and to look down. Just the thought of it still sets my heart racing! But in the course of a year I did learn to become far less scared of heights.

This year I want to put this into practice even more. Doing something (in tiny steps) I’m scared of. And so I’m going to take a risk every day. Each day I will actively search out something that scares me. Not too many cliffs here in the Netherlands, but we have some high buildings. For my own company, book and whatnot I’m sure I will need to be doing a lot of things I would rather avoid. They will still be dreadful. But from now on they are also opportunities to help me keep my New Years resolution.

In 2013, don’t take care!

Take risks!

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