“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go”.
“One that would have the fruit must climb the tree.”
There’s good news on the risk-reward front: Small steps can lead to rich rewards. According to Katy Suckle, author of The Art of Risk: The New Science of Courage, Caution, and Chance, just taking a few more risks in life — even small, easy to manage ones — can help us improve our decision-making and even write more dangerously:
Start small: To move us all in the right direction doesn’t require dramatic shifts with our past or inclinations — just small steps that gradually pull us out of well-worn grooves and open us to new possibilities. Taking a more scenic route to a meeting, even though you risk being a few minutes late or ordering a new dish in a restaurant that you’re not sure you’ll enjoy can lead to a ripple of positive change. Regularly breaking up our routine and stepping out of the box in small ways is proven to boost creativity and resilience, and trigger changes in brain patterns that improve our mood and even reduce stress by making us less afraid of the unexpected.
Go for small wins: If you’ve decided this is the year you want to be published, just take the first, easiest step toward that goal: Sign up for “Publishers Marketplace,” for example. “Again and again, research shows that when we take little risks along the way, we reach our goals so much faster,” says Sukel. Rewarding yourself for each small step also helps: “Rewards train your brain to embrace risk and keep going!”
Make a list: If you want to try something more daring than usual, you can ease the way by making a list of the potential benefits you’ll gain from taking the risk you’re considering — everything from feeling proud to moving closer to a lifelong goal. Seeing gains in black and white ignites the rational part of your brain and boosts your confidence by showing you that taking the risk is a good decision.
Stay optimistic: The one quality all successful risk-takers share is optimism. “Whether you journal positive thoughts, or read others’ success stories for inspiration, keeping your optimism ignited is key to pushing past your comfort zone,” notes Sukel. And don’t be afraid of failure. If you don’t succeed, don’t see it as failure, view it as feedback — and keep going (see “Be Untoppable”) As rock climber Steph Davis told Sukel, “I haven’t failed — I just haven’t finished yet!” Every time you take on something new, you gain new ideas and insight that you can build on the next time around.
Small steps, big rewards: Great news as we all write more dangerously!