“If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not taking risks, and that means you’re not going anywhere.”
Almost everything you want in life requires some risk. If you don’t reach out to that difficult colleague, you may be stuck with a poor relationship. If you don’t try to improve your product, it may become obsolete. If you don’t find some new ways to romance your spouse, he/she may think you don’t care.
Of course, not all risk pays off. You could reach out to that difficult colleague only to be rebuffed. You could improve your product, and it may not sell. You could plan out a special evening with your spouse and have him/her fall asleep.
But personally, I like what Babe Ruth said, “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” An effective person knows that it’s okay to take a risk and fail as long as he earns from the risk.
On the other hand, an ineffective person plays it safe and doesn’t take many risks, but of course, he doesn’t have many learnings or growing experiences either. He just “gets by” while the effective person keeps moving on to bigger and bigger victories.
Besides that, taking a few risks just makes life more enjoyable. It’s like the elderly man who was addressing his grandchildren. “Boys, I’ve never taken a drink, never eaten dessert, never ridden a motorcycle, never gone to bed after 10 p.m., and never even looked at a woman other than my wife. And you know what? Tomorrow I celebrate my 100th birthday.” After a pause, a voice from the back piped up and asked, “Celebrate? How?”
Take one little risk today, and no matter what happens, win or lose, ask yourself what you learned from your risk. Then go out and take a similar risk next week, but use your previous learning to be even more successful this time.