Many times, you need to take risks to get ahead in life. Staying in your comfort zone for too long is, well, comforting, but it also curbs your personal development.
To help you avoid making such mistakes in the future or to rectify them, you need to first know what risks you should and shouldn’t avoid taking and what they involve.
Only then can you truly move forward in life. So, let’s jump in!
1) Playing it too safe
Avoiding risks altogether results in a monotonous life. You wake up, go to work, come back home, eat, scroll TikTok, and go to bed. That’s what it boils down to, essentially.
On the other hand, taking calculated risks, like starting a new venture or pursuing a new relationship, lead to personal and professional growth.
It makes you feel alive again when you start engaging with new ideas, meeting new people, and learning different perspectives.
Growth like this only occurs when you step out of your comfort zone. Only doing the things you like might feel secure, but it impedes you from discovering new opportunities, experiences, and people.
And ultimately, resisting personal development, whether through learning or self-improvement, results in stagnation.
You simply stop being able to adapt to changing circumstances and evolve as an individual.
Think about it for a moment.
2) Not pursuing passions and dreams
Each week, I try reframing my mind by reminding myself just how short life really is. I’m in my 40s, and I probably have only 30 good years left in me. That’s if I’m lucky and don’t get sick or die early.
That’s why I strongly believe that neglecting your true passions and dreams leads to a life filled with regret.
Instead of settling, follow your dreams and pursue what truly inspires you.
For example, we lived in three different countries in the last 15 years. At first, it was a necessity, but later on, we embraced it and now try to make a complete 180 every five years or so.
It just makes life much more interesting, and we have something to look forward to and plan our endeavors.
3) Not finding a fulfilling job
Staying in a job you dislike instead of pursuing a fulfilling career is the final nail in the coffin that represents your life.
You risk a life of unhappiness and dissatisfaction if you don’t regularly explore your options and find a job that aligns with your current passions and values.
The thing is, we’re constantly evolving, and what interests you now probably won’t be so interesting after you keep doing it for 3+ years.
Even doctors and surgeons whose profession directly impacts hundreds of lives and make a real and noticeable difference get sick of doing it.
They get bored with saving people’s lives. Think about that for a sec. It baffles me when I see how many medical doctors go into politics of all things.
That lets you know just how much our interests change over time and that we’re basically constantly reinventing ourselves. And so should our profession.
That’s why we should never resist the change happening inside or outside.
4) Resisting change and innovation
The world is constantly evolving. Avoiding change and innovation leads to obsolescence.
What you’re doing now will probably be outsourced to robots or AI sooner than you’re willing to admit yourself.
I’m painfully aware of this fact and the fact that creative jobs like writing, painting, and even music are the first on the chopping block.
Luckily, there will always be people who want to consume artisan and handcrafted work.
Nevertheless, we all need to embrace change as an opportunity for growth and progress and to move forward in life, not backward.
5) Fearing failure
Fear of failure is a big one for many people. They fear failing so much that they never start anything. Or they did something once, failed, and then never wanted to start something new again.
This fear strikes you from many different sides. You’re not only afraid of failing, but you’re afraid of losing face, people mocking you behind your back, financial loss, etc.
The thing is, almost everyone has these deeply rooted fears. They’re completely normal. The only difference between you and Joe or Jane down the street is that they’ll push through the fear.
They won’t let it paralyze them and prevent from taking risks. Instead, they’ll see failure as a valuable learning experience.
If they’re smart, they also won’t do the following.
We all procrastinate to some extent. But the difference is that some people delay cleaning their apartment, while others delay finding a better job.
And then we have people who procrastinate everything and live like slobs. I certainly hope that’s not you.
It should be clear to you by now that procrastination often results in missed opportunities and added stress.
Instead of delaying tasks and giving yourself (and perhaps others) anxiety, try being proactive to achieve more and reduce stress.
Try for a week to eat the frog first thing in the morning. The frog being a task you don’t like doing, and often delay it for as long as you can.
7) Not investing in education and skills
This is yet another mistake that many people make and that holds them back. Failing to invest in your education and skill development limits your career prospects.
Learning and getting a degree doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. There are many online courses and workshops that save you both.
You don’t have to travel to a classroom and there are many that are much cheaper than traditional lectures and studies.
Ultimately, every successful person knows very well that lifelong learning and skill enhancement opens doors to new opportunities.
8) Neglecting financial planning
If you don’t want to wake up broke one day because you lost a job or didn’t save enough money for retirement, you better not fail to save, invest, or budget wisely.
But without clear financial goals, you may not have the motivation to save and invest. Setting goals gives you a sense of purpose and direction for your financial planning.
Most importantly, if you don’t invest your savings, you miss out on the opportunity for your money to grow over time. Compounding is a powerful thing.
Inflation, as we see it now, quickly erodes the value of your savings, making it less effective for your long-term financial goals.
Even if you get a pay raise, the positive effects of it are downplayed by the rising cost of living.
9) Not giving back
In order to move forward in life, you need to also help others move forward. Helping others and giving back to your community is incredibly fulfilling.
If you don’t want to donate money, you can always donate your time.
By volunteering your time and skills, you can contribute to causes you care about. Such as helping at a local food bank, partaking in environmental clean-up, or mentoring others.
Volunteering not only benefits others but also gives you a sense of satisfaction and connection to your community.
It’s also important for the following risks.
10) Ignoring mental well-being
Neglecting your mental health not only leads to stress and anxiety but also emotional struggles.
It often ends with neglecting self-care practices, like not getting enough rest, not eating well, or not engaging in fun and relaxing activities.
Obviously, in this case, you can’t move forward in life because you don’t have a balanced and content life to begin with.
You have to start by fixing the underlying issues that plague you. Like this one:
11) Holding onto toxic relationships and/or grudges
When toxic relationships at home or work take up your time, money, and energy, you’re often not only stagnating but moving backward.
The risk of holding onto such harmful relationships is all too real. They have a damaging impact on your mental and emotional well-being.
Instead of staying in unhealthy connections, cut ties and find healthier and supportive relationships.
Apart from that, refusing to forgive and let go of past grievances is another thing limiting your true potential. It’s an ongoing negativity and emotional baggage.
Instead of harboring grudges, try to forgive and free yourself from the incredible weight of resentment.
Avoiding taking risks is a real threat
Ultimately, I’m not proposing you take some wild chances and put yourself on the line. On the contrary, you need to take calculated risks that will get you out of your comfort zone and propel your life forward.
This can be as easy as changing your daily routine or being more smart with your money, or as hard as changing your career or overcoming the fear of public speaking by accepting speaking engagements.