Taking Risks: a fear

Image by Skitterphoto

Change is one part of life that many people struggle with. When someone says “I don’t like change”, we usually hear it from someone that does not want to take a risk because this person is comfortable in the place they currently find themselves. The possibility and the thought that they could risk everything because they are jumping into the unknown can result in anxiety. In order to avoid changing their lives even in the smallest way, they will come up with excuses as to why they shouldn’t do something. For me, this isn’t a problem. More often than expected I myself in situations where I’m jumping into something without knowing what lies on the other side. This has happened very often throughout my life, from working at 14 years old, modeling naked at college to even studying and participating in entrepreneurial programs. Pretty much anything that has been thrown my way, I would say yes.

The first time I really felt I was taking a risk was when I put myself in the position to be a nude model at the college I was studying in. Now there was mayor fear, I wanted to do it and even though I was 18 years old, all I could think of was What would my mother think? or my boyfriend? What if my friends see me? or What would the students say outside of the classroom? The fear was something I couldn’t control, but the flexibility the job offered was ideal for me to work and fund my school projects. A moment came when I decided not to think about what could happen and just jumped in. Now remember my fear? what if my friends saw me? Well on the first day of the course 2 of my friends were in the classroom and to my surprise, it was just fine. After a couple of minutes I felt very comfortable and there was no awkwardness either with them or the rest of the classmates. My fear of jumping to this unknown came true but it wasn’t bad and I could have missed a huge and important opportunity that changed my life had I said not taken this risk. I’m one of the very few that took it, out of the many students that wanted to model but because they were afraid of what their friends and family would think, they didn’t.

On the other hand, I won’t lie, I have said no many times but not because of the risks. Yes, taking these opportunities would have changed my life in some way but they didn’t feel like a step forward. It felt more like stalling my growth. The moment I felt this in my gut was on my third year of college when the Workshop Director of the Industrial Design Department offered me a job as workshop assistant. As a designer this would have been a great opportunity, it looks great on a resume and I would have continued learning about tools and some on-hand product and prototyping processes. But I would have to leave my modeling job which paid more and was more flexible to my class schedule. You could say and conclude that I was more comfortable in the position I found myself in as a model.  And to be honest I was and then again, I already had experience prototyping and building products, and it felt like I wouldn’t learn much. I would have learned a couple of things and there’s no denying that. The truth is that I would be assisting students that were my junior and whatever I could help them with would be knowledge I already had. My gut feeling was that my modeling job would improve and I said “thanks, but no thanks” and turned the offer down. The Workshop Director looked at me like I was throwing a huge opportunity away and taking it for granted. He even gave me a week to think about it, and it was a week of pure struggle wetter I should take the risk or not. My boss, the done I modeled for, encouraged me take it and I still said no a week later. Had I taken the workshop assistant job I would have lost the opportunity to be Teacher’s Assistant, my modeling job turned into a teaching job in a matter of months. Being a T.A. while pursuing my Bachelor’s in Fine Arts is something very few students are able to do. I gained experience in teaching and helping students develop their proposals and projects as well as help develop the class and lead it from time to time. And I know it sounds like it was an easy decision but it wasn’t, I continuously questioned whether I was afraid to take this opportunity and with many people telling me “take it”, I still didn’t because it didn’t feel right for me because I wanted to grow and this felt like it would offer me the opposite. Because I didn’t take this risk, whether it was positive or not, the Workshop Director gave the job to someone whom had no experience and I saw a student that grew and learned more than people in his class, so much so that they would ask him for advice. My rejection of this job was an opportunity for someone else and this happens very often.

Changing your life and risking your position can be something hard to take in and to analyze in an unbiased way. We all do it but not taking risks can hurt your development, it be academic or professional. And you will feel pressure to accept all opportunities and risks that comes your way, but not every risk is a good one, that’s why they are called risks, something can easily go wrong. But what I mean when I say “not all risks are good ones” is that the risks you take should service your goals or help you get closer to them. If they don’t, you may learn a thing or to but you won’t be as passionate about what your doing and why you’re doing it. A common mistake is to be led by the fear of what could change once you have taken this risk, but fear isn’t a way to approach your decision. The approach should be met with a “What can I gain?” mentality , not one that screams “This is what I’m loosing”. These risks come from unexpected opportunities that can change your life and they won’t be around forever, many are only given once in a lifetime. So neat time you take a risk ask yourself “What can I gain?”.

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