We have all had that one time where we stood at crossroads in our lives wondering which path to take. We all also have wondered what our lives would have been like if we took another road. We hear of the feats of great men and women and the heart-rending decisions they had to make that led them there. We also hear of those whose heart-rending decisions led to their destruction and find ourselves confused and afraid when we reach our own crossroads. Don’t worry if you feel fear, I assure you we all do. It’s how we handle our fear that differs.
Perfect Conditions? Never.
In our fear most times, we look for the safest road to follow that won’t cause any damage at all. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean for us all to turn to adrenaline junkies and chase danger. The question is does that road you chose give you the result you wanted? In your fear of being hurt, you settled for something lesser. In your defense you say, “I would have done it but the conditions weren’t right.” If the conditions were always right, there would never be a crossroads in existence- it would be just one long, straight and monotonous road. You would walk down this road for a time but slowly feel empty inside because men were constructed to solve problems and there would never be a problem. Don’t ever wait for conditions to be perfect before you venture out to do something, there will always be less than perfect conditions and circumstances. Just move!
But this is only theoretical, in the real sense people just avoid taking risks. They then proceed to live their lives with ‘What-ifs’ poking their mind and being ‘Wanna-Bes’- people who want to be something but don’t have guts to do what it takes to get there. So they would rather take the path of doing nothing and that is worse than failure. You might make mistakes but learn from them and in that way grow. In doing nothing, you don’t succeed or make mistake so there’s absolutely nothing to learn from and if there is nothing to learn from, there is no way to grow- you remain stagnant moving in any direction life pushes you.
Taking sensible risks
There are risks that are worthwhile taking and others that absolutely foolish. So how do you know if the risk you want to take is sensible? The simplest way is to perform a risk assessment. To ensure you get the best out of the risk assessment, it is advisable that you perform a SWOT analysis first to better understand yourself and what you can handle. SWOT stands for Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats.
So the first step in risk assessment is to identify the risks involved in the decision you are about to take. Decide who might be harmed by the risk and how. You wouldn’t want to take a risk that would cause bodily harm to yourself or people around you. Next is to evaluate the risk and set up control measures. Look into the details of the risk, what it involves and how to prevent it or reduce its effect if possible. Review the assessment and compare them to your SWOT analysis to determine if you can handle it and if it is truly important enough to go for.
Once you are able to assess risks this way, you will find yourself more calm and calculated in situations where fear would have previously gotten the best of you. You would cease to sit on the fence of your life and you would move. There’s nothing more important than that. So start moving today and remember, if you fall get up and start again. You can only get better.
Contributor: Linda Okorie
Linda is a web developer, public speaker and occasional writer. She loves reading and watching movies.