Make Life A Daring-Do Adventure

Too much comfort in our lives and work is as unhealthy for personal growth as too much risk and danger. The key to taking risks is to learn the 7 keys of personal change.

1. First Change Yourself. When we find ourselves in an unsatisfactory position that is due to circumstances beyond our control, such as a job we no longer enjoy or people we no longer like, most of us try to change the situation. We complain, moan, criticize, judge, and condemn. None of which works. That’s because there is only one way to change an unsatisfactory situation. And that’s to change ourselves.

2. Let Go Of Old Positions. When we stay entrenched in old positions, even if they are no longer relevant, there is no possibility of change or improvement. That’s when it is time to take a risk. That’s what Mikhail Gorbachev did in the 1980’s when he recognized the changes in the world around him. In his meetings with the US President Reagan, Gorbachev took a huge risk in offering a one-sided reduction in nuclear weapons. The risk meant the ending of the arms race and with it unprecedented changes in the history of the world.

3. Think Like A New Start. When we start a new adventure or a new enterprise, there is a buzz about us. We’ve all felt it. It’s like the first day at a new school or a new job. Sadly, we soon lose that feeling beneath familiar routines and habits. In taking personal risks, we can re-discover it. As Ray Kroc, founder of McDonalds said: “When you’re green you grow; when you’re ripe, you rot.”

4. Re-Invent Yourself. Real personal change comes when we do more than just learn a few new skills and habits. It comes when we re-invent ourselves. Re-inventing ourselves is a way of casting off one identity and putting on another. Tom Peters goes so far as to say that the imagination and zeal to regularly re-create yourself is the definition of greatness. And it doesn’t have to be something you do just a few times in a lifetime; it can be something you do each new day.

5. Manage Your Own Morale. Taking risks is fraught with difficulties and dangers but we can keep going if we learn how to manage our own morale. The keys to morale management are working on your belief that things will turn out positively in the end and creating a support system to help you through tough times. This can be your own support group, the inspiration of people who’ve been there and done that, and keeping the whole process light.

6. Step Back. When we take risks, it is valuable to be able to distance ourselves from what we are involved in and take an objective position. Here we can see what is going on without being in the fray. When we do that, we can accept criticism dispassionately and not personally. It’s also the place we can go to take a breather and chill out.

7. Be Willing To Fail Before You Succeed. All risk carries with it the possibility of failure. Fear of failure is one of the chief reasons we hesitate to take risks in the first place. But we can overcome the fear of failure by making friends with it. As William Faulkner says, there is far more to learn from failure than from success: “To try something you can’t do, to try and fail, then try again. That to me is success. My generation will be judged by the splendour of their failures.”

Taking these 7 steps in personal change assures you of moving assuredly out of your comfort zones. When you do, you’ll find that the old comfort zone has now expanded and what once looked like a danger zone has now become a place you feel safe with.