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When Being in Control is a Disservice

In: WTF Am I Doing With My Life?

I've got little patience for excuses.

I proactively call myself out whenever I catch myself making excuses in order to either procrastinate or invent reasons why I shouldn't put myself out there.

Why?

Because sometimes, putting yourself out there is nail-bitingly, blood-curdingly, will-drive-you-to-drink, flat-out terrifying at times. It's far easier to continue doing what we've always done, or to take the easier route, than it is to risk our pride, financial stability and comfort in knowing what to expect on a day to day basis. Risk invites the prospect of humiliation, self-doubt, uncertainty, instability, and often far more work than we imagined.

But on the flip side, risk also invites some highly attractive prospects: self-fulfillment, self-confidence, personal growth, professional growth, exhilaration, excitement, and much hotter sex, of course. You don't think the kama sutra was created by play-it-safers, did you?

Essentially the primary difference between risk takers and non risk takers is a matter of control; risk-takers are okay with not having it at all times, while non-risk takers tend to need it more.

Risk means uncertainty. Uncertainty means loss of control. But the big question here is: What does loss of control mean?

If we assume that oftentimes, risk is avoided in order to avoid loss of control, then it's important to analyze why loss of control is so greatly feared.

Must we have control at all times? What are the consequences if we don't?

Naturally, for each person, the answer to the latter will vary, but examining that answer is the only way we can move toward taking more risks. Truly ask yourself: What's the worst that could possibly happen? Oftentimes, the worst that could happen isn't nearly as bad as we build it up in our minds to be, and by looking at it through a more rational lens, we can reduce our fears, stop making excuses and start taking action.

Risky Roadtrips

As many of you know, I recently embarked on a cross-country road trip with fellow bloggers Colin Wright of Exile Lifestyle and Andi Norris of Instigationology.

To start, there are a million other things I could be doing this summer that would be safer alternatives, guaranteed to provide me with a more steady income and the assurance that I'll be able to pay my bills on time.

And to many people, safe is appealing. At times, safe is appealing to me, too. Safe is warm. Safe is welcoming. Safe is familiar. Safe is reassuring.

And while those things are pleasant–sometimes imperative–the opposite of safe can be just as appealing, and even more so. It's called vulnerability.

Being vulnerable allows us to greet new experiences with the tender innocence and openness necessary to grow. To allow ourselves to be taught. To grant ourselves the right to not know, and to be okay with it. To recognize when discomfort is in our best interest.

And for me, this road trip is doing just that: It's making me vulnerable in a number of ways, and I'm allowing it to, because I believe that the benefit of taking the risk will far outweigh the benefit of feeling secure.

As always, it comes down to priorities.

And right now, mine favor the value of experience over security.

 

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