Take Risks: Why A Better, Fuller Life Is Just One ‘Why The F*ck Not’ Away

When fears and trepidations threaten to hold you back from genuine and potentially life-changing experiences, take a moment, sit back and ask yourself:

Why the f*ck not?

This simple, yet profound phrase should be your mantra in life.

It’s really just another way of asking, “What am I so afraid of? And what do I have to lose?”

In truth, there aren't always easy answers to these questions.

Fear is a complex notion.

Some of us have general phobias, including everything from bugs to plane crashes, shark attacks and perhaps even zombies.

Yet, our most debilitating fears often occur in the form of everyday worries.

We stay in mind-numbing jobs because we dread unemployment. We date people we’re not in love with because we don’t want to be alone. And we don’t follow our passions for fear of failure.

We are constantly placing limits on ourselves, often unconsciously and as a product of what is deemed normal and acceptable. But we are not meant to live our lives in boxes.

Let go of who you are in order to become who you can be.

There’s almost nothing more depressing than seeing people choose comfort over fulfilling their full potential.

A lot of people fall into this trap. They confuse a monotonous and unchallenging life for a happy one.

These people settle for less instead of taking any real chances. They’re so afraid of failure; they’ve convinced themselves remaining immobilized actually makes them content. This is the epitome of a wasted life.

When you’d rather remain on the sidelines than step in the game, you never get a chance to see what you’re capable of. There is far more honor in trying and failing than never trying at all.

Lao Tzu, the father of Taoism and one of history’s greatest philosophers, once stated:

When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

If you’re unhappy right now, ask yourself what you’re doing to change this. When we accept routine and condone the status quo in the midst of discontentment, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Leave your comfort zone and conquer your fears.

People often mistake risk-taking for recklessness, but they are not one in the same.

Taking risks does not necessarily mean seeking out adrenaline-fueled experiences, although there is certainly nothing wrong with this. Rather, in a broader sense, we take a risk every time we step outside of our comfort zone.

For example, say you’re offered your dream job, but it’s in a brand new city where you don’t know anyone. The easy path would be to say no, as you wouldn’t have to step outside of the world you already know.

In the process, however, you’d give up an opportunity to evolve, adapt and grow as a person.

Simply put, risk-taking is the process by which we confront and overcome our fears.

It is through struggle and adversity that we mold the best versions of ourselves. By taking risks, we acknowledge the value of failure.

We learn a lot more from defeat than victory.

Risk takers are happier, and they’re natural leaders.

Taking risks is always a gamble, but that’s part of the complex beauty of this journey we call life. It’s a harmonious balance of good and bad, pain and delight.

Happiness is not a permanent state; it’s a fleeting sentiment that comes and goes.

If you never take any significant chances, however, you’ll always be left wondering if things could’ve been better had you done things differently. This is one risk you definitely do not want to take.

The happiest people in the world are those who don’t think twice about seizing opportunities.

They have an unadulterated passion for life and all that it offers. And their enthusiasm for new experiences is contagious.

Indeed, risk-takers are constantly setting an example for others. They set themselves apart from the pack, evolving into leaders in the process.

Likewise, if we look back in time, the most accomplished individuals in history all possessed the quality of audacity.

A willingness to go out into the unknown is indispensable; it’s the only way humanity has ever progressed. And while it may be dangerous, remaining static is a tacit way of accepting premature death. Or as Bob Dylan puts it:

He not busy being born is busy dying.

In other words, a life without risk isn’t really a life at all.

Let’s put it this way: Staying inside keeps you safe, but your day doesn’t really begin until you open the front door and feel the sunshine on your face.

Step outside, conquer the day. And then, do it over and over again for the rest of your life.

As JK Rowling once aptly stated:

It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.

We can’t map out our entire lives. Sometimes we just have to step into the wilderness without a compass and let it take us where it will.

Take risks. Dive into the deep end headfirst. Say, “Yes” as often as possible.

Embrace the arbitrary nature of the world. Chant, “Why the f*ck not?” when hesitation plagues you. And by the end of it all, you will have truly lived.

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John Haltiwanger