Most of us lead lives filled with routine. We get up at a particular time, get ready for our day, and embark about the myriad of responsibilities we need to attend to. We make our beds, clean up the kitchen and feed the dog as though we were robots.
This kind of mindless living can steal our joy and make us ask the dreaded question “Is this all there is?”
That usually gets me thinking about changes I’d like to make to spice up my life. So I live in my dream world while the hours and days fly by.
Edwin Locke, one of the foremost researchers in goal-setting, states that the No. 1 thing that stands in the way of goal attainment is fear. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of the unknown, fear of making the wrong decision, looking foolish, being embarrassed and so on.
Combine that fear of risk with a lack of energy to work toward our goals, and a lack of confidence in our abilities, and it’s no wonder we stay locked in our old habits and routines despite our unhappiness.
Carolyn Adams-Miller, author of Creating Your Best Life List, says that when we engage in a well-planned risk, even if it’s scary, we immediately gain confidence, progress toward goal accomplishment and an increase in our life satisfaction.
If you think about it, every choice we make in life holds some degree of risk. Each time we get into a car, fly in a plane, or cross the street we are taking risks. If you choose an out-of-the-ordinary restaurant, you might not enjoy your meal. Or then again, it could be the best you’ve ever tasted.
Although these things are minor risks as compared to choices that can lead to life-changing events, Todd Kashdan, Ph.D., author of Curious? believes that most people overestimate risk, failure and danger and underestimate the value of being curious. He writes, "We can, and should, choose how we want to live our lives.
Are we governed by fear and the need for safety, or are we willing to accept a bit of risk and anxiety in the pursuit of satisfaction, growth and meaning?"