Take a risk

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Kristina Wyman's picture
Caroline Critelli

“Do something every day that scares you.”

If you’re a living breathing human being, it’s pretty likely that you’ve heard this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt before. There are probably plenty of people who actually do live their life like that. Stepping out of their comfort zone comes so natural to them that it might barely feel like they’re actually afraid of whatever it is they’re doing.

I’m sure a lot of people are inspired by this quote, but how many of us actually live by it? I know I don’t. I know that as interesting as it would be to actually be constantly doing things that you wouldn’t normally do, so why not? This obviously revolves around each individual and their personal comfort zone.

There are some people who would never have the courage to do karaoke, even though it’s something that’s just meant to be fun, silly and even a little embarrassing. Meanwhile someone would totally sing their heart out at karaoke, but would never do something like sky diving; it all depends on what you find scary.

Those two examples are clearly different, as skydiving has a little bit more of a risk factor. I highly doubt that sky diving is what Eleanor Roosevelt had in mind when she said this. Sure, there are some people who would ride a crazy roller coaster or swim with sharks as a way of getting out of their comfort zone and doing something new. But I don’t really think that was how this quote meant to be interpreted.

Sure, there are probably some people who look at it that way and I don’t think that that’s a bad way to understand it, but it’s obviously not for everyone. I look at it as more the little things that you might let go every day because you’re just too nervous about what could happen as a result of your actions. You would rather remain predictable or have someone else take the steps for you than you actually doing it for yourself. When I think of this quote, I think of sticking up for yourself when someone’s treating you poorly or asking someone if you can sit with them at Taylor Dining Hall or even telling someone that you love them.

All of these things are scary because you can’t predict how things will turn out; you just have to do it. When you look at this saying in this way, you’ll notice that the things that you’re afraid of revolves more around caring what other people think of you more than you care about yourself. And while you should care somewhat about what people think of you, it should never be your main focus.

This goes back to things like karaoke and how a lot of people refuse to partake in it because they’re too afraid of looking stupid in front of a crowd of people that they forget why karaoke is a thing in the first place. You’re supposed to look like an idiot when you sing karaoke, that’s just how it works. Even the people who are amazing singers still act as goofy as possible when they do karaoke because it’s about having fun not about talent.

Another example that I personally connect to, as I partake in theatre, is improvisation. Improv is when an actor is thrown into any scene and just has to make everything up on their own, and it’s terrifying. You don’t know what’s going to be thrown at you or what the other people with you are going to come up with. But, some of my favorite acting memories are ones that came from improv exercises. I wouldn’t have those great memories if I didn’t at least take the risk and try.

It’s not easy to do things that scare you, sometimes the bad out weigh the good that can come from taking a risk. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put yourself out there every so often. Maybe not every day, but once in a while; doing something that scares you helps you grow, so take a chance and see what happens.

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