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As a means to an end risks can quantum leap you towards your goals and dreams and jump you out of your daily drudge. As an end in themselves they are often no more than gambling with fate.

We are pre-conditioned to avoid risks even though we deal with them on a daily basis. As a result, we turn away from opportunities to create the jobs we dream of, build the lives we long for, and make the moves that catapult our ideas to success.

“Do one thing every day that scares you,” Eleanor Roosevelt said, “On the other side of that fear, opportunity awaits.”

To a cautious person Eleanor Roosevelt’s advice might sound a little crazy. Fear is, after all, an intelligent way to protect ourselves from unnecessary risks and danger. A way to keep ourselves safe. Why then, would someone who plays by the rules deliberately put themselves in situations that threaten their well being – it goes against their nature and their upbringing.

However, when you pay attention to the events that scare you, as they are happening, a surprising thing happens. You might be afraid to extend an invitation, or to reach out to someone, for fear of being rejected. Or avoid attempting something new for fear you’d fail. Or withhold an opinion or not take a stand, for fear you’d be criticized or ridiculed. Nobody likes rejection, failure, ridicule, and criticism.

Dealing with risks is crucial for anyone who wants to be confident, happy, and engaged with life. “To grow, we need to experience challenges – whether we’re 4, 14, or 40,” says Dr. Michael Ungar, a professor at the School of Social Work at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In his book “Too Safe for Their Own Good,” he warns today’s society has become risk-averse. “By bubble-wrapping our lives,” says Dr. Ungar, “we are taking away opportunities to experience the building blocks of growth — which may be the biggest risk of all.”

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