“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction.” – John F. Kennedy
I, by nature, am a cautious person. I’m sensitive to what’s around me. Always have been.
And I think this can be a good thing a lot of times. I am in tune with the emotions and vulnerabilities of people around me. I’m less likely to get myself in dangerous situations.
But I’ve come to realize that I’ve also missed out on quite a bit this way. Back when I was younger, I missed the opportunity for an exciting first kiss. I also let the chance to live in a different country slip through my fingertips at one point.
Luckily, life gives second, third, and many more chances.
About six months ago, someone I care about told me that I often didn’t take chances, or do anything spontaneous or wild. Hearing a loved one say this was striking and a bit hurtful, but it also got me thinking. To this day, I believe this person gave me a gift that could’ve been rare to come across: the gift of a new mindset.
“Do I take chances?” I’ve asked myself over the past several months. “Am I doing things in my life that I’ll look back on and be proud of?”
“Where would I be now if I had taken action?”
I realized that, in my day-to-day journey, I do not take the action in my life that I could – no – that I want to. I often stay back as bystander, afraid to tinker with a situation and make the outcome worse as a result. And while this may stop me from hurting others or creating chaos at times, it also leaves me creating, well, nothing.
So, in the past six months, I’ve taken leaps and bounds to make sure I’m doing and creating things. At first it felt like I was going through a quarter life crisis. Now it feels like I’m taking new strides in my life to be the person I want to be. Here are some things I learned that might help others too.
I am not a planner. I like to relax and let others do the planning.
But this year I realized being a “planner” has its benefits. For one, you can make sure exciting things happen. Such as a cool trip (I’m going to Australia soon), or even just attending a local concert that sells out in an instant.
Sure, plans don’t always work out. But the “planners” I know are the ones who do the most exciting things in their spare time, and I admire them for their energy.
2. Leisure Time Will Come
At the end of the workday, nothing sounds better than eating a good meal and sitting in front of the TV. But sitting in front of the TV, night after night, isn’t beneficial in the long run. C’mon, you gotta do something other than work and lounge!
Whenever possible, I’ve been hitting up a local gym for a class at night. Or reaching out to a distant friend for a midweek dinner date. I have had to backlog some of my favorite TV shows, but more importantly, I feel a lot better and satisfied as a person overall.
3. But Also Take Time to Be Alone
I am definitely not trying to say all of life should be go, go, go. I’ve worn myself out at times, and therefore learned that one of my favorite things is when I’m alone in my room, drinking a glass of wine, and reading a good book. I absolutely LOVE dedicating a Sunday to a “me day” when possible.
I believe this is because you have to build a good, stable relationship with yourself in order to go out in the world and confidently take action. And the only way to build a relationship with yourself, is to be alone with yourself.
Once you do that, go live a vibrant, fulfilling life.