Every success in my life has come when I’ve gone with my gut, stared down my fears, and taken a giant risk. When I decided to go to film school, I left behind a stable income to see if I had any talent as a filmmaker. At that point, I had done NOTHING in filmmaking. All I knew was that I had to try it, or I would regret it for the rest of my life.
When we made our first feature film, “As It Is in Heaven,” we took another giant risk. We set the date for production, had few funds, limited resources, and an incomplete script. All we knew was that we had to make a feature film and we had to do it now.
When we started this company, we took the biggest risk of our lives. We left behind stable jobs, predetermined career paths, and two different states. We both knew we had one opportunity to make it work, so we went for it and braved the unknown.
Though uncertainty is always present at the beginning, success seems to follow risk. The question is, “Why?”
1. Risk Forces You to Confront Your Fears
Whether it is fear of loss, fear of failure, fear of abandonment, or fear of embarrassment risk-taking requires you to acknowledge and overcome your deepest fears. To take a risk does not mean you throw logic out the window. It simply means you become unwilling to make a decision based on a worst case scenario. Instead, you recognize that the potential payoff outweighs the potential loss. When you couple this with the knowledge that you only get to live once, each decision takes on added meaning.
2. Risk Requires You to Abandon “Safe-Thinking”
If there’s anything that can leave you bored, aloof, and apathetic it’s the pursuit of safety. Let me first clarify: Safety isn’t an inherently negative thing. We desire safety for our families, safety for our friends, safety for our businesses, and safety for our investments. That’s not bad. It’s human. But if this becomes your sole pursuit, you will end up with safety and nothing else. Risk forces you to pursue higher things: a meaningful vocation, deep relationships, and a fulfilling lifestyle. None of which can be acquired through the sole pursuit of safety.
3. Risk Enables You to Find Your Strength
In the process of placing yourself in a risky position, you will discover something you never expected: your strength. Strength is never discovered on your couch. It is discovered “out there,” as you confront the unknown. Known spaces, overwrought with familiarity and comfort, can make us lax and weak. But when you set sail and follow the call, you discover new opportunities, new ideas, and new relationships. All of which, require you to build new mental, emotional, and physical muscles. In this process, which is sometimes painful, you discover how capable, strong, and brave you actually are. And this leads to personal transformation.
4. Risk Helps You Push Yourself Creatively
The connection between risk and creativity is undeniable. By putting yourself in a place of exposure, you feel an “added pressure.” The higher stakes force you to pivot quickly, reimagine at every turn, and make every decision count. This creates a mental space for new ideas to emerge. Risk creates possibility and possibility opens your eyes.