I am not a born risk-taker. As a baby, I was horrified by sand at the beach, and I demanded to be placed on a towel the entire vacation. When it came to trying new foods, there was no discussion. I was the child that refused to eat anything that was not the desired color, texture, and smell. Roller coasters were my enemy, and spontaneity was not in my vocabulary. I like plans, itineraries, check lists. Doing something, just because it felt right, wasn't on my radar. And yet, I have come to believe that life is about seizing opportunities, which seems like an oxymoron coming from someone who isn't comfortable leaping before they look. So, how did I arrive at this conclusion? A combination of things. First, I think I have learned from surrounding myself with people who are very comfortable taking big risks. Yes, I've seen those risks fail, but I've also seen them succeed, which has made me realize the value of living on the edge...a little bit. I think that's why I love skiing so much. The whole experience feels like a risk, looking over the cliff of a mountain, even if it's from the safety of my blue run. Watching other people fall and succeed from their risks makes you want to take a few of your own.
Secondly, it's completely impossible to think through every decision and weigh every alternative. While I will never be comfortable taking blind risks, I realize that the pro-con lists have to come to an end eventually. I believe that seizing opportunities isn't based on spontaneity, it's based on calculated risk. What does that mean? Well, I think it means looking at all your options, thinking things through, but understanding that there has to be a stopping place. At some point, you have to decide to swallow the fear and stick to your choice. It's about accepting that things may not work out perfectly, but you are willing to take the chance and do so with a positive outlook on the situation.
Calculated risk is about accepting that you do not know all the facts and being confident in your decision anyway. Seizing opportunities isn't about being a born risk-taker, it's about being willing to change. Look before you leap, and, if you're scared, maybe leap anyway.