Risk Averse? Practice Going Into the Unknown

blog el 2 2.6.14It’s been said that many lawyers are risk averse, that we like to play it safe.  Now I’m not sure if that means the type of person who chooses to become a lawyer is by nature risk averse, or rather if it is a trait acquired in law school or while practicing.  In any event, it is a characteristic that we at times must overcome to stand tall in who we are and follow our dreams with vision and purpose.

A book that has inspired me to live courageously is Osho’s, “Courage: The Joy of Living Dangerously”.  This philosophical piece, bursting at its binding with wisdom, begins with this sentence: “Courage means going into the unknown in spite of all the fears.”  Osho further states, “[c]ourage does not mean fearlessness.”  Yes!  Courage does not mean fearlessness.  However, Osho goes on to explain that the more we are courageous, the less fear we will feel.

There are a plethora of things that we would love to do, but don’t.  Why?  Sometimes it has to do with being too afraid to take the first step, or follow through even after having taken that first step.  We know the dreams that we hold dear in our hearts.  But these dreams are overcome by self-doubt, feelings of insecurity, speculation about other people’s opinions… If unchecked, there is no end to the mental churning that can plague and slowly destroy our dreams.  As soon as one negative thought creeps in, an avalanche of doubts can ensue.  We can become paralyzed by fear.  Unable to see the now cloudy vision, and wondering why we were so foolish in the first place to even think that such a thing could ever manifest, the light dims.  How could we dare get our hopes up?

The obvious conclusion to living a life of fear and self-doubt is that we remain forever separated from our goals.  Our life story becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and our satisfaction with life as-is quickly dwindles.  One way that I’ve found to overcome fear and begin practicing courageousness is to take Osho’s advice and boldly walk into the unknown.  When given choices, one of my mechanisms for choosing is to go in the direction that is unfamiliar, the one I have yet to try.  Why go back down the same road?  I know where it ends.  I know how the journey looks on that route.  Why not this time try something different?  And one can start this new way of choosing with the mundane

I usually take this route home from work.  What happens when I spontaneously turn down an unknown street?

I usually wear black to work.  What if I wear hot pink today? 

I usually don’t speak in meetings.  Today I will make myself ask at least one question or offer at least one observation.

Begin with small things.  This will build confidence in self until you are able to tackle even bigger risks.  What is the worst that can happen?  Osho states that, “[t]he courageous person goes into the unknown in spite of all the fears.”  Do not wait to become fearless to follow your dreams.  Follow them in spite of your fears.

Eye-and-eye mantra: Be the woman you want to be at all times!

Copyright 2014 Ajua awkins

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