Taking risks is one of the scariest things you can do. It’s something completely subjective. Something that may present a risk to you, may be completely natural to others and vice versa. So why do it?

There are many benefits to taking risks. For one, it may give you the opportunity to pursue your dreams. Imagine if you have a steady 9 to 5 job which pays very well but your true dream is to become a singer. It would be a huge risk to quit your job and pursue your passion but if you don’t take it, you will never know what could happen.

Risk also teaches you to have clear goals and to follow through no matter what – calculated risk that is. I wouldn’t condone to just take completely random risks. Think about your options. Think about why you are risking something and what the outcome can be and set clear expectations with yourself.

Imagine the feeling you will have when taking a risk. You feel so powerful, so independent and so proud of yourself. Afterwards, a huge weight is lifted off your back when you succeed. That is another benefit. You take matters into your own hands and you make things happen yourself instead of just sitting around and waiting for them to happen to you (or not).

When doing things that you normally wouldn’t do, you learn about yourself. You learn about your strengths and your talents and you might even discover new passions. But you’ll never know if you don’t try right?

But what is risk actually? According to Dan Borge in his book “The Book of Risk”, it means being exposed to the possibility of a bad outcome. However he describes something called ‘risk management’, which allows you to take action and shift those bad odds in your favor. So how to make this magic?

Project forward! Don’t just think about how great it will feel to not have to deal with your current boss anymore. Think about the future. Does it really make sense to quit your job right now? Or should you start working on your passion in your free time and first get a feel for it. Think about how things will play out, either on paper or in your mind and be smart about it.

Think about the worst case possible scenario. What would it be? Is it something that you can recover from? Is it very likely to happen? And if so, what could you do beforehand to minimize that risk?

What is it costing you right now, not to take this risk. Is it your health? Your happiness? Your finances? Is it really worth staying where you are right now and sacrificing so much just for security? Inspect every aspect of your decisions.

There is a common misconception that risks have to be spontaneous and that you should just dive in without any thoughts. Carpe Diem right? Well no. Risks can be a powerful tool for success but they have to be calculated and planned beforehand. Otherwise your odds for success might become very minimal.

In the words of John D. Rockefeller “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great!”

Be a leader who inspires others with their analytical risk taking. Show others that it’s okay to take risks and how the outcome might be incredible.

What risks are you going to take?

Head on over to opportunities.aiesec.org to take a risk and make new experiences.