December 19, 2019
6 min read
TEDxMünchen Team - "Ideas worth spreading" - TEDxMünchen
The great Muhammad Ali once said:
In our last post, we talked about the art of decision-making. Often the act of choosing requires a certain amount of risk to be taken. We’re living in unpredictable times and mostly don’t know what outcome will follow. Taking risks can be uncomfortable. It makes us feel insecure, requires to let go of control, pushes us out of our comfort zone. But at the same time taking risks encourages us to have faith in a positive outcome, to have trust in the process of personal growth no matter what happens.
Career-wise, taking risks is a necessary evil. It is crucial for leadership success and can sharpen your business skills by teaching you valuable skills you otherwise would have never learned. It also helps you build the confidence and wisdom you need in order to grow.
When we were children we did it all the time: Learning how to walk or talk, how to make new friends, how to ride a bike, how to solve difficult new tasks. All this required us to get out of our comfort zone and take some risks. And suddenly we went from someone who didn’t ride a bike one week to, next week, someone who does*. The problem is, as we get older, we rarely do this but sort of lockdown the sense of who we are instead. Shaping our own comfortable and safe bubble where we stay most of the time. But from time to time it is important to take a step out of this space, broaden our horizon, meet new people, learn new things, jump off the (metaphorical) cliff. It might not work out every time but we can learn so much from the process of simply trying. For example, it might change our relationship to ideas.
Most people look at new ideas that come their way and they judge them. "That's a great idea" or "That's a terrible idea." But it's actually much more nuanced. Ideas are neither good or bad.*
By taking risks and staying open-minded we foster an attitude of looking at ideas through the lens of possibilities and can turn them into something brilliant. Even though we have thought of them as “terrible ideas” in the beginning.
Again, we might not be successful in the end. But who knows what the future holds. Encounters, experiences, insights we would not have expected in the first place.
We invite you to a little challenge: Every day over the next few weeks we encourage you to stretch and take some risks that get you out of your comfort zone. Just like Tina’s students at Stanford University:
[…] For example, I might ask them to do an intellectual risk and try to tackle a problem they haven't tried before; or a social risk, talking to someone sitting next to them on the train; or an emotional risk, maybe telling someone they really care about how they feel.*
The range of risks is wide: Intellectual, physical, financial, emotional, social, ethical and political. Start by picking one of them. And then another one. And another. By doing so we gain more and more confidence to take on bigger and bolder risks, growing and evolving every step of the way.
So, you’re ready to jump?
In case not, a little citric acid might help. A study at the University of Sussex found out that sour taste stimulations promote riskier behavior. Of course, we’re not talking about enhancing completely reckless behavior but motivate risk-averse people to seize new opportunities**.
Maybe you try it as well?