Dare to risk it one day

Dare to risk it one day

You can sit in your comfort zone and sigh as life passes by, or take a leap of faith and enjoy the experience, irrespective of the outcome. The choice is yours, writes Suja Natarajan.

What is the worst that could happen? he thought to himself. “I could fail,” pat came the response. Umesh Rangasamy decided to take the risk. He quit his high-paying job and started ConnectCafe in Bangalore. 

“We live in a world that is constantly changing. The job you have now will be obsolete five to ten years down the road. One has to accept change and keep re-inventing oneself,” says the entrepreneur.

Most of us like to play safe. We feel secure with our regular jobs, usual relationships and run-of-the-mill investments; basically, an average life. But think of it. When you look back at your life, do you wish you had been a bit more adventurous, trusted yourself more to seize the opportunity and taken a leap of faith someday?

Well, there are people in this world who choose to think out of the box, seek a life of adventure, change and shun the mundane. Of course, it isn’t easy to stretch out of one’s comfort zone, and the fear of failure is more common than we think.

Ask Nishant Pai. “After seeing so many startups begin and fail, I don’t worry as much I used to,” confesses the co-founder of Pune-based Calm Ninja. After graduation, he declined many a plum job offers – considered professional suicide by many – and devoted all his energy on starting his gaming company. There may still be a long way to go, but Nishant is glad that he didn’t blindly follow the herd, but chose to pave his own path.

What is it that makes some people risk-takers? “We are influenced by our parents, buddies, school, what we read, what we are told, and adapt those into our personality. Some become risk-takers, while others decide to play safe; some may act on impulse, others choose caution,” says Dr P S Murthy, consultant psychiatrist at Manipal Hospital, Bangalore.

According to Dr Shobha Krishna, consultant psychiatrist at Fortis Hospital in Bangalore, the teenage years often offer a peek into one’s appetite for risk. “As a child grows into a teenager, the increase in the level of dopamine leads to more sensation-seeking activities,” she says. But not every risk is worth taking. There’s a fine line between being brave and foolhardy. “Good analysis of the situation is bound to give good results. Taking a risk is a mind-body process. There should not be any conflict between the body and the mind,” advises Dr Murthy.

A certain degree of uncertainty is normal – even necessary – when it comes to risk-taking decisions. It makes life more interesting, giving you a chance to embrace your individuality.

The path less taken

About six years ago, when Suraj Balasubramanian, had to choose between being a mundane marketing manager with an international sports apparel company and an unheard of career as a social media strategist, he made up his mind to give ‘different’ a shot. Even though he knew that it was going to be a shot in the dark, he went for it. Encouragingly, he had the support of his family and friends.

 “The thought that it was something niche and different from the mundane was my main motivation behind taking the risk,” he says. The rewards have been many, as social media turned out to become the next big thing.

The thing about risks is that its looks can be really deceptive. Sometimes what seems like a great misfortune can turn out to be a wonderful blessing. But you need to step out of your comfort zone to realise that, believes Senthil Nayagam.

“Had I not been fired from my previous job, I would not have started my own company. I would just have kept talking with my friends about new ideas, but never really done it,” confesses Senthil, director, Sedin Technologies – Rails Factory, Chennai.

Given his experience in running a browsing centre and bubbling as he was with new ideas in the latest technology, it made perfect sense to start his own venture. Started with a modest investment of Rs 50,000, along with his co-founder Dinesh, today the company has steadily grown in India and spread out in the US and Switzerland. Senthil is now poised to start something new yet again.

It takes a certain amount of courage to step into the unknown, to believe that you can deal with all the challenges that life will throw your way, to do things your way. It may not be easy, but the rewards can be more than worth the efforts.

Shruti N tried her best to make her marriage work. But after two years of abuse, she decided to walk out of the toxic relationship. It was a risk. She had no job or family support. “The initial days were hard, but I managed to find a job as a teacher. And now I know the decision was worth the risk,” she says. To see that light though, you need to brave through the tunnel. Keep faith, not let the world deter you. Because, as the popular saying goes, you won’t know how strong you are, until being strong is the only option you have. 

When you don’t have the money to nurture your passion, what do you do? Just give up? Not if you are Raam S. Ever since he can remember, he wanted to become a musician. The only way to fulfill his dream was to get a job and make enough money to help him pursue his dream.

“There was a lot of fear when I stopped learning music and started preparing for a job. And yes, I did get the job. But there was very little emotional support and zero financial support,” he says. Instead of letting his dream slip by, he risked not working on it for a while. And if everything goes as per plan, the musical ending may not be too far away. 

For those who are still too worried to step out of the cosy comforts of the known, here’s a story:

Once there were two seeds that lay next to each other in fertile soil. The first looked forward to grow, feel the sunshine and morning dews on her leaves. And so, she blossomed into a healthy plant. The second worried about what she may encounter in the dark and the damage that the hard soil could cause her delicate sprouts. She was concerned about a child uprooting her in case she opened up her blossoms. She wanted to wait until it was safe.

A yard hen, on the lookout for food, found the seed and ate it.

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