Why It’s Important to Take Risks
Getting the most out of school doesn’t mean just going to class and doing your homework. To become a well-rounded person, it’s also important that you take part in some extracurricular activities, so you can find out what interests you, develop new skills and make new friends.
Unfortunately, once you get into high school, taking part in extracurricular activities requires that you take some risks, which can often feel, well, risky.
If you want to play a sport, you have to try out for the team, and you may not make it. If you want to sing in the chorus or be in the school play, you have to audition. Even joining something that’s open to most students, like the anime club or the baking club, would mean that you have to meet new people and venture outside your social circle, which can seem daunting.
Faced with the possibility of rejection at a tryout or audition or having to be the “new kid” at a club, many students opt to not take a risk at all.
But learning how to take appropriate risks and step outside your comfort zone is one of the most important skills you can learn in life. After all, the greatest adventures and accomplishments people can have don’t usually happen while they’re sitting at home on the couch.
Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, put it like this: “The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”
Here are some of the biggest benefits from taking risks:
- Your self-esteem will grow
When you take a risk, such as trying out for the choir or going out for the soccer team, you may indeed be terrified, and you may not make the cut. But if you can be proud of yourself for trying, you’ll notice that your self-esteem will improve. Every time you try something outside of your comfort zone, you are growing and pushing yourself – and that just makes you stronger for the next risk you take.
- You will learn new skills
Even though you may not make every group or team at school, you can always find something to participate in. And joining those groups will teach you new skills that you’ll be able to carry into other areas of your life. You’ll have more experiences to put on your college application someday, too.
- You’ll make more friends
Have you ever seen the movie “High School Musical”? At the fictional East High School, the jocks never associated with the theater kids, and the theater kids never associated with the science decathlon kids. But when Troy and Gabriela branched out into doing another activity, they met new friends and the whole school came together. This can happen in real life, too!
- You become empowered to make choices in your life
When you avoid taking risks, you may grow up to be very passive, letting life happen to you, rather than being proactive about going after your dreams. When you realize that you can try something and succeed, you’ll learn that you have a lot of power over your own happiness.
- You’ll learn how to embrace failure
School tends to wire students to focus on doing things “right.” After all, most teachers still give As for right answers, not risky ones. But real learning and achievement can only come when we get comfortable with failing. Failing is the only way that we learn. If you don’t make the cut for the baseball team, you can work on improving your hitting and catching so you can try out the following year. Or it may show you that you really don’t want to play baseball after all, which frees you up to pursue something else.
- You may succeed
And let’s not forget the most important one – when you take a risk, you may actually succeed and love it! Of course, you won’t know unless you try.