Risk-Taking Has Its Rewards

Remember back when we were kids and the highlight of our summer day was when we heard the ice cream truck driving throughout our neighborhood? No matter what we were doing, we'd drop it to run to the curb with our dollars crunched in our hands and wave at the cheery vehicle blaring familiar tunes like "The Wheels on the Bus." At least three times a week, I'd hear the music coming up the street, so I would wait for the ice cream truck at the end of my driveway dreaming of the delicious, sweet treat that I would soon have in my possession. I remember one Saturday in particular, after hearing “The Wheels On The Bus,” I ran to the end of my driveway, and I waited.

And I waited.

And waited. And waited.

And the ice cream truck never came. I could hear the music, but it never drove down my street. I walked back inside with a dollar and two quarters sticking to my sweaty hand, and I was so disappointed. To me, it wasn't just ice cream. It was tradition. Something familiar. The ice cream truck not coming on Saturday was something different, and I wasn’t sure how to cope or understand it.

Even at a young age, I feared change. I feared having something one day and losing it the next, and it hasn't gotten any easier as I've grown older. Nearly 15 years later, I'm still as scared as ever. A big fear of mine is playing it safe--getting too used to a routine and never stepping outside of my comfort zone. Never walking up to the next block for that ice cream. Instead, I stand still and wait. For some, it works. For me, the thought alone destroys me.

I'd like to think I take risks in life. They're calculated and measured, but they're risks. The only way to grow is by stepping outside of your comfort zone, crossing the street, and standing at the next block, even if you feel like it’s not worth the risk. Something that I have learned through experience, trial and error, and standing still too many times to count is that it's always worth the risk. 

If you want something, going after it regardless of the outcome is always worth it. If I know this, if WE know this, then why is it so hard to open up your front door and walk outside? It is so incredibly hard to take a risk, any risk, because we are afraid that we might fail. Our mission might fail. We might be left waiting at the end of our driveways for nothing. Feeling stood up by life. We are so afraid to take a risk for fear of losing something in the process, but what we fail to remember is that when you take a risk, even if you don’t end up with what you were seeking, you don’t leave empty-handed.  You leave with so much more.

You aren’t without ice cream. You are with courage. You are with bravery. You are with guts. All because you went for it. Regardless of the outcome, you went for it. And that counts for a lot. Sure, the music might be different now. It's not "The Wheels On The Bus" anymore. The ice cream truck might not sell overpriced, overly sweet Spongebob popsicles anymore. Hell, the truck might never even come. But at least you tried! You opened the door and you stepped outside.

Don't stop looking, because you know the risk will be worth the reward. Even if you don’t end up with the ice cream, you end up with courage, bravery, and guts. And guess what? It didn’t cost you $1.50 to find it. All it took was taking a risk.