Listen to Linnea: Take More Risks!

Most people take risks every day without knowing it, whether it be talking to someone they don’t normally talk to or getting up in front of their class to give a presentation. However, the bigger risks, the ones that can be life-changing, require a new level of courage and we tend to shy away from them out of fear of failure. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that getting out of our comfort zones can have far more benefits than we could ever imagine. I came to that conclusion from one of my own experiences.

I recently quit a sport I’d been doing every day for hours on end for almost 13 years. Ballet demanded so much of me that I suddenly had nothing to work toward, no goals, and way too much free time on my hands. I lost the friends I had and essentially I felt like I no longer had a purpose. So I started doing a few new things to try and fill the gap. I joined clubs, started volunteering more, and attempted to make friends. Those small risks I took might have made a small difference, but I still wasn’t happy. 

Then one Sunday night in late January, my mom told me about auditions for the spring musical at the high school. It was an opportunity to dance and do what I love in a more relaxed environment where I could meet new people. The only problem: auditions started the very next day.

I brushed it off initially. There was no way I could do an audition with no preparation in front of a group of strangers. The more I thought about it, the more impossible it sounded. So I have no idea what was running through my head when I emailed the director about signing up late. I’m clueless as to why I showed up to the dance audition after the director told me I could come. I don’t know why I prepared a song to sing in less than a day when I’ve never sung in front of people before. What I do know is that during those days I was running on pure adrenaline, impulse, and courage. 

Those few days tested me in ways I would never have agreed to had I had more time to think about it. There were more tears and moments of doubt than I can count but I found strength in myself I didn’t think I had. 

As a result, I’m now the happiest I’ve ever been. I would never have guessed just how kind, welcoming, talented, and hilarious the cast of High School Musical would be. I had never known just how much fun it could be to dance and sing without competition, constant scrutiny, anxiety, and toxicity. I found a world where I was accepted and people supported each other instead of being undermined. 

This experience showed me that big risks can have even bigger rewards. Those opportunities don’t come very often so you have to jump at the chance when they come around. My story proves that we are all capable of doing things we don’t think we can do, so we have to summon that courage and go for it. A lot of times it’s worth it to stop and think, but in my case I didn’t, I just went for it and I think that’s a good thing. 

Risk-taking builds resilience, increases confidence, and gives a sense of accomplishment. It might feel scary before or at the moment, but taking a risk, even if it doesn’t go as planned, can be exhilarating. 

So even if a risk doesn’t have a positive result, you can be satisfied that you at least tried, because what’s worse is not knowing what could have been.