On Taking Risks and Making Your Own Luck
I have recently been practicing the act of spontaneity. I have been doing things that scare me, things that I’ve never seen myself doing. I’ve been taking chances and making decisions all in an effort to make myself happier.
I kind of like being spontaneous. It allows for me to step into somebody else’s shoes, or to be the person I could be if I didn’t have so much damn anxiety.
There’s something to be said for bravery and taking risks, embracing chances. You never know what will happen when you do something on a whim.
That’s how I won tickets to SXSWi. I signed up for a sweepstakes on Twitter and somehow won. I chalked it up to a fluke; I’m not a lucky person. I don’t win things. This kind of experience doesn’t happen to me.
Until it did.
While at SXSW I decided to do a bunch of things that scared me. Simply being there was anxiety enough, but navigating Austin by myself? Well that was downright terrifying.
But I did it.
I went to panels , listened to speakers, participated in workshops, ate free food and simply did whatever I decided to do. I didn’t really have an agenda or anywhere I had to be because anywhere I went would have been amazing.
One workshop I went to was PhotoCamp. It was all about taking quality photos with your iPhone. I met some pretty cool people in that workshop, some of which I’m still in contact with.
One of the great things about that session was that we took a chance and entered a contest as a group. There were four of us and the perimeters were simply that we had to use a specific app (RingReef) and collaborate on a photo project about SXSW. Our photos had to be cohesive and reflect how we viewed the event. There could only be 20 photos.
We were able to whittle down our submissions, although it was super difficult since we had so many good pictures, and somehow we won.
Some of the photos included in this post are ones we won the contest with. What we won with those photos is pretty awesome – we each get a special phone cover that is magnetic and has different lenses, some other iPhone photo stuff, and last but not least, the new iPad.
These kinds things don’t happen to me.
I also entered a scavenger hunt contest with a company called FoundIt! which was based on Twitter. I won that too. I don’t know what the prise is, but it should arrive next week.
When I told Madeline at work the story about winning the ticket, the photo contest and the scavenger hunt and said that these kinds of things don’t happen to me, she laughed at me and said, “I don’t think you’re allowed to say that anymore.”
And in that moment, when I said they don’t happen to me, I realized something: these kinds of things don’t happen to me because I never let them. I never enter contests because I don’t think I’ll win. I never put myself out there and take risks. I never make spontaneous decisions.
But look at what happens when I do! Maybe some people are naturally lucky. I think that, more likely, these are the people that make their own luck. They are the ones who show up and go for it, whatever “it” may be.
You know the Wayne Gretzkey saying, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” ? Well, as cheesy as it is, I now know what he meant.
I think I’ll start taking more risks and making more of my own luck. Apparently that’s the best way to do it.