I have people ask me every year to give them my resolutions for the New Year and I am always loath to do this because it can be a very personal thing. However, this year, which will be my 60th on this earth, I feel like I need to offer up the wisdom I have gathered as a guy who has pretty much tried everything and learned volumes from his failures (and a few successes).
So here it is: My New Year's Resolution for 2012 which has been my same battle cry for about 25 years.
I wrote about this in my book a few years back under the chapter 'Hard work, Risk and Prayer' and it is a concept that the world's most successful people have learned to embrace on the road to greatness. There have been many polls over the years where senior citizens (people 80-100 years old) were asked what they would have changed about their lives. Nearly every man and woman said they would have RISKED more. Crazy, right?
How is it possible that most of us will eventually look back on our lives and wish we had taken more chances? It's true. For some reason, something in our DNA or something our parents told us established limits in our lives. That little voice in our head whispers promises of failure, embarrassment or ridicule. So, we stay in our comfort zone. We avoid taking risks because that will keep us safe from harm.
For the first one third of my life I missed out on amazing opportunities for success and joy because I was scared-to-death of failure and judgement. After many years of psychotherapy (beginning with Dr. John Hart) I was able to overcome those feelings and enjoy the beauty of RISK. There is no voodoo here and not really the need for therapy. It basically works like this.
Practice falling on your face so you'll know what it feels like. It's no longer some creepy, unknown horror. For example, Dr. Hart would have me sit at the piano and start a piece and then have me purposely make a mistake. He would ask me how it felt....what was going on in my body....to describe the feeling etc. Then he'd have me do it again and again. Then we would formulate a plan for recovery. Would I smile and acknowledge the error? Would I replace the notes with others? Would I pretend it didn't happen?
The point here is that you understand how failure feels (practice it) so you are not 'shocked' by that feeling and you can move on. You've seen men do this at parties where they ask 10 women to dance and the 11th says yes. You've seen quarterbacks throw a pass after 3 straight interceptions. You may have heard how I quit a 7-figure job at Entertainment Tonight to start a music career.
I used to work with Olympic skiing champion Billy Kidd and on the air I asked him his secret for becoming a true champion. "Falling....a lot", he said.
Risk. Make a commitment to flex your 'risk muscles' in 2012 and I will do the same. And please let me know your risk plans for this new year.
"The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live." - Leo Buscaglia.
"Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." - T.S. Eliot
All the best,