I am good at taking risks.
Which, when I think about it, seems odd for someone who likes routine, stability, and repetition. Right?
I professed my love for those three things in The Art of the Routine – but now I am going to break it down and talk about how my big-picture life choices have always really boiled down to the idea of taking a risk.
First, let me outline a few of the risks I have taken that have gotten me where I am today:
- I have decided to drop out of college twice (and I’m not looking back). Once to focus on myself, the other to pursue my career. When I did go back to college the second time, I turned down UCLA for UCSD because I, quite frankly, didn’t give a shit.
- I decided to start my own magazine – which had a three issue run and was sold on newsstands and in Barnes & Noble locations nation wide.
- I decided to get tattoos in a community that abhors them.
- I decided to not get a traditional job and instead try to support myself via freelance work and start my own site (the one you are reading right now!).
I take risks. It’s what I do. But here is why I take them.
When I take a risk, it is because I know unequivocally and 100% that the decision seen as a risk is in line with who I am. Making any other decision would be a move against my true self. I know they might not work out and I try to take the most calculated risks I can – but even the calculated ones have failed me, leaving me with nothing and having to scrape from the bottom right back up.
But I will never make a life decision that is not in line with who I am. It’s just my thing. I physically can’t do it.
And for most of my life, who I am has been against the grain – so risk taking seems only natural.
Why work the 9-5 when I can create something of my own?
The ups and downs that come with creating something of my own? Yeah, I know – I’ll ride them and I apologize in advance for calling you crying at one point or another.
Even in high school, I trickled down a different path. I didn’t care about my GPA because I didn’t feel connected to it as a person. I didn’t think it defined me so why would I work so hard at something that I didn’t feel connected to as my identity? I cruised at an 80% for classes I knew I would never need again: statistics, physics, geometry. I excelled in the classes I wanted to participate in: art history, literature, English. If I didn’t think I was benefitting from Study Hall, I left school and drove to the nearest coffee shop and read poetry and the novels I wanted to read. Even back then, I managed my time to the fullest – ONLY THINGS THAT FULFILLED ME.
That put me at a risk when I applied for college and (surprise, surprise) I got rejected from all of them.
I remember telling my mom, “Well I guess they didn’t read my essay.”
I cried because the world around me – those of prestigious honor students and ivy league school admissions and private school tuitions – thought this was embarrassing.
But deep down, I didn’t think it was embarrassing. They hadn’t read my essay! They didn’t even judge me on what defined me – so why would I be upset? It’s like being casted for Blonde Girl #1 in a TV show when you’re a brunette.
I later found my way to Sarah Lawrence College – a beautiful, enriching school that was every little bit of ME. The curriculum breathed life into my soul. I had control over what classes I took, what projects I began, and I was surrounded by like minded people.
I take risks because I need to be true to myself. Not getting a 9-5 job and trying to make a freelance world and your own start-up site work is a RISK.
Getting that 9-5 job for me? That’s a mistake.
Taking risks also makes for a colorful story – one of ups and downs and creation. I believe each risk I take leads me to my last risk or my perfect outcome.
T.S. Eliot said, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far it is possible to go.”
I WANT TO SEE HOW FAR IT IS POSSIBLE TO GO.
So, I’ll take the risks – balance them out with some routine, rationality, and realistic life calculations – and continue to live as me, trying to find a wild and passionate life that I am proud of (that’s also stable because, remember, I like routine).
If you’re an entrepreneur, this all might sound familiar. There are a few things that prominently define me and staying true to myself, taking risks, and being an entrepreneur are some of my core definitions.
REVUE was and is a risk. The only difference here is that this risk isn’t going anywhere.