I have been wandering around Paris listening to aspiring rappers twist their tongues and hopeful singers spill their soul on street corners and in metro stations. I am sure that some of their family, friends, and peers are less supportive than others, but these talented hopefuls aren’t the least bit swayed. Each day they write, they sing, and they tweak playback tracks all with the hope that they will be able to touch lives through music and make a living from their passion.
These people inspire me because they are brave. I consider them brave because they are intent on living a life that they love, even if it means taking risks. Starting in childhood (at least in the U.S.), we are conditioned to view risk as a negative thing to be avoided at all costs. Risk aversion has led many of us to obediently shuffle through life in the pursuit of stability and perceived safety, even if that means suppressing bold, creative, and innovative ideas from within. LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, says we need to do just the opposite in order to build stronger individuals that are adaptable in a rapidly changing society and economy. He argues that intelligent risks are good, and in fact necessary for your longterm success and growth. Good stuff.
You won’t see me singing on street corners, but I do plan to begin taking more intelligent risks in an effort to sashay, rather than shuffle through life. Seriously, take a minute to think about the physical act of shuffling - your feet drag and make an annoying swishy sound; your shoulders droop, creating a posture that projects low-motivation; and in general you emit silent waves of insecurity. On the other hand, when you sashay you move confidently with purpose and command the attention of others.
I want to sashay in this world. Join me.