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Fear of Risk Can Be a Creativity Cruncher

Fear of risk is realistic. Imaginative, intelligent people fear danger, harm and evil. They naturally protect themselves and others - if they can - against gun-wielding attackers, financial insecurity, loneliness, corruption, blackmail, illness and death.

It is the degree of fear and the related anxieties that can be debilitating and cause natural emotions to become creativity crunchers, limiting the capacity to follow hunches, try new areas, take risks, enjoy life and be productive.

There are times when you need to take risks and there are times when risk-taking is inappropriate. If the water is infested with sharks, don't swim, but if it is filled with ideas to be explored, take the plunge. Risk means venturing where others have not, or staying behind to give more attention when others seemingly move forward. Risk means looking at the known as if it were unknown, and examining the unknown until it is known. Risk can be a stimulant; fear, a cruncher.

There are times when you have to stick out your neck in order to protect what you strongly believe in, or in order to explore areas of work which are relatively unfamiliar. As Hungarian-born English author Arthur Koestler stated: "If the creator had a purpose in equipping us with a neck, he certainly meant for us to stick it out." However doing this requires courage. You might fail and that is risky.

One of the greatest fears people have is that of failure. This fear is often related to the critical voices in their heads - their own, harsh voice of judgment or the voices of others who always find reason to criticize them often - in whatever they do. When facing the possibility of failure, it is a good idea to imagine the worst scenario, such as execution. Are you really going to be executed for your mistakes?

The more mistakes people make over a lifetime, the more they have attempted and the more they have learned. Creative people make more mistakes than others because they try more things. As Albert Einstein said, "A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new." A mistake is simply an experiment from which to learn.

However, when you repeatedly make the same errors, it might be an indication that you need to put the task away for a while and try a new approach or even do something quite different. You have to know instinctively when to continue and when to stop, when what you are doing has become an exercise in futility. Making mistakes might slow you down, but it won't prevent you from ultimately reaching your goal. Not learning from mistakes will. And not taking risks might seem safe to you, but you will also stagnate.

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