TAKING A RISK
by Rabbi Michoel Gourarie
Growth, change and self-development isn't always easy. It requires a lot of effort and some risk taking.
An example of successful and drastic growth is the development of a baby from birth to about three years of age. In a relatively short period of time a child learns to roll over, sit, stand, walk and talk. Perhaps the primary factor that supports this spurt of growth is the willingness to take risks. Babies attempt various activities that they observe others doing, even though it might not succeed. If it does work they feel accomplished, if not they try again. With hard work and determination they will work for days to learn how to roll over. They will hold on, get up, and slip many times until they learn how to stand. They will take a few steps and keep falling until the experience of walking becomes easier.
As we get older we stop taking risks. We become inhibited and worry about the possibility of failure and disappointment. Complacency feels safer and we become satisfied with our current achievements. Going beyond the norm is frightening. In unknown and unvisited territory there exists a possibility of failure and rejection.
Our sages tell us that G-d wanted human beings to become partners with Him in creation. The creation of the universe was something totally new, preceded by nothing other than the existence of G-d. We too have the ability to create. We can discover new personality strengths we didn't think that we had. We can learn new concepts that are foreign to us. We can engage in spiritual experiences and activities that we are not used to. We can generate positive energy and create a different atmosphere around us.
True personal growth involves moving beyond our comfort zone and engaging in new experiences. In order to develop successfully, we must be prepared to explore new ideas and engage in practices that we are unaccustomed to. However, in order to achieve these new goals and create new environments we must learn from the baby and take that next step even when it feels risky. If we slip or fall we will just get up and try again.