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James Lindsay speaks at an event hosted by Turning Point USA at Pitt on Tuesday evening at Alumni Hall.
Turning Point speaker James Lindsay criticizes ‘queer theory,’ draws protest
By Briana Bindus and Khushi Rai 9:17 am

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James Lindsay speaks at an event hosted by Turning Point USA at Pitt on Tuesday evening at Alumni Hall.
Turning Point speaker James Lindsay criticizes ‘queer theory,’ draws protest
By Briana Bindus and Khushi Rai 9:17 am

Opinion | Take more risks

Opinion+%7C+Take+more+risks
Carrington Bryan | Staff Illustrator

Life is short — we all need to take more risks. Taking a risk requires you to step out of your comfort zone, something everyone struggles with in one way or another. Life is complicated, and deciding to take a risk is daunting, but doing so can create immense benefits. 

Many people ask themselves the question, “Why risk it?” Maybe they avoid situations because they do not want to embarrass themselves, fail or risk losing something. I’ve had this thought multiple times this year. There are many reasons people hesitate when taking risks or do not take them at all. 

Taking chances on things that scare you helps you to learn to tolerate uncertainty and anxiety. I won’t advocate for purposefully making your anxiety so unbearable that you are unable to breathe or tolerate being in such a state. However, pushing myself to see how much I can handle my anxiety in situations outside of my comfort zone has taught me new things about myself, and has helped me learn how to better manage my anxiety. 

A risk is taking a chance on something, trying something new, whether you fail or succeed. Taking chances is an important way to help people learn, grow and create new experiences. Although taking risks can often come with failure, experiencing failure helps us to become better people and learn from our mistakes. However, taking a risk does not always have to involve you failing at something — it can be you trying new things or testing the waters in different experiences. 

Taking a risk does not have to include something insane and life-altering. It can also include anything out of your comfort zone or something you would not normally do. For me lately, I’ve been more open and vulnerable with my feelings both with myself about my emotions and telling others how I feel — at least trying to with the latter. It’s important to remember that risk-taking looks different for everyone. Taking a risk does not have to include a consequential decision like moving abroad, quitting your job or spending a massive amount of money on something. It can be as simple as going to a restaurant by yourself, trying a new place or hanging out with people you don’t know that well. 

Staying in your comfort zone is, well, comfortable. Staying in this zone is typically reliable. However, staying in your comfort zone does not allow you to have or create new experiences. Taking a risk can give you more opportunities, greater rewards and improve your life overall. 

Our growth can become stagnant when we do not allow ourselves to take a chance and have new experiences. If we want to grow, staying within the confines of our comfort zones will not allow us to do so and prevents us from discovering situations that will help us to grow personally, in our mindset and in our perception. 

The fear of taking a risk could hold you back in life. It could prohibit you from finding out something new about yourself — whether it’s discovering you enjoy something you thought you hated or how you feel about a certain topic or situation. Risk-taking can also provide you with new opportunities and greater rewards. Whether the opportunity is related to your career goals or allows you to create new relationships, taking a risk will help you to have these experiences. For the most part, you have nothing to lose when taking a small or calculated risk. 

A calculated risk is a chance that one takes after careful consideration of the possible outcomes. When we take a risk knowing the possible gain is higher than what we could lose, we’re taking a calculated risk. Taking a calculated risk helps to overcome fear and lessens the severity of the idea of taking a risk. If you have thought about all the possible outcomes and come to terms with what you could lose, but realize the importance of what you will gain from taking this risk, it helps to build your confidence in risk-taking. 

Taking risks is something that I struggle with, so this piece is also a reminder to myself. It is difficult to want to step out of my comfort zone. Being riddled with anxiety is not at all helpful in this department. However, I have started to learn that being uncomfortable but being okay with this feeling has helped me to take small steps in learning how to step outside of my comfortability. I have started to say yes more often to doing things even when they make me nervous or uncomfortable or even when I just don’t want to go. Saying yes is an easy way for me to take an easy risk and do something out of my comfort zone. Taking small risks like these has made my life more fulfilling and enjoyable. 

Wanting to step out of your comfort zone is never an idea when we wake up in the morning. However, taking opportunities to make yourself feel uncomfortable and take a chance is a good feeling to have and allows you to grow. We never stop learning new aspects about ourselves especially as we go through life and our perceptions, ideas and characteristics change with us. 

Remind yourself to say yes more often. Put yourself in a situation that, yes, might make you uncomfortable, but afterward will allow you to prove to yourself that you can step out of your comfort zone. And who knows — you might find out something new about yourself. 

Emily O’Neil writes primarily about societal issues, politics and campus life. Write to her at [email protected].

About the Contributor
Emily O'Neil, Senior Staff Columnist
Emily O’Neil is a Political Science and Public Service major and earning a certificate in Public and Professional Writing. She is from Lancaster, PA and writes primarily about political and societal issues. Write to her at