Why Risk Isn't Real and What it Really Means : Under30CEO Why Risk Isn't Real and What it Really Means : Under30CEO
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Why Risk Isn’t Real and What it Really Means

| February 28, 2014 | 17 Comments

What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail?

What would you do if you were fearless?

You may have pondered these questions before, but have you really ever explored the edge?  Do you really know the answer to these questions?

Everyday at Under30CEO we give you advice on how to escape from the grips of society.  How to hone your decision making, leadership, marketing, and financial management, to successfully build your own venture, and give you the freedom and security you’ve been dreaming of.

It’s all bullsh*t.

What you really need is a lesson in assessing risk.

People have so many excuses.  They care what their friends think.  They care what their bank account says.  They care about their credit score.  And my personal favorite, they care about “the gap in their resume” when they went out and failed at starting a business or traveled the world.

But guess what?

None of this is real.

Your friends opinions are just words.  Your bank account is just a number that reinforces your limiting beliefs.  Your credit score is just another electronic number, certainly not backed by gold.  And, the gap in your resume… are you kidding me?

What about the gap in your life?

Is what you are doing today, true to your personal sense of integrity?  If you are like most of our generation– it probably isn’t, and you’ve probably vowed to change it…

Many of you are familiar with the story of the trip to Iceland that changed my life.  The moment when I said “life is too short to sit behind a computer”, and started a travel company.  (See the Under30Experiences travel story here)

I came home, after being totally blown away by a place on earth I never dreamed I’d visit, and sat down Jared my Co-founder and had a talk with him about integrity.

Every month close to a half a million people read Under30CEO, I told him, and we sit here and tell people to follow their dreams, take risk, and reach beyond their own personal boundaries and what they think is possible…

I needed to be true to myself.

Something inside me was calling me to travel.

I’ve dreamt of exploring the world since 3rd grade Social Studies class, hearing about famous adventurers navigating the high seas in search of trade routes.  I couldn’t let this opportunity pass me by.  

Especially not in my twenties.

After Iceland it was Costa Rica, and then across the border to Nicaragua, then across the world to Dubai, Indonesia and Bali…

I learned to surf, speak Spanish, practiced yoga among rice patties, discovered spirituality by way of Balinese Hinduism, and for the first time in my life saw true poverty, and realized what it felt like to make a difference through microfinance.

Go ahead, ask me about risk.

Most people’s risk breaks down into one of two categories: either financial or social.

First, for those of you taking home less than $75K in a major city like New York or San Francisco, you probably aren’t saving much anyway.  My roommate and I were paying over $3K/month to live in a fancy place in Manhattan and buying $12 cocktails downtown.

Trust me, living off 4-star villas for $50/night in Bali, or $1.50 Imperial Beers in Costa Rica, won’t put you in the hole like a weekend out in NYC.

Second, is social.  Guess what?  My best friend was heartbroken.  Dude, we’re probably going to be friends for the next 50 years.  My step-mom told me my family felt abandoned.  Um, remember the time I went to college and didn’t come home for months?  How is this any different?

Real Risk is Not Being True to Yourself

Through my travels I’ve seen sh*t in the world, that truly puts in perspective what people are afraid of when it comes to risk.

How about the Balinese woman who I rented the motorbike from for $5/day?  That morning she put a traditional Hindu offering on the bike, and told me how grateful she was for the bike allowing me to pick her children up from school (all 3 of them on the little moped).

It’s unbelievable how happy she is, I thought as I rode away and saw an entire family next door bathing in the stream on the side of the road.

And people in the Western world are worried about the financial risk of living out their dreams?!

I am no longer afraid of risk.

As an entrepreneur, I’m not afraid of sleeping on couches, because I’ve done it.  As a traveler, I’m not afraid to walk across the Nicaraguan border at night, because I’ve done it.

I’ve leaned into the fear, I’ve tip-toed the edge, and I’ve made all the mistakes.

Learn them at a young age and be forever fearless.

At the end of the day, let there be no gap in your life…

Matt Wilson is co-founder of Under30CEO and Adventurer in Residence at the travel company Under30Experiences.  Read his free e-book The Escape Manual, The secret to temporarily escaping your job, living a life that makes your friends jealous and making memories that last a lifetime.

About the Author: Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is co-founder of Under30CEO. After two years traveling and working from his laptop, Matt's official title became Adventurer in Residence, heading up Under30Media's travel company Under30Experiences. If Matt is around he will be easy to spot as his long luxurious hair is generally flowing freely in the breeze.

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  • cesar romero

    There was a point in my life where I was living a double life. During the week I would go to my 9-5 and sit behind a desk for 9 hours clicking away and doing work that for me was meaningless but it felt “safe”. On the weekends, I would try to recover from the weekly hectic workload and try to do something different like going to the beach, reading a book at a coffee shop, going for a run, etc. I remember saying “what if I could make every week like my weekends where I’m free to work on the things I’m passionate about?”

    Sure I was making good money, building up my credit, paying the bills, and feeling comfortable, but I knew there was something missing. Now that I look back, I think the best investments I’ve made have been travel related. Traveling to Nicaragua every year to see my parents, traveling to other local cities in Florida, a road-trip from Florida all the way to Gatlinburg, TN, but as you know and it probably sounds cliche by now, but it’s true, the best investment I made was traveling with Under30Experiencies and having a breakthrough of how I want to live the best years of my life.

    My biggest fear is looking back 30 years from now and saying to myself “I wish I would have done that when I had the chance”

    So, for once, I’m choosing myself and working on those things that I’m passionate about with a group of people who feel the same.

    Before, credit scores where the center of my life, and now I have switched to having quality time with family and friends; that is my new metric now.

    I think the biggest risk is not giving your gifts to the world, but in order to do that, we must set ourselves free!!!

    I wanted it so bad to be set free that the universe put the right people and events in my journey…..and after being laid off from my last job, I took it as a sign and never looked back……sure I took a financial hit but I’ve never felt so free in my entire life and that is priceless…….

    Thanks Mateo :)

  • Cara Murphy

    Matt, thanks for the inspiration and honesty! Living in NYC (and anywhere else in the US, for that matter) its so easy to get caught up in what we “should” be doing. We should be getting a good, stable job, saving money, going to happy hour, etc. When we make these standards our personal goals, we never feel fulfilled, satisfied, or happy, even if we achieve them. It’s time to start assessing risk and recognizing what the gaps in our lives- and make closing those gaps our goals!

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Special thank you to the videographers who shot the interview and all of our footage in Costa Rica. I absolutely had a blast with Mike and Shaina in the mountains of Central America on our Under30Experience.

    Video credit: http://shainakoren.com

  • http://leaptrustthrive.com Rey Castellanos

    Great article Matt!

    My favorite part is “what about the gap in your life?”

    For me I have learned that fear can be used as a great indicator that I am on to something good or an opportunity to learn.

  • Kevin Diamond

    This is Awesome Matt — Really appreciate you opening up. You’re totally right, the things that hold us back sometimes are so “silly” once we put them in perspective.

    It’s not always “what happens if we do this” it’s really, “what happens if we don’t do this”…who will i be if i d.o.n.t get out of my comfort zone.

    Real growth only happens when you step outside your comfort zone.

    Look at all the things you’re not scared of anymore. Because you’ve done it. Because you’ve stepped boldy into the face of fear.

    Look how much m.o.r.e capable you’ve become.

    It’s pretty awesome to see.

    You’re ripples are only helping others become the better version of themselves.

    Thanks for forging the path, you’re a pioneer.

    Muchas gracias ;)

  • Kevin Diamond

    Beautiful. Well said Amigo

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Thanks Rey– I appreciate the support… it sounds cliche, but live with no regrets. Keep pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and lean into that fear.

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Kevin, thanks amigo– awesome to have you part of our Under30Experiences Community and being along for the ride. Keep doing what you’re doing– you already look at life with a whole different perspective.

  • Anthony Cuesta

    Very inspirational Matt, thanks for sharing. Looking forward to Alaska!

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Thanks Anthony, pumped to have you on our U30X trip next week. Going to be a blast– I’ll be excited to see how people from Miami hit the slopes haha

  • http://www.friv4gaming.com/ Friv 4

    I always found the most useful things from you, thanks

  • http://pyjamamoney.com PyjamaMoney

    Very interesting article, I always had the same vision about risks, and I think more people should read this article.
    I just discovered your blog today, and I have to admit that I been impressed so far.
    Keep it up!

  • http://www.it-sales-leads.com/ Barbara Mckinney

    This is such a very inspiring article, Matt. Fear is one thing that holds us back to try things that we want to do or achieve. Just like the others, I’m always afraid of what people will say and always end up not taking chances. For me the best way to achieve our goals in life is to do what we really want and don’t let other people’s feedback ruin your plans.

  • JKG

    Matt, I really did enjoy your article. You made some valid points, very inspirational. Though at the end, I must admit I felt disheartened, for while it’s revolutionary and downright charming to hear that risks are imaginary, you’re going to have a hard time finding a woman who will say “I’m not afraid to walk across the Nicaraguan border at night.”

    Not to say as a woman I can’t live bravely, not letting my financial or social situations stick me in a box. But as far as “travel” goes, I just can’t have the same devil-may-care attitude. My level of self-awareness must always be higher than my sense of abandon and adventure. I had incredible experiences in the mountain villages of Jamaica and Honduras, and also ones where I’m lucky I didn’t get kidnapped (nearly happened, and all because I thought it would be ok to go off alone).

    Once again, I loved the core of your argument. I just think it’s fair to shed some light from the female side of things.

  • Wendy

    Very inspirational!

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  • Peter

    Matt, once you are over 30, and that will happen believe it or not, all this BS about “there is no risk” will come home and bite you. Unless you are living on a trust fund (which you probably are), it is negligent to encourage people to disregard their finances and career progression.