How did you learn to walk? One risky step at a time, right? Now you are running. But, don’t run away from risk. Run to it. No risk. No opportunity to grow.

Taking risks is healthy. Have you taken enough risks this week? Doubtful. Psychologists say that people who take risks are happier than people who constantly play it safe. Risks forces you to experience a full range of emotions including fear, anxiety and joy. It doesn’t have to be as dramatic as jumping out of a plane without checking your parachute. Instead, taking risks can be as small as ordering whipped cream on your dessert. For some people, these “small” risks are the equivalent to climbing Mount Everest.

Here’s my top seven risks everyone should take this week.

Be Yourself
Without you, who are you? Being yourself can be risky. I get it. But, what’s the alternative? Being something other than you? That seems more risky. This week, dare to be yourself in situations where you would normally hide your feelings or who you really are. Disagree with someone at the dinner table, or tell that ridiculous sushi joke that makes you laugh. Everyone else will laugh as well. When you let your personality out, you will not only notice that you’re happier, but that you make the people around you happy too.

Go Out With People You Don’t Like
Yep. That’s right. Call (text?) someone you don’t like up and make arrangements to see them. Whether the person is an old friend, a colleague, or someone who asked you on a date, what do you have to lose? Besides, how do you really know you don’t like them? You may find that your feelings toward them were more of a reflection of you. Or, you may learn that you were completely justified in your disdain for them. Either way, you will have learned more about yourself, and if nothing else generously donated some time to someone else for the sake of taking more risks.

Try Something You’ve Always Wanted to Do
What are you waiting for anyway? Whether you are the last person on Earth who has not tried a frappuccino, or you have not been able to muster up the courage to try a new sport, or raw oysters, this is the week that you try at least one thing for the first time. Break out of your “skinny dry cappuccino” rut or make a small adventurous gesture. Why not? You might be surprised at what trying something new can do.

Be Just a Little Impulsive
At the last minute change your plans. Intentionally. Go to a new place. Take a different route. Try a new food. You can do it. This week, take a moment to remind yourself that if nothing else, you deserve the $0.35 upgrade of whipped cream on your coffee. It’s all in the name of taking risks, of course. You have the power to create your own adventure. If you don’t, who else will?

Speak Your Mind
When you have an idea, say so. Let it be heard. It doesn’t matter if it is a little off the wall or not even really feasible. Who knows what it might lead to. A lot of genius has been wasted by people being afraid to speak up. As Aristotle said, “No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.” Show yours this week.

Ask Someone Their Name
Introduce yourself to someone new this week. Certainly you don’t have enough friends, do you? Who knows who you might meet. Consider it a game. I really like to read people’s name tags and start talking to them by name when I am out. They say the sweetest sound to anybody is their own name. When you use someone’s name, it becomes a more personal conversation. It always makes for great interaction, and I am constantly meeting new people that way. It doesn’t matter if they are a complete stranger or a person you see regularly, but have never met. Think of it this way: If you don’t meet new people, you’re losing new friends.

Fail
And my favorite is – fail. I love it. Why? Because it helps me find the edge; the boundary. Failure is commonly cited as being one of peoples’ biggest fears. Yet, it is also one of the most important ingredients for success. If you haven’t failed, then you haven’t taken enough risks. And if you have failed, you probably found a boundary or learned something new. This week, go out and do something that you know will fail. Play a game or sport that you are terrible at, or try to take on the impossible feat of folding a fitted sheet. Whatever it is, don’t look before you leap. Failure opens up new paths towards success, and helps you see the world in a way that is impossible otherwise. Enjoy.