It’s hard to achieve success if you’re not willing to take risks. Once you’re settled in a career with a family, a mortgage, and other responsibilities, it gets harder to take risks. It doesn’t matter whether they be personal, financial, or professional. But, if you’re still in your 20s and 30s, the window of opportunity is open now to explore everything you can. It’s likely that you’re more free right now to have the experiences you’ve always wanted — before life gets in the way and prevents you from trying new, potentially thrilling things. Here’s a list that I’ve recently come up with: 20 risks to take before turning 40.
20 Risks to Take Before Turning 40
This is a guest post by Molly Barnes, talented writer from Digital Nomad Life.
1. Let go of fear
The No. 1 step toward seizing opportunities and taking risks is to let go of fear. You can’t take any risks if you allow yourself to be frozen with fear. Learn how to trust yourself, let go, and live a little.
2. Travel to places you’ve never been
One major benefit millennials and Gen Z have — one which, unfortunately, previous generations mostly lost out on — is being able to work remotely. Take advantage of this opportunity and become a digital nomad for a year, working from a laptop wherever you find yourself. Stash your stuff in storage, hit the road, and go see the world. You can even rent out your apartment while you’re gone to help defray some of the costs of traveling.
Of all the risks to take before turning 40, this one seems to be the most popular, and it absolutely makes sense. When people are near the end of life, they often wish they would have gone somewhere and experienced something. Then, even if they’re still physically able to get on a plane and go somewhere, they’re far too fragile to hike up mountains or go scuba diving in the Caribbean.
So get out there and travel today! You don’t know if you’ll ever get the chance again!
3. Explore several career options
Many people base their careers on what earns the most money or take jobs in “hot” industries. These choices may not accommodate their passions or live up to expectations. Rather than settle for a position in an organization where you’re unhappy or don’t find room for growth, taking risks with job-hopping to explore different career options can be helpful.
4. Start a business
The other biggie on the list of risks to take before turning 40 — starting a business.
In today’s connected world, it’s easier than ever to become a solopreneur and build your own business.
You don’t have to figure out how to rent an office or storefront…
- There are numerous businesses you can run from your home,
- a co-working space, or even
- your smartphone.
Try working up some marketing materials and attending a trade show to network and promote your brand. See how far your passion can take you.
5. Say “Adios” when necessary
If you’re hanging with people who tear you down, bring negative energy, or create drama, say, “Adios.” You don’t need to spend these prime years of your life with people who add no value to your relationships. Invest your energies in meeting people who align with your philosophies.
This is one of my absolute favorite risks to take before turning 40 because this simple move can propel you to places you never dreamed. It’s amazing how much people can wear you down and kill your dreams – and you don’t even realize it in the moment!
6. Relocate to somewhere new
Are you still living in your hometown? Or did you pursue a job in an expensive city? Maybe it’s time to shake things up a bit and…
- relocate to a new city,
- find a better job, and
- explore a new culture and new life experiences.
7. Volunteer to help
Before you get settled into the responsibilities that come with getting older, use this time to dedicate yourself to a cause you feel is important. This might be one of your top risks to take before turning 40. Take a volunteer opportunity with the Peace Corps, Americorps, or another organization. You likely won’t regret it!
8. Pursue a degree
Many working adults find themselves at a standstill once they’re settled in a job because they didn’t pursue college. If you’re looking at careers where you’ll need more education, get it now. It’s hard to juggle bills and a family with the added demands of a school schedule. At this point in your life, you could even consider a degree program that lets you live and study abroad. And you know what? Some programs are more affordable than you’d think.
9. Stand up for yourself
Be assertive, and don’t be afraid to say no when taking risks (far too many of us say yes too often these days…). Whether it’s…
- turning down a vacation with friends you really don’t want to accompany,
- demanding fair consideration for a job opportunity, or
- standing up to someone who is treating you wrong…
…the sooner you learn how to say “No,” the better. It can really help out in the long run.
10. Reconsider your financial philosophies
Money is necessary to live, but is that all there is to life? Make money, spend it, rinse, wash, repeat?
No, of course not!
Examine your philosophies and priorities, and consider new viewpoints to come to a point of balance that works for you between spending, saving, and investing. The goal of money is to help you experience life — and not let it pass you by.
Want to know what risks to take before turning 40? Look at the big picture and understand what’s really important to you. Only then will you really know what to pursue.
11. Splurge on something
Splurging is great when taking risks. For example, treat yourself! If there’s something you’ve dreamed about through your teens but couldn’t afford until now, take the opportunity to splurge on yourself. Don’t necessarily put yourself into debt — but before you take on the big financial responsibilities of life, buy yourself something fun.
12. Invest in something
Another way to revisit your money matters is by investing. The stock market can be volatile, but don’t be afraid to dip your toe in with a small financial risk. It could pay off big in the long run, even financing future adventures or the lifestyle you seek.
Related: 20+ Ways to Invest Outside of the Stock Market
13. Be health-conscious
What you do with your body now will play a big role in your future.
- Invest time in workouts.
- Make an effort to eat better.
- Put yourself in touch with basic health care services.
- Limit the partying.
- And don’t forget to floss!
Your future self will thank you.
14. Gain self-awareness
Here’s a risk to take before turning 40 that you won’t often hear about from anywhere else.
You have more free time now than you will at any other point in your life before retirement. Taking risks to gain self-awareness is useful. Use this time to learn something new, discover what motivates you, and learn who you want to be.
15. Just go for it
It’s hard to speak up if you feel you deserve something you aren’t getting at work. Don’t establish a habit of settling for something you don’t want. Ask for that promotion you’ve had your eye on — you just might get it.
Related: How to Get Promoted 5 Times in 7 Years
16. Explore thrilling experiences
You’re likely at your physical best right now, enjoying the greatest degree of autonomy and independence of your life. But once you hit 40, you’re less likely to go for the thrills. If you’ve ever wanted to go deep sea diving, skydiving, or on other types of exciting or daring adventures, do them now!
17. Travel as a local
As you reach your 40s, you’ll probably get to take annual vacations, but they’ll be limited, and you might require more expensive accommodation. While you’re young, you have a better ability to “travel like a local.” Immerse yourself in different cultures while taking risks and gain an authentic experience.
18. Speak in public
Talking to groups of people is scary, no doubt about it. But public speaking is a highly useful skill to cultivate when taking risks. So, get yourself out there and practice speaking to larger groups. Best to make any blunders when you’re younger and not in a prominent position, so go for it now!
This is one of those risks to take before turning 40 that could be absolutely essential to your career. Don’t blow past this recommendation because it’s #18 on the list! Embrace it! You won’t regret it, that’s for sure!
19. Learn a new sport or skill
Try out for some teams or learn new physical skills. It’ll help keep you fit, bring you confidence and pleasure, and give you an opportunity to break away from the daily grind. You’ll probably have less time (and ability) for this when you hit 40.
20. Go on blind dates
If you’re still unattached, try going on some blind dates. This can seem like another daunting prospect, but with less to lose at this age. You’ll get the opportunity to meet some potentially amazing people — and maybe even “the one.”
Top Risks to Take Before Turning 40 – Which Will You Choose to Do?
Taking risks inevitably comes with making mistakes, but that’s OK. Your younger years are the time to make those errors. Every mistake is a lesson learned, better preparing you to face adversity, grow your own resilience, and gain valuable life experience along the way. Take advantage of this window of opportunity and use it to the fullest while you’re still in your 20s and 30s. This way, you’ll look back with no regrets!
Of the top risks to take before turning 40, which will you choose to do??
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