Go where you want, and act like you own the place
For those of you who don't know me, I'll give you a full disclosure: I'm a pretty cautious person. I like to plan things out to minimize risk and variables. When I'm driving, I look at the full route on Google Maps so I know exactly where to turn. If I'm going to a game I scout out exactly where the best parking lots are. If I'm going out to dinner I make sure I get a look at the menu to know exactly what's being served (even though I'm not a picky eater). You get the picture.
I like to stay on the route that I'm currently on, with the notion that my hard work and selflessness will inevitably reward me. It's just like going to school. If you show up to class, work hard and study, your grades will reflect your effort. What I quickly found out, however, is that the real-world is not a traditional classroom. There are risks and variables, and there is no textbook telling you how to get what you want.
Instead my experiences have been more like a professional baseball stadium. Right now, I can afford only the cheap seats. I just want to get into the game to experience the atmoshpere even if I have to squint to see the game. I look longingly at the fans in the lower levels who paid a lot more for their tickets, and all I can think is "one day". If I keep working hard I'll one day be rewarded and earn my place where I belong.
But what if that day never comes? What if we do what we feel is "right" for years and never get to where we want to be? There are a lot of people in this world, and I don't think they'll lose much sleep over me not achieving my goals. Sometimes we have to get off the straight path that we're set on to get something better. Sometimes we have to move ourselves from the nosebleeds down to the first level, even if we don't have a ticket. We need to sneak into the first row of the stadium into some unoccupied seats.
I honestly believe that through hard work I'll be able to reach my goals. But there will be times where we don't have the resources or tools to get what we want. So we need to take a chance and make our own luck. You want better seats? Take them. You want that new job? Show up at the office with a resume instead of just sending a bland email. You want a table at a fully booked restaurant? Quit looking at Opentable and go out and "borrow" someone's reservation (fake it 'til you make it!). Wherever you plan to take risk, just keep one thing consistent: own the situation. Be bold and confident. When you move down to those first row seats, act like you're supposed to be there. If you know you're supposed to be there, others will believe you. And in reality, what's the worst that could happen? You get kicked out of the seats? At least you gave it a shot!
So from now on I'm choosing to take a few risks. Showing up where I'm not supposed to be, but where I want to be. I have the confidence to know what I want and go after it. When the situation calls for it, you should go after what you want too. Life is too short to sit around and wait for things to happen.