In a paper published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience by researchers at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in which the brains of 46 teenagers were scanned, they found that risk-taking teens activated a portion of the brain called the ventral striatum. The ventral striatum is comprised of a large amount of dopamine receptors. Dopamine is known to be one of three happiness neurotransmitters, serotonin and ocytocin being the other two.
In my Rich Habits study, I found that 142 of the 177 self-made millionaires (80%) had devoted much of their adult lives in the pursuit of some dream.
Anyone who has ever pursued a dream understands that doing so requires that you take significant risks with your time and money, since there is no guarantee that you will realize your dream. An interesting correlation to this was also found in my study: 82% of the wealthy said they were happy.
Conversely, only 3% of the poor people in my study took a risk in pursuing some dream and interestingly, only 2% of the poor in my study said they were happy. Once again, another interesting correlation.
It’s clear from these studies that the pursuit of success, creates happiness. While, playing it safe in life not only prevents you from pursuing success, it also results in long-term unhappiness. If your ultimate goal in life is long-term happiness, take action on something you are passionate about and that forces you outside your comfort zone.
You were not put here on earth to play it safe. You are here to challenge yourself in order to discover your true potential. You can only realize that potential by taking risks and stepping outside your comfort zone. The discomfort inherent in taking a risk by pursuing some dream forces you to grow in knowledge and skills. It will also introduce you to new people who may become long-term relationships, enriching your life.
The true reward in pursuing a dream and realizing success is not money. It is the happiness that results from taking a risk on yourself.