Be Fearless – taking risks can reap rewards

The digital realm has dramatically changed the way we interact with each other and provided a new vehicle for us to take a step into the unknown. Being online gives

The digital realm has dramatically changed the way we interact with each other and provided a new vehicle for us to take a step into the unknown. Being online gives us the ability to take risks that we wouldn’t normally consider – from finding a new career or launching a business to striking up a new relationship or finding an outlet for our opinions.

Kaspersky Lab undertook research and talked to case studies to uncover attitudes towards risk taking in a bid to encourage consumers and businesses that they can fear less online when they’re being protected.

We also spoke to Kathleen Saxton, psychotherapist and founder of Psyched Global, about how we as a society should approach taking risks: “The word ‘risk’ comes with lots of negative connotations – but to move forward you have to place some bets; you have to take some chances in order to move forward. Risk should be seen as a positive thing.”

In the Kaspersky Lab FearLess podcast series, we hear from a range of case studies who have all taken risks – in their work, home and love lives – that have changed their lives for the better.

Looking for love

When it comes to love, online dating sites and the art of flirting and acting coy through the medium of apps have made people braver. In the first of three episodes, Richie Firth, radio presenter and DJ, talks about how he managed to find love in the unlikeliest of places: Twitter.

For Richie – producer of the Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show – the online world gave him the push and confidence he needed to find love. “I may have a big personality on air but in reality I’m pretty shy. I got together with my first wife when I was still at school so when we split up I had no idea how I was going to meet anyone new. I have to be active on social media for work and managed to pick up quite a big following. Natalie listened to the show and started chatting to me on Twitter. Through the magic of social media, I was able to let my personality shine through and we are now happily in love and living together … and there is a baby on the way! She is absolutely gorgeous, I’d have never had the confidence to chat her up in a pub!”

By taking a small risk online, the rewards (for him at least) were significant – and according to Kaspersky Lab’s research, around 21% of people agreed with the statement: ‘I credit my romantic situation to some risks I have taken online that I perhaps wouldn’t have taken in real life.’

Taking a gamble on your career

In the second episode, Kaspersky Lab spoke to Holly Stevens, founder of Wowzers In Your Trousers.  Holly took the gamble of quitting her well-paid and stable job in order to open her own business – hanging everything on a Facebook page. “I left my job in PR to go freelance – but then I was at a vintage style nail salon wearing a ’50s style dress I’d made. The manager loved it and when I told her I’d made it myself, she asked me if I wanted to redesign and make her salon uniforms and placed an order for ten. I got home and set up a Facebook page on a bit of a whim. The salon order ultimately didn’t work out, but with a little help from social media I started getting orders from all over the world – with one of my most coveted brands, Irregular Choice, calling my work ‘amazing’. By February 2017, I was booked solid until November – and I’m currently taking orders for 2019!”

Lots of us may consider quitting our job to pursue our passion, but few of us take the risk. However, research suggests that people see risk taking in their job as something they should perhaps do more of, with 35% of people agreeing with the statement ‘I would be further up the career ladder had I taken more risks in the workplace.

Voicing your opinion

In the final episode, Kaspersky Lab spoke to Nyomi, who sacrificed working full-time to run her parent blog and vlog website Nomipalony.

“Becoming a mother really brought out my feminist views and that’s probably what catapulted me to blog – it can be scary putting out what can be seen as ‘unpopular’ opinions in real life, so blogging gives me the freedom to do this. It also lets me go into depth in a way that I’d never do in real life – I would never go into as much personal detail if I was face-to-face with someone! Blogging is also a cathartic experience – occasionally I’ve written about a topic that has upset me and I’ve found online support in a way that I haven’t received in real life.”

Nyomi uses her blog to express her opinions, from feminist views to restaurant reviews and baby topics, and it’s this open approach to sharing her opinion that would put many of us off, often for fear of reprisal – we’ve all heard about internet ‘trolls’, which is perhaps what stops many of us from expressing our opinion.  However, with that said, some people are more confident online that they are offline, with 10% of those asked agreeing that they’re ‘prepared to take more risks online than in real life.

Making progress

As psychotherapist Kathleen poses, without taking risks we can’t as a society move forward. “[Otherwise] how are we ever going to pioneer, or bring fresh opinion out into the world?’

So whilst we can often see the internet as a dangerous and foreboding place, we should instead see it as a source of opportunity – which, with the right online protection measures, can help us reap rewards in many aspects of our lives.