To create innovative products, you need to take risks

Once I find comfort in something, I tend to stay inside the comfort zone. I see myself doing this with something as simple as always ordering the same coffee drink, or in restaurants where I stick to one type of dish because I know it’s good. Whenever I think of trying something new, there is more resistance and feeling of risk that it’ll be something “bad” compared to sticking to the same thing because I know it’s “good”.

We resist trying new things because we perceive things in absolutes: It’s either “good” or “bad” in relation to the time and energy we spend.

Our minds have been wired to perceive absolutes as a way to preserve life and survive. An example is finding two different types of berries in the wild: we know one is safe to eat vs the other one where we don’t know if it’s poisonous or not. In this situation, it’s obvious which one we should pick.

The stakes we face on an everyday basis are not usually between life and death. The stakes could be as simple as broadening your perspective or being comfortable. Neither of those are bad. It just depends on what you want. For me, I want to be more open to trying new things. To have more life experiences to make informed decisions on the work I want to do, to be more understanding and empathetic towards others and to constantly learn. But subconsciously, I gravitate towards something I am comfortable in because I know it will give me the results I want or I know that is a quick way for me to feel good.

Take note of how you make decisions in everyday setting and how they influence the way you approach your design work

If I stick to things I am comfortable with, how can I achieve things I want to achieve if I don’t do something I know I am uncomfortable with as a means to move forward? I have been finding that the way I make small decisions such as sticking to ordering the same drink had been influencing the way I approach my work in that I can be reactive and fall back on processes that are hardwired into me as a ways to get through in life, but not take risks for what I want which is to be objective and not rely on biases. This has affected aspects of work where I can be more narrow minded towards other people’s views.

I had been so inclined towards designing/doing something one way, I didn’t bother to seek out better ways to do something.

Question how technology has affected our perception and ability to make decisions for us

Our natural tendency is to lean on biases. We need to be more mindful and understand the implications of our actions and the result we might want, rather than immediately leaning on the more comfortable or “good” option. What makes it good? How will it continue to benefit us? What do we want to achieve? Why is the other option less favorable? This means weighing out the pros and cons of our decisions instead of immediately reacting to what is being presented to us. Once we react, it tends to drive our thinking without giving the other choice a second thought until it’s too

We are in a bubble of making the same decisions because it helps us make decisions that “work”.

I have been making more active actions in exploring different solutions toward doing something, broadening my perspective by setting my ego aside and meeting new people, subverting my subconscious of how others feel about me towards trying to understanding others and connect with them even though the initial fear of being “judged” or “rejected” makes me uncomfortable in certain moments. But once I experience these uncomfortable situations, it makes me more informed to approach them again and get more comfortable to do something that I had once been super uncomfortable about. It is an ongoing journey I face in my day to day but It continues to improve. I have been feeling more confident in speaking up in meetings, taking initiative in collaborating with people instead of waiting for people to approach me, been more open and less self conscious with talking to people..All about taking risks in order to overcome the norm and changing people’s mindsets along the way.

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To help you get started on owning your design career, here are some amazing tools from Rookieup, a site I used to get mentorship from senior designers.

Links to some other cool reads:

To create innovative products, you need to take risks was originally published in UX Planet on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.