The choice between continuing to do only those things in which one is proficient and striking out into new, unfamiliar territory is difficult. There is comfort in remaining within familiar parameters, but growth happens only when we exceed those boundaries. Faced with the choice between only doing things that I know I do well and taking risks, I prefer taking risks for several reasons. First, taking risks expands my range of knowledge and affords me the wisdom that comes through comparison. For instance, although I was born and raised in the United States until I was twenty years old, I have had the opportunity to live in three different countries since that time: Germany, China, and Great Britain. Had I decided to remain in the United States without taking the risk and challenge of adapting to different cultures and languages, my life would have been easier. However, the experience of living in varied countries with differing social morals and worldviews has enhanced my knowledge through comparison. Without living in other countries, I would not have the knowledge to critically examine my American upbringing, holding onto some values while discarding others. Furthermore, taking the risk of living in other countries has allowed me to gain a sense of empathy and understanding for cultures vastly different than my own. Another reason that I prefer taking risks is that risks force me to grow. It is true that simply doing tasks that I do well would be a safe, prudent way to live life. However, taking risks compels me to expand my abilities. For example, although I was not a vocal player, my basketball coach asked me to be team captain for my final season in high school. I could have declined the offer, and remained in the background, but I chose to take the risk to lead the team. Through this experience, I learned valuable lessons in leadership; motivation, and discipline. More importantly, leading the team brought me closer to each individual player, many of whom I still count as my friends. Had I not accepted my coach's call to captain the basketball team that season, I would have never learned these valuable lessons and developed these deeper friendships. Taking risks has also taught me resilience in the face of failure. When I was entering graduate school, I needed money to finance my education. Consequently, I applied for several scholarships. Unfortunately, I was denied for almost all of them. However, by sticking my neck out, and applying for scholarships even when I was a long-shot candidate, I learned that scholarship committees were not rejecting me, but my application. This understanding that rejection of my scholarship applications was not a personal event enabled me to continue to apply to other scholarships without losing faith that eventually I would be successful. And, eventually, I was. In conclusion, I prefer taking risks because doing so allows me to gain knowledge through comparison, forces me to grow, and has taught me to be diligent even if I fail at first. Taking risks is part of living. Without risks we would not be living.