How many of you feel you’re more productive when you’re feeling happy?

Because we’re human, we spend a lot of time—consciously, and unconsciously—thinking about our own happiness. After all, our nation was formed on the right to pursue happiness.

I remember few years ago reading the results of one of many studies on happiness. The study reported that the biggest factor influencing whether people experienced true happiness or not came down to one small four-letter word: RISK.

The people who are the happiest are those willing to risk unhappiness. The greater the risk, the greater the happiness. If you want to experience the happiness of a loving relationship, you have to risk the unhappiness that might come with it. You want the happiness of a healthy body, you have to risk the pain of exercise and diet.

The problem is, we’ve been taught our whole lives that risk is a bad, bad thing. Why? Perhaps because risk can lead to failure, and we tend to believe that failure itself is a bad thing.

In reality, life is a series of calculated risks. Everything you do has a margin of risk.

If you want to be a success, you’ll have to risk failing. Success requires risking failure.

If that scares you, look at it this way: even small risks are better than no risks. Ralph Waldo Emerson, said: “All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better.”

Small, measured risk-taking behaviors can increase confidence. The more experiments—or risks you take—the better you get at making them. AND, the more risks you take, the more positive your risk experiences become—and as a result, you’ll be happy because you’re progressing.

Risk is something to be fully embraced and celebrated! Without taking risks, it’s impossible to learn the skills that enable you to be happy and thrive in life. After all, few—if any—people ever look back on their lives and wish they had taken less risks.

So, if you want to be happier, more productive, and more successful overall, take some risks.