Monday, December 19, 2011

About Risks

The word "risk" has always had a negative connotation attached to it.  Depending on your point of view it could represent anything from failure and loss to danger, tension and stress.

But risk also has a positive side and it takes a special individual to see the chance of a big pay off, a big win.

Every time we make a decision, we're taking a risk.  Sometimes well calculated, sometimes not.  Everyone knows and understands that it's a pretty bad idea to take dumb, miscalculated risks; those that you expect to have no positive result in the short or long term.  On the other hand, it's equally foolish to pass the opportunity at an intelligent, well calculated risk; one which you expect to yield a positive result.

Most of us have learned to, and become pretty good at avoiding dumb risks.  But we are equally bad at taking the intelligent ones.  This is what separates the most successful folks from those who end up wondering what could have been.

Successful folks are willing to take those risks. They're willing to stick their necks out because they know that the potential benefits totally outweigh the potential setbacks.

Usually the long term benefits of a risk well taken outnumber the consequence of a potential failure.

I have always been a risk taker.  Always. Sometimes to the dismay of family and friends.  I have failed more often than I have succeeded, but I dare not think of what could have been had I not been willing, ready and able to take those risks.  And it all began at an early age.

As I was growing up,  had there been a vote in my high school for the "Person Most Likely To NOT Be Doing (What I'm Doing Today)", that would have been me.

Everything I tried to do I was not any good at.  Be it sports, or any other extracurricular activity, I failed miserably.  But I failed not because of lack of effort (okay, maybe a little bit), but because I was not any good at it.  I remember in the 7th grade I thought I wanted to play an instrument.  I was told by a music teacher that the trombone was the easiest to learn.  We went and rented one and two lessons later the teacher asked if I had ever thought about sports.  So off to football I went.  Tried out and made the team, only because I think they took everyone who tried out.  A couple of practices later, the coach introduced me to the baseball coach who in turn introduced me to the choir director.  Yeah, I was that bad.

The point is that I wanted to do something and I wouldn't stop. I continued to take risks despite my track record.  That is until I realized that I was left in the choir as a gesture of good will by the director for it was obvious that I didn't belong there.  All these hits took a toll and I stopped taking risks.

Through the years I learned to calculate risks better.  I learned that I needed to venture into areas where my chances of success were higher.  Slowly but surely I learned to master this, and with each new success I ventured into new worlds until eventually I found myself becoming an Ironman, which in itself it was probably one of the risks with the highest probability of failure I have ever taken.  Yeah, if my friends could see me now!

The key to success in risk taking is to look far ahead in the future. When thinking of potential benefits, its always better to think enough ahead so as to give your risk a chance to succeed.  Over time, small changes and/or adjustments to your plan can yield a higher chance for a positive payoff.  Give your decision a chance to play out.  Adjust as necessary and watch it come true.  This is what keeps me from getting discouraged when my failures outnumber my successes; it's because I keep thinking long term and I keep adjusting as time goes by.  I learn from each disappointment and adjust my sails next time the ship leaves the harbor.

Short-term thinking and risk aversion seems to be the modus-operandi in today's society.  We are trained from early on to expect immediate gratification with as little risk as possible.  A person like me does not quiet fit into this mold, and I don't want to.  I want to think ahead, way ahead.

Find an intelligent risk you can take today.  Who knows if it will pan out? Nobody.  May be it won't.  But what if it did?  Be happy with whatever the results, you will have gained courage and knowledge just by making an attempt.

Embrace Intelligent Risk.


I will discuss "mistakes" on the next post in the series "Position Yourself For Success."  Until then, I ask that you please visit this blog's facebook page and click "like".

Related Posts:

About Positioning Yourself For Success

About Attitude

About Passion

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