“Progress always involves risks. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.” — Frederick Wilcox
Most people take more risks than they’ll like to admit. Each time we take a step out of our front door we are taking a risk and betting that all will be well and we will return. I could go further to say that mere existence is a risk. After all anything can happen at any time. It would therefore appear that we are prepared or more inclined to take risks when faced with situations where we feel we have no choice or where non-action impacts our survival. For example we risk travelling to work because we need the finances to pay our bills. So why are we less inclined to take risks related to our progress or future? Here are a few insights on why and alternative responses to help move you into taking steps that translate into progress:
- Fear of the unknown – When deciding to take bold actions, the first challenge is fear of what might result. You can overcome this by analysing the risk and determining the risk-reward profile. If you are confident that the potential reward outweighs the impact of the risk materialising, then you are over the first hurdle. This is called risk calculation.
- Control – The human nature has a great tendency to want to retain control. We want to be in charge of everything that impacts us and as a result we put measures in place to prevent undesired events. There is nothing wrong with this as long as it does not stop us from achieving our goals. In actual fact this in itself is at the heart of risk taking. You can take risks while retaining control. This is called mitigation. Assess the situation, identify what is at stake (the impact) and put measures in place to handle any unintended consequences of taking the risk. Remember to circle back to check the cost of putting your mitigations in place does not erode the potential reward to be gained. If it does then you have to ask yourself if the risk is still worth taking.
- Security – Lets face it, risk taking means some amount of security is lost. therefore if you have decided to take a “calculated” risk, as you embark on your journey it is important to monitor the risk by reviewing it. Life happens and things change. You must therefore ensure that the risk you have taken is still what it is, the impact is still the same and that your mitigations are still valid. You may even find that the risk becomes immaterial as you make progress.
Remember – nothing ventured, nothing gained. Try some thing new today. Take a calculated risk in this journey called life.