Do you consider yourself risk averse or a risk taker?
The way we each view risk can be an interesting thing.
One person’s idea of risk can be far removed from another person’s.
Take traveling for example. Most of the time I travel by myself. I constantly get comments from other people, particularly woman, stating that they don’t know how I do it.
Many of them would never think of going to a cafe or restaurant by themselves in their hometown – let alone overseas.
Yet when I’m traveling, I see other woman doing incredible, courageous things and I consider my own risk-taking efforts conservative by comparison.
Taking risks is often assumed to be a bad thing.
When I typed risk into an image search, I was confronted with images on gambling, people going broke, people ready to be attacked by sharks (?) and basically a lot of doom and gloom.
Where were the images of success, courage, and achievement? These results can just as easily be the by-product of risk-taking.
Yet the doom and gloom concept prevails. I can’t help but wonder. Is that the way most people view risk?
If you do something completely different to what you’re used to, are you bound to crash and burn?
When I originally thought about leaving work to start my own business, I discussed it with my family and friends.
I got some interesting reactions. Some people were shocked by the idea and hinted that I had lost my mind. Since I heard a lot of these negative comments, I found myself preempting these discussions with ‘I know it’s a huge risk’ to get the jump on them telling me how stupid my idea was.
Yet one of my extremely conservative friends surprised me with a completely different answer. After I finished with my risk spiel, he simply looked at me and replied, ‘It’s not a risk at all. If things don’t turn out the way you want, you get another job.’
After digesting what he’d said, I realized he was right.
Here are some of my thoughts on risk.
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It helps to have a plan
If you want to leave your job, you need a plan. If you want to start your own business, you need a plan.
If you take a big risk it helps to have a plan in place for making sure that your risk is worth it.
Taking risks and spontaneity do coexist
While I mentioned having a plan above, be careful you don’t plan everything to death.
If you do decide to take a trip overseas, you don’t need to book every nights accommodation in advance and plan every single activity.
Give yourself some room to make decisions as you go along, depending on what great opportunities arise.
On a trip to Paris years ago, I decided to fly in, throw on my backpack and find a hotel. No pre-booking accommodation.
I personally didn’t think this was a big deal since it was my second time in Paris but the lady I was talking to in the transit lounge was shocked. I found a nice hotel, stayed there two nights and then moved onto a hostel. The hostel as it turned out was full. I found this out after talking to an American guy who was also looking for a room. Within an hour, we had teamed up and ended up being roommates for several days.
When I tell people this story, I can see the non-travelers are horrified.
Don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t just share a room with anyone who was looking for one. As a woman traveling alone, you need to be safety conscious.
You do however get a gut feeling about things, particularly about people. I made the decision to run with that feeling. As it turned out the lady at the airport, my American roommate and I all become good friends and we still are to this day, many years later.
A big part of risk-taking is making decisions. Two books that can help you in this area are –
- Risk Savvy: How to Make Good Decisions by Gerd Gigerenzer
- Smart Choices: A Practical Guide to Making Better Decisions by John S. Hammond, Ralph L. Keeney & Howard Raiffa
Own your risk appetite
Noone has the right to tell you how to live your life.
Neither do they have the right to tell you what risks are appropriate for you. Only you can make that decision.
Related post – 20 Ways to Stop Caring What People Think of You
Risk can be scary, challenging and FUN!
Yes, you read that correctly, risk can be fun!
Some risks can be stomach-churning at times, particularly when money is involved. They can also be thrilling, exciting, stimulating and exhilarating!
Related post – 25 Ways to Be More Courageous in Life
Not taking any risk is the biggest risk of all
A lot of people live their whole lives in their comfort zone. They are happy there (or so it seems).
Yet how does staying in your comfort zone give you the chance to grow as a person, to become a better individual, to experience the best parts of life and our planet?
Self-improvement, love, friendship, and trust all involve an element of risk. All things considered, is your comfort zone such a great place to stay?
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