“You can measure opportunity with the same yardstick that measures the risk involved. They go together.” Earl Nightingale
I like to make big decisions pretty quickly, within a few days of the thought. It eases my mind to have made the decision, even though it may be a few years before it’s accomplished.
I’m reading a book called, How We Decide and taking it slowly in order to get the details about how the brain makes decisions.
Why we decide things can be different for each brain. Some of us like to process decisions with others, and some like to decide alone.
Here are a few ideas I’m batting around about when to risk and when not to risk:
1. Risk when you are positioned for a challenge. There will be obstacles, hurdles, and perhaps even meatballs thrown your way when you take a risk. Being ready to dodge, jump and overcome hardships is par for the course. If you’re in that position— starting to think about twiddling your thumbs, this may be the perfect time to take a risk.
2. Risk when you are given an unbelievable, sound option. There’s always a lot we don’t know about risk—hence the word. Obviously, it’s risky or we would not call it risky! Still, some semblance of soundness should be underlying. Does this decision seem somewhat in order? I enjoy people who risk trying out for American Idol. Some of them are good—and some not so good. I enjoyed watching an accountant get to Hollywood week. The risk was there, and he didn’t make it through to the end. Still, he was good enough to take the risk (in my opinion).
3. Risk when you have counseled with different people and several of them see the logic in the decision. This happened to me last week. I was thinking through a decision and talked with some wise friends. All of them saw the plan as a good next step. Now I’m proceeding through the process.
4. Risk if you have a gut feeling and your past gut feeling record has been correct. Some people make decisions based on gut feelings. This is fine for them as long as they evaluate their “gut feeling” history. Did past moves on gut feelings prove to be positive? If you find yourself continually making one bad decision after another, you might consider a different method.
5. Don’t risk if you are running away from something. Some wise friends told me this a few years ago. Running from a problem is not a good reason to take a risk. Fix the problems first, and then see if you are ready to take on the risk. I liked that advice.
6. Don’t risk when you’re too burned out to make clear judgements. When we are at the end of our ropes, dropping to the ground looks pretty enticing. It’s better to wait and take a risk when we are in good mental health and can clearly see our options.
7. Don’t risk if the unexpected will devastate you. There will be unexpected challenges when we take a risk. It’s better to be ready for such challenges. If you are an inflexible person, taking a lot of risks may not need to be on the agenda.
Without taking some risks, we likely get little accomplished, but it’s good to time risks well. What are you batting around about risk-taking?