Embracing Opportunities vs Being Overcautious
Many years ago, I read a quote by the legendary Jim Rohn who said “If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.”
That is so pertinent to almost anyone alive today.
What is a risk anyway? It is the exposure to the unknown. It is being vulnerable to loss. It is a gamble.
What is the opposite of risk? The opposite of taking a risk is called certainty.
Please think about the following questions for a moment:
- Are you mostly taking risks in life?
- Are you mostly looking for certainty in life?
- Are you balancing the two out generally in life?
In my first book, I wrote about this in detail. When I worked as a financial adviser, I used to do an investment risk profile of my clients before investing their money.
I wish that people did a risk profile for their lives and then asked themselves:
- Am I taking too many risks in life?
- Am I playing it too safe in life and looking for certainty?
- Are my results in life what I really want?
- Are my results in life due to me taking too many risks?
- Are my results in life due to me playing it too safe?
What responses did you get?
Do you feel like making changes in your thought patterns after responding to the questions above?
In a recent article of his, Tony Robbins stated “We’re not wired for happiness; we are wired for anxiety. We are wired for what’s wrong. We are wired for survival, which means our brain is constantly looking for anything that could hurt us.”
Yes, you can safely say that human beings have “playing it safe” hard wired in them.
The one thing that I learnt in my financial planning career was this – generally speaking, higher risks meant higher rewards.
Once again, I said “generally speaking” ie. not always.
You have to use your own discretion and take into account how you can take calculated risks.
In an article in Forbes, Margie Warrell stated “Fear regret more than failure – history has shown that we fail far more from timidity than we do from over daring.”
Neither Tony, nor Margie, nor Ron is suggesting that you should risk it all and take a gamble at every turn in life.
What this article is striving to achieve is to get you out of your comfort zone and to embrace opportunities.
Here are five steps that you can take in order to overcome playing it safe most of the time:
- Ask yourself “What’s the absolute worst thing that could happen?” – This question will bring to the forefront of your mind the worst case scenario. Nothing could be worse than that! If the worst case scenario doesn’t scare you to death, then you should be encouraged to take action and have faith in things turning out in your favour. Why? Because nothing worse could happen.
- Ask yourself “What will I still gain or learn in the worst case scenario?” – The response to this question will make you focus on the positives if you found yourself in the worst case scenario. For example, you could’ve gained an invaluable experience or a lifelong lesson. Always look for something that will support you in being productive in the future.
- Do the best you can with the best you have – If you left no stone unturned and did everything in your power to ensure a favourable outcome, then you should hold your head high at the end. Despite the outcome (favourable or unfavourable), you can tap yourself on the shoulder for doing what you did. The world is full of people who do not execute. You have put yourself in an elite league by taking action. Find pride and solace in that.
- Look at the opportunity cost – What will happen if you didn’t take action? Sure, you could still be in your comfort zone and be playing it safe. As Jim Rohn put it “You will settle for the ordinary”. Make a list of all possible opportunity cost scenarios. I read a few months ago that Mark Zuckerberg invited five of his fellow university students to explore a business opportunity. Only two of them came to the meeting. Guess what? They both are billionaires now! Can you imagine the opportunity cost for the other three university students who decided not to attend the meeting?
- Review the regular risks you take subconsciously – I clearly remember this – When I was a kid, my dad and one of his closest friends were talking about taking risks in their career. My dad’s friend (who was more like an uncle to me) said to my dad “Every day we take risks. We leave home in the morning, and there is a risk of being bitten by a dog, of being involved in a car crash, or of being struck by lightning”. The point of illustrating that was to show that we do take risks daily without realising. When you review these risks, you might become less risk averse when it comes to embracing opportunities that life presents to you.
The point of this article is not to get you to blindly take risks and be exposed to higher losses or danger.
All I am saying is that you should explore embracing opportunities by using the above mentioned five steps, and then decide on a course of action. Life rewards those who take action!
Quote: “The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keeps out the joy”. Jim Rohn
I hope I have given you a simple insight into embracing opportunities instead of being overcautious.
Inspiring you towards your excellence,
Ron Prasad (Author, Speaker, Personal Development Coach)
PS: I have just launched a series of personal development videos called Welcome To Your Life. Here is Episode 10 (How To Say “No” Respectfully) –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_Vu9jyXIMc
PPS: To order my book, please go to www.WelcomeToYourLifeBook.com. For $19.95, you get the book, thousands of dollars in bonus gifts from some of the best personal development experts in the world (such as Bob Proctor, Marci Shimoff, Dr Joe Rubino), and you get to give back to the community by supporting my charity! I appreciate your support.