Taking risk without risking everything

Sometimes it’s really fucking hard to trust yourself. Especially when you’re likely to be wrong about some part of the decision. Question becomes which part, and to what degree. I’m in the middle of a number of these types of decisions right now. It can be quite disorienting. While it’s not life and death, I imagine it’s a lot like a non-instrument rated pilot who finds themselves in the fog, unsure where the horizon is, when up feels like down and everything’s a guess. When faced with these situations in the business world, I try to take the most risk without putting everything at risk.

7 thoughts on “Taking risk without risking everything

  1. How, though? Do you just make your plans smaller, or do you do some sort of counter-plan to hedge against the big plan failing? Do you divide your big plan into smaller plans that you can execute from cheapest/safest to riskiest (like fixing a car?)

    I’m curious what this mindset actually means for you.

  2. You figure out what the worst case scenario is, get comfortable with it, and stay away from it.

  3. We cannot know what we don’t know, like your non-IFR pilot example and we don’t want to end up in the trees or destroyed on the side of a mountain.
    We cannot know what we assume we know or “feeeeeel” we know (adding more e’s doesn’t make it more true).
    We can know what we know when it is based upon known hard truth and not squishy soft muddy feelings.
    So, isolate the variables and investigate the truth behind assumptions. Modified t-charts and lists sometimes help me with organizing this in non-mathematical instances.
    Once variables are isolated risk can be associated, mitigated or negated with each variable.
    Have FUN!

  4. I just heard a Podcast Episode on Risk Research today. They said (no matter how unscientific that sounds) the best way to decide in risky situations under unknown odds is to trust your instinct and minimize the variables you‘re looking at. Our mind has a natural instinct on bringing experience and past decisions into the mix. The more thoughts and variables you throw at a decision, the bigger the chance of failing (like hireing an employee based on A+ Assessment Tests when your heart tells you he‘s not the right fit for the team). So trust your experience, your heart, your instinct and may it all turn out well for you 🙂

    1. I think that’s a good thought to hone in on. If you’re doing assessments, they should be to support your gut instinct, not to replace it. If at any point, the two are in conflict, throw out the decision and start again.

      If you stay undecided for too long, then it’s time to decide which side is misleading you.

  5. I’m in the same boat right now–this was timely. I’m also an instrument-rated pilot and so when in the soup, eyes inside, focus on the key instruments. I see good suggestions in some of the other comments about what “the instruments” would be: things like instinct and such. Maybe.

    The struggle I’m having right now with WAY too many variables, feeling like VFR-into-IMC indeed, leads me back to “principles” as the key instruments. Treating others fairly. Being honest. Seeking the good of both parties in the deal, not just mine. And some other key principles.

    Does that mean it’ll all work out swimmingly? Nope. Could I still get shafted? Yep.

    But this is helping me eliminate SOME (not all) variables.

    Hope you can find a way at LEAST to a landing you can walk away from.

  6. Sometimes, increased frustration with decisions around risk means that you know in your head what the right answer is, but your heart/emotion is behind the scenes telling you otherwise. There is a difference between emotion and intuition. Intuition is built subtly, over time, through experience and context. Make sure you are leaning on intuition instead of emotion.

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