Reasonable risk is a concept that we use in our daily lives without thinking about it. When we drive our car, or take an airplane to our vacation destination. We believe that there is little risk in doing these activities (and we have the data to say we are right because the probabilities are small). Same goes for the ice cream or pop we drink. We feel that the food will have little risk to our health at the time we eat them.
We are pretty good about unreasonable risks. Most likely, we would not walk in a landmine field. Nor would we walk in the middle of the night in an urban area un-escorted.
But where do we not consider reasonable risks as being just that — reasonable?
When it comes to our future. What we are scared to do next. Because when we think of risk in this type of perspective, we yearn for certainty. We do not want any risk. Whatever we want to do, we simply want it to work as we expect.
Embracing failure is the “flavor” of the year. You read about this every day in business literature as it pertains to start ups. I find that embracing failure can occur when you take either reasonable or unreasonable risks. So embracing failure is too late in the process for trying to improve or succeed in our lives.
What each of us need to be doing more of is embracing reasonable risk. Of learning to not stop ourselves when we are scared to learn or try something new and ask ourselves “what is the worst that could happen if it doesn’t work out”?
By making explicit in our own minds what risks are reasonable, we automatically will stop ourselves when we see something that is unreasonable. You most likely wouldn’t play a game of chance to win $100 by wagering your home in a bet where there is only one chance to play. You either win $100 or lose your house. No thanks.
But if the reasonable risk would be that I would need to invest 20 hours of my time learning a new skill that may or may not benefit me in my current job (but could help me attain a different position in the future) would be a reasonable risk. The only thing that I could lose in this case is 20 hours of my time.
Embrace reasonable risks throughout your life to push you ahead in new directions and keep you from always adhering to a known routine in your life that keeps you stuck. The experiences you may find in doing this will far outweigh your fear and hesitation to start.