We can all look back on the decisions we have made and, with the benefit of hindsight, say “what a daft idea that turned out to be”, but we don’t have the ability to see into the future so, there is an element of risk in many of the decisions that we make. I took some pretty risky decisions in my life and some of them went distinctly pear shaped! But, at least I won’t be the one sitting in the old folk’s home regretting the fact that I never even tried. You have to take risks, if you want things to change, so here are ten tips on how to take risks and not end up regretting it.
1. Never take risky decision when you are drunk
Never, ever, take important decisions when you have been drinking. Everything looks like a guaranteed winner when you are drunk, until you can think things through properly and you realise exactly what you have done. Alcohol makes you throw all caution to the wind, so don’t drink and decide!
2. Accept that you may well fail
Don’t just assume that what you are doing will work; you need to consider the fact that it could well go wrong too. A good risk taker will weigh up all the possibilities and have an alternative plan in place for the eventuality that things do not work out the way they wanted. They certainly won’t pretend that the risk doesn’t exist at all.
3. Make sure that you are willing to lose what you are putting at risk
Once you have accepted that there is a risk on what you are doing, you have to also be comfortable that you can live with the consequences of that risk, should things go wrong. If you resign from your job to follow a dream, are you willing to accept that you may never get another job like it again? If you are, fine, but you should at least consider the worst case scenario.
4. Never take risks that will harm other people
Have you told your wife that you are risking the family home on your new business venture? If your risk taking is possibly going to affect other people, then they have the right to be involved in the decision making process. Don’t ride roughshod over them and assume that you know what is best for them.
5. Weigh up all the facts
You can’t have all the information that you need to make a decision, or it wouldn’t be a risk. You should, however, get as much information together as you can in the time that you have available. We don’t all have the time, or the skills, to perform a full-blown risk assessment, but the more facts that you do have, the better you will be able to gauge the level of the risk you are taking.
6. Make sure the rewards make the risk worthwhile
The potential rewards of taking a risky decision should be sufficient for you take that risk in the first place. There are clever calculations that businesses use to evaluate risks and rewards that use probability to decide if a risk is worth taking. It’s the same principal as betting odds. If you were to back a horse at 200:1, one would imagine that you wouldn’t bet your life savings on it, but you might be willing to risk £10.
7. Don’t give up if you fail
A good risk taker will have accepted that failure is a possibility, so they won’t be put off when it happens. They will have only risked what they were prepared to lose, they will learn from the mistakes they made, and then they will try again.
8. Go with your gut instincts
Ultimately, when you are taking a risky decision, it is your own gut instinct that will guide you. If you over analyse something, you will never come to a decision. What is important, though, is that you are honest with yourself. If you have a nagging doubt in the back of your mind and, deep down, you know a risk is not worth taking, listen to that warning sign.
9. Know when to throw in the towel
Successful risk takers know when it’s time to admit defeat, and, if something isn’t going to plan, they are not afraid to pull out and try something else. This comes back to our betting scenario. If you placed a £10 bet on a rank outsider and it came in last, a wise gambler wouldn’t bet £20 on the same horse again!
10. Take calculated risks
As the song goes “Regrets, I've had a few; but then again, too few to mention.” I took risks, some might say that I took too many, but I had a hell of a good time doing it! I could have played it safe. I could have held down a nice 9-5 job, had a reasonably priced car and lived in a sensible house. But then, I wouldn’t have travelled the world, run my own business lived such a fulfilling life. Taking risks makes things happen and it brings about change. Just make sure that your risks are calculated ones and that you can be happy with the outcome, whatever that may turn out to be.