Don’t fear taking calculated risks.
This was one of the ten bullet points burrowing into my brain as I read an article on how to have mental strength.
It made me laugh.
Are there people in this universe who take uncalculated risks? Isn’t the title of a ‘risk’ supposed to give you some indication that maybe you should think this through?
You wouldn’t think that anyone would take such a chance without putting some sort of thought into considering success ratios. You would think we as a society have evolved to the point where we recognize actions have consequences and chance is entirely something we can’t control.
But we definitely haven’t.
It makes absolutely no sense to me- a color coordinated, chart making, pros/cons list enthusiast– that people blindly jump into “a hazard or dangerous chance”.
So, yeah, when I read something that advises people to take calculated risks, I laugh.
Because I am not an impulsive person.
I am a think-about-it-until-you-can-think-no-more person; a let’s-analyze-every-angle person; a hope-for-the-best-but-prepare-for-the-worst kind of person. I am the person who laughs when someone suggests I think it through, because odds are I thought it through 20X before I even asked for their opinion.
But as I sit and read this list- internally laughing and raging at how stereotypical the advice is – I realize:
Everyone is technically an impulsive person.
Think about the last decision you made. It doesn’t have to be big; you don’t even have to have thought about it for a long time. The point is that you did make a decision. At some point you had to suck it up and jump into it. You chose left or right; yes or no; black or blue; chocolate or vanilla. You dedicated yourself to that choice and went with it.
The definition of impulsive is “acting on impulse.”
The definition of impulse is “a sudden strong and unreflective urge or desire to act.”
So that moment when you stand on the edge of the proverbial cliff and decide to jump- that instant when you subconsciously realize there’s no turning back- is an impulse. You have reached the peak where you can think no more, so you stop thinking and start doing. And it just so happens that our lives are a compilation of never ending impulses we either suppress or entertain.
Meaning we are all impulsive. Some of us just less than others.
So, what’s the point? Why did this one statement send me spiraling into an extensive train of thought I felt the need to force on the rest of the universe?
Well, recognizing that we are all impulsive and heeding this one liner of advice offers some important wisdom to both sides.
TO THE OVERLY IMPULSIVE:
The key here is calculated risks. Your greatest asset is learning to captivate those impulses and pause for even just a second to think. If there’s a hint of doubt or consequence, then maybe take more than a second. There are endless possibilities to how this will benefit you (ie. Bigger bank account, avoiding bodily harm, avoiding emotional distress…) but overall it opens the door to recognizing sometimes our gut isn’t always right. Humanity is unfortunately human and our instincts have a margin of error. Take a second to just breathe and exist outside of the moment to realize potential consequences and benefits.
TO THE OVERLY CAUTIOUS:
Ignore everything I just told the impulsives. You’ll only over think it. The thing you need to recognize is that the entire universe is made of decision making. It is unavoidable. That’s good news for us, because it makes impulses a lot less scary. You decide what to wear in the morning and the world doesn’t end. The things we label as “risks” are only slightly bigger steps than the ones we take ever single day. You are a natural at doing. So, yes, color code your charts and contemplate the options, but don’t wait too long. Don’t torture the inevitable. Eventually you will have to decide one way or another, so once you’ve thought it through, don’t fear actually doing it.