Small Calculated Risks

Life is all about taking risks. Much of people’s anxiety is over; will these risks work out in the long run?

Taking a big risk in life is scary because we aren’t sure how it will work out.

Will it ruin you?

No one said you have to take big, life-altering risks all at once. Sometimes these risks are necessary.

But what if you took small calculated risks that get you to the same place?

Much of our anxiety is because we try to predict what will happen.

The bigger the risk the more variables. The harder it is to predict.

We, as humans, are horrible at predicting the future. So the bigger the risk the more vague the outcome will be.

We try to predict the future, but there are so many things outside of our control it is a lesson in futility.

Also, black swan events can come along and change everything. The idea of the black swan event was popularized by Nicholas Nassim Taleb in the book of the same name.

We can steal ourselves against the events in two ways, hedge our bets, so we are prepared to take advantage of the outcome or take small calculated risks that don’t expose us to as much risk.

If you are taking smaller risks, then the stakes become easier to manage and you get to the same endpoint.

You will also be more willing to continue on the path to the big goal, just in smaller steps.

Pain = Growth

Does anyone ever grow when things are going well? I guess we all grow a little every day no matter if there are good times or bad times. It is very easy to become complacent when things are working out well.

When you are a child, you touch something hot, you immediately pull away. You learn very quickly that you don’t want to touch that again. Simplistically that is growth.

No one likes to be in pain. It seems however that our largest growth comes when we are at our lowest, in the most pain. These feelings motivate us to make changes to escape the situation or the feeling.

“A Stoic is someone who transforms fear into prudence, pain into transformation, mistakes into initiation, and desire into undertaking.” – Nicholas Nassim Taleb

There’s a lot of growth in that quote.

“Fear into prudence” You don’t stop or turn around. You keep going with a little more caution. Always moving forward with a little more knowledge each time.

“It’s ok to be a little afraid. It just means you’re about to learn something.” -Thibaut

“Pain into transformation.” If we are the same person as when we experienced the pain we are likely to experience it again. No one wants to be in pain so we change to not experience that pain again. That’s growth.

“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in.” – Haroki Murakami

“Mistakes into initiation” Use an error to begin something new. A mistake will always cause pain, the pain of regret. It also can be a beginning, a beginning of a new way forward.

“I learn from my mistakes. It’s a very painful way to learn, but without pain, the old saying is, there’s no gain.” – Johnny Cash

“Desire into undertaking” Wanting something is wonderful. But wanting something alone won’t get what you want. You have to take the desire and make it happen. A little at a time. One foot in front of the other.

“You can have anything you want, if you want it badly enough.” – Abraham Lincoln

Pain can be devastating, or it can be motivating. You can let it crush you, or you can let it strengthen you. Which way forward is your choice.