A calculated risk is a gamble taken after careful assessment that a certain action will bring forth a probable and desired outcome. It is a risk because it involves some exposure to danger, harm or loss. It is calculated because it is expected to bring a good outcome, even though some risk is involved. Therefore, it is a decision, or action, which is made and planned with forethought and the associated risk is considered to be worthwhile.
We may have lost our ability to think about things in this manner. As a culture, we are quite conceivably risk averse, and, as a result, we miss out on a multitude of possibilities for our lives and our businesses. We are afraid to take a risk if we can’t see how it is going to play out. We are paralyzed and suffer anxiety unless we feel we have control over the outcome.
Risks are necessary. Consider this poem, written by Janet Rand:
To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out for another is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place ideas and dreams before a crowd is to risk being called naive.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.
But risk must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing.
They may avoid suffering and sorrow, but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live.
Chained by their certitude, they are slaves; they have forfeited their freedom.
Only a person who risks is truly free.
Risk and opportunity are closely connected. Opportunity generally comes with some risk attached. I invite you, as you go about your business this week, to welcome risk and, in so doing, welcome opportunity as well. Practice being a little uncomfortable, have conversations and be in action that you might not normally consider. See what comes of it. I’m not asking you to jump out of an airplane without a parachute, but give yourself permission to take some calculated risks for the sake of having a life worth living.