Do you want to make a crucial change to your work? Do you want to build a new path completely?
You are not being able because you think there are many different reasons that are blocking your way: Laziness, procrastination, pride etc… Nevertheless, the reality is that you are afraid it is not worth the risk. Human beings have a range of cognitive prejudices that prevent them from taking actions, even those that would improve their lives, because they fear the risk of the pain and discomfort if things do not go fine. According to recent studies in brain imaging technology, human beings usually turn away from situations where they feel there is a possibility they lose something they value such as pride, money, sense of security and reputation.
In order to get over our prejudice from risk, we have to create self-awareness of how it is blocking how precisely we judge it.
Hereunder are some ways we tend to underestimate the risks and why the odd of your risks reckoning are actually better than you think.
Overestimation of The Size Of Risk
The risk of something not working out is often not near as high as we think and the chances of it working out well, are often far better. As Nobel Laureate and noted psychologist, Daniel Kahneman found through years of research (which he details in Thinking, Fast and Slow), when evaluating risk, potential losses tend to appear bigger than potential gains because people tend to focus more on what might go wrong than what might go right. Because what we focus on magnifies in our imagination, it causes us to misjudge (and over-estimate) the likelihood of risks.
Underestimating the Ability To Deal With Risk
Most of us underestimate our capabilities especially if you are a woman. Many times, we let our uncertainties about whether we have what it takes to succeed control us. This results in that we often are afraid to take on new challenges. In addition, we do not trust sufficiently in our aptitude to rise to the challenges. In reality, you are capable of more than you think you are, and double that if you are a woman!
Downloading The Cost of Inaction
People generally justify their inactions by telling comments such as “It’s not so bad” “Hopefully things will just work themselves out” “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.” We usually mislead ourselves by believing that things will just ‘get better’ on their own. But also, we can mislead ourselves by sticking to the path of doing nothing.
Human beings are hardwired with cognitive biases such as the Confirmation Bias (where they actively search for information that confirms how they want to see things) and the Perceptual Defense Mechanism (that vigorously defends their perception of reality and decreases facts that may contradict it). This is the reason why people remain in jobs and marriages and careers they hate and they continually convince themselves that it is the better “more sensible” option. In reality, things that are not working out well can tend to worsen over time. Delay can be increasingly expensive. So how to deal with our tendency to get away from risk and take new smarter one? Begin by asking yourself these questions:
- What do I have to gain from taking this risk?
- How will not taking this risk cost me as measured by what matters most to me?
According to the book, “Brave: 50 Everyday Acts of Courage to Thrive in Work, Love & Life”, intended to help people take smarter risks in their everyday lives, nothing meaningful is accomplished with a guarantee of success. No risk. No reward.
So, it is always better to go for a risk rather than get away from it. Even if things are not going the way you expect them to go, you will still be better off because every time you take a risk you develop your ability to discern risk, your aptitude to manage it, and your courage to take risk more often.
Do not forget that you are bolder than you think and can do far more than you imagine.
Take that chance, make that change, and take that risk.