Influential people in business and finance say: Risk-taking is an integral part of progress in today’s world. But if it is not your nature to take risks, how can you feel comfortable while stepping into the unknown?
In a world where lifelong employment is scarce, traditional ways of working and employment no longer exist in most advanced economies. Does this mean we have to take risks to progress? This is what Bill Owlett, a lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, thinks.
Owlette insists that doing things as we are used to doing in an era of uncertainty is truly “the biggest risk you can take”.
This attitude can be reflected in the way we view risk takers. Those who are brave enough to jump from a height are valued and respected, whether it is a good thing or not. In any case, a safe way of handling things does not make our work attractive, or conspicuous.
Would Elon Musk have achieved this status among businessmen around the world as we see it today if he had not taken the risks that made his companies jump at rocket speed after reaching the brink of bankruptcy in 2008 and are now companies like Tesla and SpaceX Is it worth billions?
So, we should perhaps not be surprised to see that risks are becoming a contemporary global phenomenon. The culture of novice entrepreneurs based on the philosophy (start big or do not start) has created and strengthened the mentality that says that only risk takers bear fruit.
As for those who do not seize the opportunities, they are on the verge of “failure”, as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg says.
But what does it take for one of us to be risky? Is it possible for one of us to turn himself into a risky person?
Our ability to seize opportunities, and be comfortable with the unknown, or unfamiliar outcomes, is influenced by our psychological composition, the vital functions within our bodies, the culture in which we were raised, and broader societal acceptance of risky behaviors.
For example, researchers have found that our levels of the male hormone testosterone are directly related to our willingness to take risks. Because the level of this hormone is higher in men than in women, we can often act impulsively on the basis of incomplete information, even though the sexes have the same willingness to take risks.
Our willingness to take risks is also influenced by our own experiences, and by the stock of our individual emotions. Maybe your parents did not like taking risks, or you may have taken a risk that did not work, making you cautious when faced with the moment of choosing whether to step forward or hold back.
There are also cultural factors, as you may be descended from a society or social group that prefers safe successes that do not involve risk or risk in a person’s professional, financial or personal life, above opportunities based on the principle of trial and error .
In some environments, such as California’s Silicon Valley, risk-taking is essential to the success of the culture of new employers and founders thriving there.
And for those who are not inherently risky, there are a few ways you can feel comfortable taking a risk. And you can, within narrow limits, change the psychological reactions that can keep you from taking risks, by also mastering some psychological issues.
It has been proven that our fully focused behaviors, along with a healthy lifestyle, are effective in controlling the amounts of adrenaline and cortisone, which are associated with stress, and are released when we are under the kind of stress associated with the taking a risk. .
In other words, mental focus can keep cortisone and adrenaline levels low, and thus stay clear of mind to make smart decisions, including some of the risks needed to succeed in the troubled world of business and finance of these age.
“Biological factors play an infinite role in your ability to take risks, compared to environmental factors,” says Srini Pillay, author of Learn More, Think Less: Unleash the Power of a Distracted Mind and also an Assistant Professor of Psychology by Harvard Medical School.
Pillay believes that one effective way to vaccinate ourselves against the stress that can cause risk is to harness the power of our distracted mind.
Our conscious brain trains us to focus and use lessons from previous experiences to make better decisions. But according to Pillay, the majority of experts, including Michael Gazzaniga, one of the best-known specialists in cognitive neuroscience, believe that between 90% and 98% of our mental activities are unconscious.
To become a better risk taker, it is very important to let your subconscious mind sometimes dominate your thinking, helping your brain to recall long-forgotten memories and connect the different thoughts in your mind. Some of the steps that Pillay suggests to activate our subconscious are naps, relaxation and even characterization. a 2016 study found that people are more successful at solving problems and taking smart risks when acting as an eccentric poet, rather than a assertive librarian. and measured.
“The brain is optimally designed to offer both risk and certainty, focus and unfocusedness, and it is imperative that every person learns how to balance both sides of the equation,” says Pillay.
And there is a clear challenge you face when it comes to overcoming your past and bad experiences with past risks. It is sometimes impossible to influence the views of our friends, family and colleagues when it comes to taking risks. But what we can change is the way we think about these elements, and our reactions to them.