Risk Roulette: Knowing When to Place the Bet

Risk, as defined rather technically by Wikipedia, is “independent from the notions of value, and, as such, eventualities may have both beneficial and adverse consequences.” Phrased in a way that doesn’t leave you scratching your head, we could simply say that taking risks can either work in your favour or work against you. Despite risks not always paying off, they’re often necessary. They enable us to grow and learn from our mistakes. We’re actually lucky that this is the case, seeing as we take quite a few risks throughout our lives. As children, we try things like putting random objects in our mouth, climbing trees, and the more daring among us even attempt to ride our bicycle without using our hands. The latter either resulting in impressed friends or a trip to the local hospital. As adults, there are risks we face when buying a property, performing DIY or opting to make a serious career change. Every day when we leave the comfort of our homes and venture into the outside world, there will be risks to face. Thankfully, we’re conditioned to avoid most of them so they’re rarely a threat. Risk roulette has nothing to do with these small risks – you know, the ones like eating spaghetti bolognaise with a white shirt on or wearing 6-inch heels to nightclubs that are surrounded by cobbled roads. Instead, risk roulette is more about the ‘biggies.’ The risks we view as serious, all-encompassing, and life changing. More specifically, risk roulette is all about knowing when to take these risks. There’s a big difference between risks that are just plain stupid and those that could go against you but feel necessary. An example of the first being like the time I had jumped into the deep-end of a swimming pool knowing full well I couldn’t swim. The second being similar to when I had quit my full-time job in order to pursue work on my internet business. A couple of years ago, I had to play the risk roulette. I was 18 years old, had finished my first year of a two-year college course, and had a steady job in a clothes store. I had a great group of friends and from an outsider’s perspective, my life looked good. Then I received a job offer. The offer was to leave the UK and move to Cape Town (South Africa) to become the social media manager for some of the largest companies in the world. I had been writing on the topic of Internet marketing for a few years so had managed to build quite a name for myself, but was determined to finish college and go down the ‘conditioned path’ I had been expected to. I laughed at the man who thought I was crazy enough to drop everything and move across the world. I thanked him for the consideration, and told him I would consider the offer the following year (after I had finished college) if it was still available. Yet, within a few hours, I was already on the phone to my dad telling him I was leaving college, resigning from my job and moving to a country where I didn’t know one single person. My dad is fairly apathetic, so it was quite a surprise to hear him laughing down the phone. He honestly thought I was joking. Once I had convinced him I was serious, he gave me his full support. I called the company who had offered me the job and told them about my change of heart. I said goodbye to my friends and family, I handed in my notice at work and I started preparing everything I would need for my move to South Africa. Right now you’re probably wondering what changed my mind. Well, that’s simple: I knew when to place the bet. If we knew the outcome of a risk was going to be fortunate then it wouldn’t be a risk;- it would just be an action or an event. In my situation, I had no idea whether I was making the right decision, but there was something about the circumstances that made me realise I had to grab the opportunity with both hands.

My Position

If you consider my position, things start to make a little sense:
  • I had no interest in any of the college courses I was doing
  • My long-term goal was to work for myself as an internet marketer
That’s it; that’s all that matters. It doesn’t matter that I had a job or that I was in college. Those two bullet-points above provide enough information to know that I needed to place the bet and take the risk. Could I have waited until finishing college before I made my move? Sure. Would the job offer have still been available? Possibly. This site is all about breaking out of the mould, doing something different, creating your own reality. I knew I should be going for what I want, I knew when to place the bet, simply because it felt right and it aligned with my internal compass. Some call this feeling gut-instinct, others call it intuition. Whatever you name it, you must learn to trust it and let it guide you in life. The biggest risks aren’t career changes, buying properties, moving to another country or anything even remotely related. Do you know what the biggest risk you face in life is? The biggest risk of all is failing to go for the things you want in life because you’re afraid of the outcome. That outcome may be judgments from others, the possibility of failure or the situation you end up in. Whatever it is, we’re usually afraid of it. Instead of waiting for your life to be perfect or for your friends and family to be convinced about your decisions, follow your own path. And, just like in everyday life, this path will also present risks you must face along the way. In order to know when to place the bet, you just need to ask yourself a simple question: “Does the opportunity align with my core desires.” Core desires are not monetary  – which, of course, you’ll know once you have them – they’re more about freedom, expression and doing what feels right at the very depths of your Being. Remember: the biggest risk is not the ones you may face on your journey. The biggest risk is not going for what you want because you’re afraid of the outcome. As long as you know when to place the bet, you’ll have no regrets when you’re lying on your death bed.

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