OPINION: People say, starting a business is risky. Well, maybe, to some extent. But I assure you, entrepreneurship will never be the biggest risk you will take in your life. Not taking a risk will indeed be the biggest risk in life. Taking a risk can actually prepare you better for the black swans than avoiding it.
This thought on risk randomly came to my mind one evening as I was having a cup of tea pondering on entrepreneurship. But as I was browsing the web, I came across a quote from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg who said: “The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” Well said, Mark!
The world is indeed changing at a rapid pace and so are the nature of jobs and the skills you need to do them. In such a scenario, sitting back in your comfort zone and doing your routine work might put you at a huge risk of being redundant. Today’s skills will no longer be relevant tomorrow and the perception of your comfort zone might actually turn into a red zone for you.
Broadly speaking, when you take a risk in your business or life, you risk three things: (i) Finance, (ii) Reputation, and (iii) Time. All three are indeed valuable to anybody. For working professionals, finance helps you pay your bills and your next big break depends on your reputation in your previous organisation. And, time is money. Yet, it’s worthwhile to risk these three assets in your life, at least once. The reasons are simple. Let’s take a look at each of them.
If you take the risk, finance is something you can plan. You can start a business with low operating costs and even share your costs with investors and partners. You can surely find ways not to go bankrupt and try your hand at an idea that you think is worth giving a shot. But if you don’t take the risk, you are bound to die poor or at best continue to live with what you currently have.
The risk to reputation is overshadowed by the fact that the genuinely smart people will appreciate your ability to take risks even if you have failed. Also, reputation is often external and a relative function in our mind, which means, others’ opinion of us can significantly vary from what we think about ourselves. So, it’s pointless to waste too much time thinking about reputation. If at all you care, by not taking a risk, you are branded lazy anyway!
It might appear that we are risking our precious time doing something that might not work out and we would have to restart all over again. The fact is, the time you would have spent taking a risk will be most valuable. This time will often be the sharpest learning curve in your life. If you didn’t take the risk, you would have surely wasted your time doing some routine task assigned by your boss, which most likely you didn’t enjoy doing it.
With the three biggest risks already sorted for you, it’s time you get out of our comfort zone and take that life-changing risk. Risk, if taken, gives you the opportunity to hedge or even come out successful (which is the upside of any risk). But risk, if not taken, can lead you to live a risky life forever. History is witness to the fact that more people have repented for not taking a risk than taking it.