How Risk Averse Are You?


How Risk Averse Are You?

I know exactly where I was the day John F Kennedy died on Friday 22nd November 1963.  I remember it clearly, not because I knew who he was, I was only 8 years old at the time. In fact, I thought it was the Australian Entertainer Graham Kennedy who had been shot.   My mother’s shocked reaction is the reason this day is so strongly etched into my brain.

The recent regurgitation of the ‘Kennedy Curse’ stories, brought this memory flooding back.  They seemed to have astounding bad luck dating from 1941 to this day.

It’s said that perhaps it was just a numbers game and their misfortune stems more from the fact they are a large family.  The larger the family the higher the risk.

Yet, none of these terrible experiences stopped key players in the Kennedy family from following their dream and working hard to achieve their goals.

Paying the price for taking a risk

The recent announcement of the liquidation of two companies owned by people I know, both personally and professionally, has caused me to ponder about what motivates us.

These people were not close friends, not close enough to know the inside circumstances of their businesses, but close enough to know they are both genuinely good people with the best of intentions, huge personal goals and a genuine desire and commitment to help others and their communities as well as themselves.

They gave something a go, trusted others, had confidence in (rightly so) the experience they gained from their past successes and yet still, these companies collapsed.  One reportedly owing more than $2m, the other after losing more than $45m.

Why/how does this happen and is it right or wrong?  Should we allow these people, any people to take such huge risks?  Should we be angry with, and critical of, them?  Or should we be so very grateful for their willingness to have a go regardless of the threats?

These people aim for the stars, go about surrounding themselves with the right people and establishing the environment to do whatever it takes to make it happen.

Both parties, and many other similar business owners I’m sure, have had some huge successes.

If the minuses were taken away from the pluses

No doubt, if the minuses were taken away from the pluses, the net result of their efforts would, more often than not, be far greater than the contributions made by those of us who are very unwilling to take such huge risks.

  1. Do you look on with distaste and anger when you see yet another report of someone else’s failure to achieve what they set out to do?
  2. Do you scoff and say ‘It’s not gonna work’ when friends share their big vision with you?

Next time you see a report about someone ‘going bad’, give them a quiet pat on the back for having a go, and if you know them well enough, send them a gesture of support so they know the entire world isn’t against them for trying.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t treat with disdain those people who have malicious intention from the outset and who aim to deceive the elderly or rip someone off for their own personal gain with little or no consideration or care of the consequences to others.

Are you risk averse?

Are you holding back your own success because of your fear of failure and concern for what other people may think of you if it doesn’t work out?

What is the true cost to you, your family and your community of this restraint?

Take a leap of faith and have a go.  What’s the worst that could happen?

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