I’m sure that every one has had some defining moments in life and everyone most certainly remembers the experiences when they’ve come closest to death. I’ve had my share and the most striking aspect of those moments have been the thoughts that flashed through my mind in those moments. In almost all accounts, when I’ve come closer to death (not that there have been more than one or two..), I’ve thought of the things that I did not do, as opposed to the things that I did do. This has been an important enough datapoint for me to fearlessly pursue my dreams/passions and make "risk-taking" a way of life.
The single-most unique characteristic of an entrepreneur is his/her risk-taking aptitude. I’ve been fortunate to meet several exceptionally talented individuals throughout my life/career and I’ve often wondered – "Why aren’t they all starting companies?" – because they are all super capable of starting and sustaining high-impact organizations. All my conversations and thoughts end up with a common hypothesis – "They are risk-averse." There is nothing wrong in being risk-averse, but the risky side is just so much more exciting and I want that excitement for all of them.
In no way am I implying that one should always take mad risks (althought seemingly mad risks have often changed the world positively.) In fact the entire profession of venture capital is geared around "minimizing risk" and that is true for every startup as well. Every milestone in a startup’s life is aimed at minimizing one risk or the other – risk of technology, risk of market, risk of talent, risk of survival, etc. Investors love entrepreneurs who can clearly quantify the risk that they are taking and have a plan to minimize risk in a logical fashion.
I’ve observed that several smart people are reluctant to break out of their comfort zone and take a risk to do new things, due to one fear or another. When I see this, I feel that they are letting their fears come in the way of their dreams. My only intent for sharing this risk-taking "philosophy" is to inspire my friends to take more risk. This is the only way entrepreneurs are born.
When I’ve had concerns about taking a particular risk, I’ve simply asked myself – "What’s the worst that can happen?" and the answers have been often manageable. Scientifically, when a person takes risk, there is a solid adrenaline rush, which pushes the person to perform at a much optimal level than otherwise.
I’ve actually liked some of the points on risk-taking from this video..
Risk-taking has always worked for me as a way of life.
Let’s risk it.