Rule #15: Take Risks

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Are you a risk taker?

Actually, I hate that question, so I apologize for even asking it.

I hate it because it implies that we're all light switches, when we know that we're all dimmers.

Throughout our lives, we are told that we're . . .

  • introverted or extroverted;

  • happy-go-lucky or serious;

  • fearful or fearless;

  • friendly or bellicose;

  • selfish or selfless;

  • risk inclined or risk averse.

How pedestrian. We are, of course, each of these; yet, in a rush to simplicity, we adopt false labels, then spend countless hours living our lives based on those labels. How distressing.

In real life, of course, we're both introverted and extroverted, both happy-go-lucky and serious, both fearful and fearless -- just rarely at the same time. In real life, we're not just black or white, we're fushia and lavender, magenta and beige, crimson and coral. It depends on the day, and our mood, not to mention the state of our love life and our finances.

This chapter lists the benefits of taking risks, along with some tips for improving your skill. Plus, it contains some wonderful quotes - case in point, these poignant words from Charles S. Sanford Jr., former chairman and CEO of Bankers Trust Corporation:

"Successful people understand that risk, properly conceived, is often highly productive rather than something to be avoided. They appreciate that risk is an advantage to be used rather than a pitfall to be skirted. Such people understand that taking calculated risks is quite different from being rash."

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