29.06.17: Risk Taking – Story of Elon Musk
‘Risk Taking’ is defined as the act or fact of doing something that involves danger or risk in order to achieve a goal. So, it is about taking a risk to achieve a goal, not just for the thrill of it - which might fall under adventure. Risk taking doesn’t necessarily mean doing things haphazardly, without applying one’s mind.
Generally, most people are averse to taking risks primarily because of fear; fear of losing something valuable, fear of the unknown, fear of failure, etc. It can also be due to our wanting the mental comfort of guarantee of the results or security. Or, for lack of self-confidence and inappropriate perception about one’s capabilities.
However, history has proved time and again that the successful people had always taken risks towards what they wanted to achieve in their life. They have learnt lessons from their failures. Also, for most people, success doesn’t just fall on one’s laps; they have to go for it – which might involve risks.
Some of the consequences of not taking risks are:
· Unforeseen missed opportunities
· We would never be able to overcome our sense of fear – whatever that be
· Compromising on what one could want or what one could have achieved
· Losing an opportunity to learn from our actions
· Loss of self-confidence
I have marveled at some of the successful personalities for their ability to take risks. Of course, theirs were calculated risks, weighing the risk-reward relationship. To gain something, one also has to forego something. No pain – no gain. That is why, whenever I come across information about such personalities, I make it a point to learn more about them and write about them. Knowing about them becomes my inspiration too.
In retrospect, I wondered whether I was a risk taker. Of course, yes. I took several small, but significant, risky decisions. I have gambled about the choices before me several times, and every time, they became life-changing decisions. To name only a few…
I ventured into my post graduation studies with just five hundred rupees in my bank account, not even speculating what I would do for the second month’s hostel expenses.
I ventured to forego my passion for science and became a banker, an area totally alien to me.
I agreed willingly to every workplace transfer between north and south of India and worked with people of different languages, cultures, and attitude. Calculated risk-taking used to be a part of my work culture. I had made mistakes and learnt valuable lessons from them.
I consciously gave up a lucrative banking career in search of opportunities in the wilderness of private sector, and then, consciously chose to work in an environment which offered no guaranteed regular income, that too, in a foreign land.
Having lived in many big and metropolitan cities and having been used to the best of comforts of life, I chose to live in a village environment for my retired days.
Every time, there was a hard choice to make.
Coming back to successful personalities, earlier I wrote about Richard Branson, his commercial ventures, philosophies, and successes. Here is another story I liked, about Elon Musk, known for his ventures into space exploration and developing solar power systems and electric cars. He is ranked 21st in the Forbes list of the World’s Most Powerful People.
Read on about Elon Musk, in the next part….