It often takes calculated risks to grab opportunities when they arise even when they are not obvious opportunities. I recall a seven day ski holiday package in the French Alps. The first three days produced glorious weather and the fourth day stormy weather came with rain pelting down. My instinctive response was to stay indoors for the day and wait for the good weather to return. My partner had a different point of view. She felt that we only had seven days of skiing and why lose an opportunity to ski because it’s raining. Her point of view was all it took to break an old mental restriction that had made me believe I don’t ski in the rain. As a result of letting go this mental restriction we had a marvelous day skiing in the rain. 

Avoid risks that are poorly understood and not calculated

I am not advocating taking risks that are poorly understood and not calculated. I suggest there is nothing wrong with having a healthy fear of disastrous consequences. The global financial crisis that seems to have started around 2007 and resulted in the loss of millions of jobs and several bankruptcies is the consequence of poorly understood and poorly managed risks around complex financial products. In particular with CDOs (centralized debt obligations). The people taking these risks were mainly the captains of the financial sector. The losers were their consumers. It is claimed they won when they sold and they won again when their consumers lost. If you are interested in unpacking this financial crisis the movie Inside job provides insight. 

At times you may need to take risks or die

Ernest Shackleton knew that he had to take calculated risks or he and his crew would die. Shackleton set sail for Antarctica during late 1914 in the ship Endurance. His intention was to cross the Antarctic continent from one coast to the other via the South Pole. Wikipedia writes; Disaster struck this expedition when its ship, Endurance, became trapped in pack ice and was slowly crushed before the shore parties could be landed. There followed a sequence of exploits, and an ultimate escape with no lives lost, that would eventually assure Shackleton’s heroic status, although this was not immediately evident. Shackleton’s story is captured in a range of excellent books and on DVD with Kenneth Branagh in the role of Shackelton. If you watch the DVD I recommend you read one of the books as well. Watching DVDs puts your brain in a passive mode because you are not actively involved. When reading one uses creative imagination. You are creating pictures in your mind from words. You are learning new ways to express yourself and new ideas. 

By the way, those of you who don’t read have no advantage over those who can’t read.