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E-Quipped to...Take Risks Responsibly
This newsletter introduces 'Responsible Risk Taking', a comprehensive article found on my website.
Risk refers to the chance that a person’s sense-making is insufficient to deal with the world safely and effectively. Put like that, it makes one wonder why anyone would ever take a risk, and yet we do – all the time!
Most of us want and need an element of risk in our lives. Without it, we become bored and inattentive. If there is not enough risk, we create it by behaving in a riskier way.
It makes sense then that if we are going to take risks we must do it in the most responsible way possible. We can do this by paying attention to the factors that affect our assessment of risk.
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Factors That Affect our Assessment of Risk
Our perception of risk has little to do with the actual probability of something bad happening, rather there are three main factors that influence our sense of risk:
The more control we believe we have, the less risk we believe we are taking. For example, in the maritime industry, shore-based staff believe the risk of ship incidents is twice as great as crew members do.
The high degree of control a person thinks they have may be real – due to a well-calibrated sense of their own well-developed skills, together with a highly pertinent assessment of the situation they are in. Or at the other extreme, it may be far from the truth – due to stress or fatigue, over-confidence, lack of appreciation of missing skills or knowledge etc.
The more a course of action appears to support a goal that we regard as important or highly desirable, the less risky it will appear to be (or the more we will overlook the risk normally associated with it).
An action will also appear to be of high value if it seems the easiest way to achieve a desired goal. We are routinely attracted to short cuts for this very reason – sometimes with dire consequences.
The more a circumstance or action seems familiar, the less risky it will appear to be.
The important thing about these three factors is that their overall mix is determined by the person who is exposed to the risk. The actual risk any one of us takes is a combination of our personal mix on the one hand, e.g. skills, training, knowledge and, on the other, the problems in the outside world that really do have nothing to do with us, such as equipment failure, poor weather conditions etc.
What are the Warning Signs That you Should not Take a Particular Risk?
Dealing with the perception of risk is not really about spotting dangers in the external world and avoiding them. It is much more about spotting weaknesses in our own assumptions about the world and managing the relationship between the world and our own imperfect knowledge of it.
Complacency is better understood as the result of a person’s badly calibrated sense of risk, rather than as a fundamental cause of incidents. We need better insight into our own risk-taking so that we can maintain it at a level that is appropriate to the real levels of control we have.
If we consider carefully the three factors mentioned above, then we will better be able to see the warning signs that we should not take a particular risk.
For specific do’s and don’ts when it comes to risk taking read: Responsible Risk Taking
What do YOU Think?
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About These Newsletters
You may have been forwarded this email by a friend. In that case, allow me to introduce myself. I am a psychologist, speaker, trainer, coach and hat lover based in Durban, South Africa.
My goal is to inspire you to make the changes necessary to live the life of your dreams! I believe that by developing your YOU-Q - the term I have created to describe your unique intelligence, creativity and wisdom - you can find your Inner winner and live a Be-YOU-tiful life right now.
On my website you'll find more ideas to get you thinking about life, love, work and other important STUFF.
Contact me for more information or visit the website:
+27 82 491 1136
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