Here is what scientists know…the known universe is expanding. Anything that expands is dynamic and subject to change. Change may be slow, but scientists can measure the rate of change. Change is what makes life unpredictable, in some cases more than others.
Most human routines are predictable because most people live and operate within a know comfort zone which they seldom leave. Predictability of results is what gives our routines their value. But once we get outside our comfort zone our routines and habits and into areas in which we have little experience, we cannot rely on what we know of the past to guide us. What we don’t know is unpredictable, at least until we master it, and it too becomes part of our comfort zone. From the time we leave our comfort zone to the time the new routine is made a part of our comfort zone, we are temporarily placed in a position of uncertainty.
Trends are predictable, at least in the short-term. But nearly every human-driven trend comes to an end and new trends takes it place. Trends come and go, and it is hard to predict when. Not only is the timing of a trend’s ending difficult to predict, but also the direction of the new trend that replaces the old trend. Some mathematicians make a career of trying to predict trends but few of them are rich yet, which means that they are still trying without success.
Everything in this world is a moving target.
What we aim for may not be there when we arrive. Since the future is unpredictable, it is difficult to predict exactly what the future will look like when we finally get there. Whenever we makes plans that must be executed in the future and the results collected in the future, we are taking a chance that the target may move before we arrive. There is every good reason to expect that the target itself will move, so we must aim to where we think in will be. As suggested by Wayne Gratzsky, when dealing with the future, “we must aim for where the puck is headed”, and not where it is at the moment we begin to chase it.
A good tactic for chasing the future is to “Aim, Ready, Fire”, and then to repeat the process until one gets satisfactorily close enough to the target. When chasing the future, one must plan at least two steps ahead. One step must be planned to get to where the target is now, and another step must be planned to get to where the target has likely moved.
Another thing we know about the future is given to us by chaos theory which states that the universe tends to move towards disorder. Any order at the exists at the start will tend to dissipate. When left to themselves, things get worse (more disorder) and only improve with effort (Andrew Mathews). Every project must be closely managed to ensure that it stays on track and doesn’t drift off course. Management must anticipate what could happen that was not planned and anticipated. Otherwise, if not properly managed, projects that depend on the future for their completion will have progressively more things go from bad to worse.
There will always be trouble in the world. Expect it and handle it.
Whenever one leaves the shelter of their comfort zone to seek new opportunities, there also lie potential troubles. While one extending their boundaries, they must remain not only alert but also in a high state of readiness to respond to unexpected and undesirable events that may be lurking around the corner. Since we cannot escape a life without trouble, we should not be surprised when trouble finds us. Anticipate what could happen. That way, you will not be caught totally off-guard. The less prepared one is for trouble, the more trouble they will find themselves in.
If your views and assumptions of reality are flawed, then your strategies for success are also probably flawed
Since we are not all knowing about the future, we cannot know everything we need to know to make decisions regarding the future. To eliminate these information voids, we need to make assumptions to be able to complete our future-oriented plans. The correctness of our assumptions will eventually reveal itself. One must remain alert in case the assumptions are found to be false. This may require a reversal of course. But as we move forward, we become more confident of our assumptions. The future will give us all the answers to tell us if we made the right choice or not. The right choice implies success. The wrong choice implies failure. Either way, we find out what we don’t know as we move forward. Our job is to adapt and adjust to the reality of our situation at each moment in time. “We grow in time to trust the future for our answers.”
To reduce the chance that our assumptions are wrong, we have to make the best, most likely assumptions we can and then verify our assumptions as we progress into the future. Our plans are no better than the number and quality of our assumptions. The more assumptions we must make to make a decision, the more likely some parts of our plan will be wrong. If our assumptions are way off base, and we make them just to justify taking an easy path, the decisions built upon those assumptions could potentially lead us in the wrong direction to an early failure.
“When in doubt of the facts, check it out.” When the information can be had, don’t let a desire for an early start deny you the information you need to make an informed decision. Don’t make assumptions when you could with a little more effort find out what the facts are.
If others bring opportunities to you, ask lots of questions and search for the hidden assumptions that might be wrong. Ask for more information when you hear words that 1) imply a high degree of uncertainty, 2) minimizes the downside potential, and 3) lack of willingness to compromise on means to the end to avoid unnecessary and obvious risks.
There are times when we find ourselves in unfamiliar territory. At first, we are on guard, because everything is foreign and strange. We are strained as we strive to make sense of what is going on and what we should do about it. When we don’t know the lay of the land, it seems that nothing is certain. Without reference points to guide us, we struggle to find our way. Even if we knew where we wanted to go, we wouldn’t know how to get there. We feel apprehensive and wrongly believe we are at a severe disadvantage against those who have been here before. What we should realize is that these situations offer us significant advantages. Anyone who has ever faced a difficult situation will be shaped by it for better or for worse. People respond to a difficult situation according to the immediate and obvious limitation they perceive, as if they know the limits of what the situation permits them to do. In short, they see only what they have seen before. What they don’t see is the potential in the situation. People are conditioned to see only the obvious constraints, limits, and boundaries. Those familiar with the situation behave according to convention, ritual, habit, and routine. In short, they think inside their self imposed box.
A person who is fresh to the same situation sees none of these self-imposed limits. Since everything is new, they haven’t been conditioned think or see as if there is only way to perceive the situation. The newcomer is free to see with unbiased eyes what is really there to be seen…both the dangers and the treasures. In complete uncertainty, one is forced to think their way through it. Although they don’t know much about their new situation, they do know that they need to find out. By looking beyond the hazards of loss to also find the potential for gain, one can truly assess the situation for what it truly is. In the best of circumstance, even in the face of uncertainty, there is nothing that is not possible. This search for value in all situations is the key that guides the risk-seeking person. When in doubt, assume that everything is possible. The best advise is that even when you think you know everything, assume everything can be changed for the better…and everything is still possible.
When nothing is certain, everything is possible.
Most people prefer the known to the unknown, just as people prefer their own comfort zone. People have an innate need to know what's going to happen to them. In reality, uncertainty is tolerable and unnecessary for happiness, because each moment is certain, because it is already present, and people can move intelligently between one certain moment to the next. “Uncertainty and the unknown are completely non-threatening unless one images that they know something they don't.” In most instances, fear of the unknown is a result of irrational thinking that can be corrected with a rational challenge against the imaginary fear.
A person who is willing to accept the risk of any endeavor and is skilled at handling at handling the risks they accept will have a strong competitive advantage over other. A person who takes intelligent chances achieve more in life than those who don’t. In fact, risk taking is encouraged because it is the only way to get a head personally and to advance society. People who play it safe don’t achieve anything except the perpetuation of the status quo. Risk taking is considered so important that is built into the West Point Military Academy maxim. “Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible.”
Don't let your can't cancel your wants.
Never let the prospect of risk hold you back from the pursuit of your dreams. Risk should only make you caution and careful, but not too much so. Hiding within the shadow of our comfort zone means that we miss out on future gains and stuck with the past or limited gains. “Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we might win by fearing to attempt.”
Everyone wants to avoid risks and the prospects of losses. The problem with risk-avoiding behaviors losses is that you reduce your chances of winning. The risk of loss is part of the cost of winning. Never risking losses means never getting what you want.
The risks worth taking are those that lead to the most fulfilling life.
Great triumphs can only come out of great trials.
Alex & Brett Harris, Do Hard Things
Uncertainty is the opportunity to make the world a better place.
Walter B. Wriston
The world is a risky place; survival is at stake. “Ideas have consequences, especially if acted upon. Likewise, expectations also have consequences.” Risk must have an important role in any decision because there is always the potential for downside consequences to any decision.
The most dangerous enemy is the one we fail to recognize.
Alex & Brett Harris, Do Hard Things
Risk was at one time defined as the chance of loss from any uncertain outcome. In other words, risk is a probably of incurring undesirable loss of one sort or another. Under this definition, risk was something to be avoided and is it can’t be avoided, then risk needs to be managed to minimize its impact on the outcome of any venture. Another way to view risk is the additional price that must be paid to cover any unknown factors in the cost of the venture above and beyond the know costs. Risk is the additional cost that must be paid for a project that offers high rewards. Where one finds risks, one also finds rewards. Just as risk is embedded in great opportunity, so is great opportunity hidden in high risks.
Risk should not be considered something to avoid outright, but something to exploit, as there would be no great opportunity without its companion…risk. One can either search for opportunity directly, or seek opportunity via its companion of risk. For every great risk, there is an equal or greater opportunity. Risk is a means of finding the opportunity. Once the opportunity is found, one can always figure out wants to handle it so that it does not spoil the party.
One should certainly avoid all unnecessary risk with preventative actions. One should not take risks without commensurately higher prospect of gains. Once the decision is made to accept the residual risks remaining, because the rewards are compelling, then one proceeds towards the goal.
Before proceeding with a risky goal, one must know what the risks are in advance, and know how tell if they are getting the upper hand. If some risks can be avoided or reduced with prudent preventions, one should do so. “One has an chance of doing something about life's pains before it occurs if they apply themselves consciously to the task.”
One should know in advance when to quit. Otherwise, one can get trapped in the cycle of keeping on, when the best course of action is to stop and regroup or re-decide.
A man should place himself in the position of losing too much.
Janaro & Altshuler
Attempting to avoid risks is often successful. But while one is searching for risks to avoid, this mind set limits one from finding opportunities. Usually, opportunities are found in the same place as risks. Unless your eyes are open for both risks and opportunities, one or the other may be missed. One need not be a pessimist to avoid risks. One just needs to be mindful that both risks and opportunities abound. Once a risk or adversity is found, it is time to switch mental gears to optimism that solutions will be found to avoid the worst of the possibilities. “Avoid stress, frustration, and anger by focusing on a positive interpretation of the negative event. When things go wrong, charge up these four positive attitudes: gratitude, action, empathy, and forgiveness.” When you hit adversity, switch mental gears to a positive expectancy that you will find interventions that will resolve the situation.
Instead of worrying about how to get over the risks, one is better served by figuring out how to wring all the opportunity possible from a situation. Too often, people allow themselves to be talked out of taking the most exploitive position in an opportunity, leaving piles of money on the table, all in the name of limiting their risks. The risks can be dealt with later, after the best deal has been struck. Once the deal is struck, the potential rewards are set, and one is locked into their commitments.
What we don’t do out of fear, we will regret if it means that we never get to chase and realize our dreams. Omission brings forth a void in our life. What must be done - that we don't do - comes back to haunt us.
To feel good about what you’ve done, you first have to do something.
C. W. Sooter
Once the deal is struck on the best terms possible, you must continue to search for hidden opportunities to improve the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Not everything is known at the beginning of an opportunity. What information is not known must be filled temporarily with reasonable assumptions. As time passes, what was not known at the beginning eventually begins to reveal itself. As reality asserts itself, new supplementary or even independent opportunities are revealed. Continue to search for ways to make a good opportunity even better. Continue to stack options for further gain, one on top of another. The risks will either get better or worse by these supplementary opportunities. Some opportunities provide contingencies that offset prior risks, thus neutralizing them or offsetting them. In the reverse, some opportunities will make prior risks worse and even introduce new ones. The new opportunities that make the over risk less is a blessing as it offers both more rewards and less risk. Those new opportunities that make more risk, at least have more rewards to compensate for it. Remember, all risks can be deal with to reduce its potency.
Regardless of the amount of news added to the old, they will all be dealt with by similar methods.
In every uncertain venture, there will be some risks. Identify the worst thing that could possibly go wrong, and then make sure it doesn’t happen. The only antidote for worry and risk is purposeful action.
I must lose myself in action lest I wither in despair.
You may have a risk and not know it, but just because you don’t know it doesn’t mean that it can’t or won’t manifest itself at any time. The only way to deal with a risk is to identify it before it happens and then how you want to handle it. You can choose to do nothing or take some preventative action. At least you have a choice when you know your risks.
Every goal has a set of conditions that must be met before it can be realized. If you correctly identify all the critical success factor, and then set about to achieve them, any goal can be realized. This is just basic principles…nothing can exist without the prerequisite conditions being present to support its existence.
When you set a goal, there is a chance that something unexpected or expected might happen to stop you from getting it. Failure to achieve one’s objectives is a risk. Just remember that failure is an event and not a condition or disease that people contract. Failure is simply the lack of completion of one of the steps necessary to achieve a goal. Once the missing step is completed, then the goal will be achieved.
One should never fear failure so long as they are not risking body and limb, or the real important things in life such as health, family, friends, morality, and character. Keep the bets small, and you can live with the downside on those occasions when you lose your bet.
The reasons why people fail to take chances are not just fear but he lack of inertia to succeed. People who live ordinary lives have a lack of 1) purpose, 2) ambition, 3) self-discipline, 4) desire, 5) concentration of effort, and 6) persistence. At the same time, they have an overabundance of caution and procrastination.
A strategy that some people use is to work on only a few projects at a time and put all their effort into them. One increases their success rate with focus and concentration. “Put all your eggs in one basket and then watch that basket.”
“Once you clearly define what you want, make a list of the obstacles that keep you from achieving it. Once you’ve defined the obstacles, ask what is keeping you from confronting or overcoming them. These perceived obstacles (real or imagined) are where you fears (of loss or failure) will usually be uncovered.”
Always be prepared for failure, because it is the norm. Wallace Hamilton states that “Failure is far more common than success; poverty is more prevalent than wealth, and disappointment more normal than arrival.” So, don’t be caught off guard, knocked off balance, and shaken from you quest just because your plans don’ work out as expected in the first try. Setbacks is often a catalyst for fear, and people often use ‘what could go wrong’ as an excuse not to do something, because in theory, failure is something to be avoided. If we use the fear of failure as an excuse for not doing something, and as a result of our excuse, we don’t do something, we don't spend anytime on it, therefore we prove that we can't do it. Our attitude of fearing failure becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Unless you are willing to take risks and preparing to accept failure, success will not happen. There must be something risky or hard about your goal or you would have it already. You should always have a (contingency) plan of action prepared for either failure or success. Failure is an event, not a destiny. Failure is part of the process leading to success. William Milnes asserts, “You're on the road to success when you realize that failure is merely a detour.” “Failure and defeat are part of the process leading to success…part of God's plan.” When things go wrong and deviate from your plan, take a hard look at what went wrong. Then, profit from your mistakes and false assumptions.
If you want to double your successes, then you must double your failure rate. Success is a numbers game. The more often you risk failure, the more you gain success. When you hit failure, you have a choice. You can wither quit and abandon the effort or come back fighting having learned the lessons of failure and eliminating one the potential stumbling blocks towards success. “Success lies on the far side of failure.”
All effects are caused and sometime by more than one. For every effect there are a set of causes. If the effect is detrimental to one’s goals, then to change the effect, one must either reverse the causes or create an new set of causes that changes the undesired effect. All failures are caused. If the cause can be identified in advance, then one can either choose to prevent the causes or watch indicators to see if the causes are in process of realization and then take preventative action. Knowing the causes of any risk is a good way to manage and possibly control or prevent them.
When you are faced with a risky situation, wherein the outcome could have undesirable results, you have two basic choices. One, you can do nothing and hope the outcome you worry about won’t happen. Or two, you can take preemptive action in an attempt to head off trouble. The choice depends on the probability and consequence of the adverse outcome. If either the probability or the consequence is high, the better choice is to take preemptive action. “Faith and doubt are both needed - not as antagonists, but working side by side - to take us around unknown curves.” Either way, the unknown eventually reveals itself to us, and we in turn, need to respond intelligently rather than irrationally.
Just because the risk of an adverse outcome is high, doesn’t mean that one should not take it if the rewards are high enough. There are a myriad of ways to reduce risk, but first one must take action to remove the fear of risk. Otherwise, the fear of risk could unnerve and stymie the risk taker to the point that they don’t act on a very beneficial opportunity that is requisite to success.
If something goes wrong, don't just give up, try and adjust and refine.
In the face adversity, take immediate action and do not wait for a bad situation to get worse.
Face adversity promptly and without flinching and you will reduce its impact.
One way to face the prospect of adversity in implementing one’s plans is to plan for challenges in advance. “Don't just make goals. Make contingency plans as well.” If you find yourself failing to execute your plan, you can either pour in more action and effort or you can abandon the effort. Both options are honorable. Some projects are destined to fail, so you should let them. Failure provides you with a fresh start to do something else. “If defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, so rebuild those plans and start to work on them immediately.” Many will tell you, never, never give up, that might sway you to persist even in the face of insurmountable odds. You might succeed, but at what price. Sometimes, it is far better to accept defeat as a sign that either the goal or the plan to reach the goal was flawed and needs to be redirected.
This handbook urges you to take a pause and reconsider the goal you have set for yourself. Is it worth the additional cost in overcoming the barriers that were not there before or is it better to move on to better opportunities. Sometimes, giving up is just the right thing to do because it allows you to shift your energies into more profitable opportunities.
On the other hand, what might be needed is slightly more effort to break through the logjam. So, investing more effort is also a viable option. More effort just might be what is needed to turn the situation around. You do have a choice and you should take the time to review before you blindly decide to “keep on keeping on”. In no case should you remain paralyzed and do nothing, as this is the only option that will guarantee an even worse result.
Failure is not falling down, but the staying down.
As soon as you realize that events are not moving according to plan, it is time to replan. Plans get you started but hard work gets the job done. “The majority of men meet with failure, because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail.”
If you have to terminate a project because of contingencies beyond anticipation and current control, you should not fret for a moment. Start again with a new project or the same project but with a different plan. Failure should be considered some that is permanent or final. “Failure is only a temporary change in direction to set you straight for your next success.” Just learn from your challenges and move on. Failure is not so bad if you have learned the key to what must be done to succeed. “Success is a lousy teacher, it makes men think they can't lose.”  “Every experience prepares you for the next one. You just don't every know what the next one is going to be.” 
We can learn nothing except by going from the known to the unknown.
Both fear and failure should never be tolerated or allowed to stop your from getting on with your life and getting all the goodness you can wring from the journey. “If you heed your fears, you'll die never knowing what a great person you might have been.” Hope must always be promoted so that it is stronger than fear, even though in most cases, the two are companions along the road of life.
Fear cannot be without hope, nor hope without fear.
Benedict de Spinoza
The smart thing to do in managing risk is to wrestle with problems that are preventing the successful execution of your plan. Rather than abandoning your plan early and take your losses so that you can move on other better opportunities, the wiser course is persistence. Only proactive options demonstrate persistence in the face of obstacles and move you from failure to success.
The only way you can beat the odds is by persevering.
Frank Minirth, You Can
Persistence breaks resistance.
The only way to reach success in a life filled with challenges and roadblocks is to remain persistent and steadfast. “If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.”
Our greatest glory is not in ever failing, but in rising every time we fall.
Many people believe they have failed if they give up in the face of a challenge or difficulty. However, the worst failure is that of not trying. Anyone who has made a valiant attempt at a worthy goal and doesn’t succeed is not a failure. The venture may have failed but they have not. In fact, each obstacle or challenge is just another opportunity to learn and find out what it takes to succeed next time. “Every obstacle presents an opportunity…if you're looking for it.” “Identify what's holding you back from being great, then find a way to release yourself from its grasp.”
There are some times that are better for taking a risk than others. The best time to take a risk is when you have momentum and you are hungry to succeed. Make sure that even if you fail and you lose all that you have invested, you still have options.
There are some logical things you can do to handle risks. You can list all possible obstacles that have the potential to keep you from your objective. Then, mentally begin to visualize them disappearing. It doesn’t matter how you make them disappear but just make it objectively reasonable. Somehow, the unseen forces of the universe just might cooperate with us.
The worst of the risk can be bought off. All diversifiable risks can be sold off to those who are willing to deal with it for a price. Insurance is a good example how risk can be sold to a third party, for a small premium, if that other entity can combine it with others who have the same risks. These middlemen will collectively bundle the diversifiable risks from many similar ventures, situations, and projects so as to spread the risk. By spreading the common risks, the total risk of many ventures is relative fixed, and the average risk is spread out cross all the policyholders. The average risk is always less than each of the individual risks. While the probability of the risk is the same, at least if the risk occurred, its worst impact would be the deductible cost and not the total cost as would have been without the insurance.
If the rewards from the opportunity exceeds the risk premium, then you’re opportunity is ready to be pursued. Adding more opportunities only adds more rewards as the risks are already paid for as part of the cost.
Sometimes it may be less costly to assume your own risk if you can reduce it just by good business practices and judicious investment into extra preventative steps to eliminate it. Since most risks come from what might happen, not what has happened, it is possible to pay to clarify the uncertainty.
Similar to the middlemen who underwrite the risks of many to reduce it for each, you can do the same with your own unique risks. Unique risks are those risks that cannot be sold to others, because there aren’t enough other ventures like yours who have similar risks. Only common risks can be bundled and diversified.
The probabilistic cost of the risk is counted into the cost of the project. A good opportunity will have sufficient rewards that it can absorb the cost of self-insurance.
All projects must assume that not everything will go smoothly in the execution of the plan. There will be some missteps, some mistakes, and some acts of God that were not planned. Not project will ever have all its assumptions fall in line as predicted. Thus, it is important to assume that not all the costs of the project will be known at the beginning and a good cost projection will account for some hidden costs…the cost of the unknown.
Since people are fallible, they are destined to make mistakes. To avoid the fear of making mistakes and hence the fear of taking chances, one must develop a healthy attitude towards mistakes. Mistakes should not be considered as something to be feared and avoided but to be embraced and overcome.
“Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.
Mistakes are excellent teachers; they show us what we need to learn. From mistake to mistake, one discovers the entire truth (Freud). “I have learned more from my mistakes than from my successes. To gain success faster, make as many necessary mistakes as you can as quickly as you can. But don't make any unnecessary mistakes.” Make the number of mistakes necessary to reach your goal and no more. Give yourself permission to make mistakes if it leads to success.
When you make a mistake, just admit it, correct it, and move on.
David Burns, Feeling Good
The most important response to known risks is insight as to what can go wrong and then taking reasonable precautions. If we don’t know our risks, then we won’t do anything proactive to prevent them. Ignorance doesn’t pay in the realm of risk management. “The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge.”
As long as you have control over the things that matter most, success is assured. There are only a few critical things that really matter the success of any venture. If you control those few critical success factors, any risks that manifest during the life of the venture will not be fatal. Only 20% of what is done to achieve any results must be managed carefully because they account for 80% of the outcome. The other 80% is just the dull routine work that must be done regardless of the exact nature of the venture. The 80% of everything that must be done in venture are non-critical tasks. These tasks are both well understood, so there are fewer things that can go wrong, and even if not done properly, can be corrected with only minor impact on the venture.
By focusing on the critical few, you can concentrate your risk management resources to ensuring that there is both less chance that something could go wrong and also to minimize the consequences it does go wrong.
 Ruth Benedice
 Jean Marie Stine, Double Your Brain Power
 Jean Marie Stine, Double Your Brain Power
 Andrew Bernstein, The Myth of Stress
 William Shakespeare
 John-Roger & Peter McWilliams, Do It: Let’s Get Off Our Buts
 Alex & Brett Harris, Do Hard Things
 Janaro & Altshuler
 Nick Vujicic, Life Without Limits
 Brian Tracy, Maximum Achievement
 Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich
 Mark Twain
 Steven K. Scott, Simple Steps to Impossible Dreams
 John-Roger & Peter McWilliams, Do It
 Jake Steinfeld, Power Living by Jake
 Denis Waitley, the Psychology of Success
 Dr. Frank Minirth, You Can
 Brian Tracy, Maximum Achievement
 Lillian Smith
 Gary Marcus, Kluge
 Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich
 Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich
 Denis Waitley
 Bill Gates
 Howard Schultz
 Robert Schuller
 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
 Jim Tressell, The Winner's Manual
 Tim Story
 Jake Steinfeld, Power Living by Jake
 Theodore Laurence, Miracle Dynamics
 John-Roger & Peter McWilliams, Do It: Let’s Get Off Our Buts
 Daniel J. Boorstein
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