Risk Reduction and Success

In this newsletter, you learn how John Paul Getty became the richest man in the world by practicing a few basic principles of risk taking and reward throughout his life.

His key insight to Risk Reduction and Success and how we may apply it to any decision we have to make. You also learn a series of additional ideas that may help you to make better decisions and reduce the risks associated with your success.

Remember Murphy’s Law: “Whatever can go wrong will go wrong.” There are several secondary laws to Murphy’s Law, such as “Whatever can go wrong will go wrong at the worst possible time” and “Of all the things that can go wrong, the most expensive thing will go wrong at the worst possible time.”

Another sub-law is “Everything takes longer than your best calculation.” In advising business leaders, I suggest they take their very best estimate of break even for any business venture and then triple it to arrive at a more realistic number. Whenever business leaders follow this advice, they are amazed to find, in spite of their best initial calculations, it indeed takes about three times longer than they thought it would to start making money.

Another sub-law is “Everything costs more than you can possibly anticipate in advance.” In minimizing risk in any venture, always add a “fudge factor” to account for the degree of uncertainty. Whenever I do a business plan, I always add twenty percent to the total of all costs I can identify, to come up with the probable cost. Anything less than this, whether in business or our personal life, is likely to be an exercise in self-delusion and open you up for some unhappy surprises.

Once we have identified the worst possible things that could go wrong, make a list of everything we could do to offset these negative factors. Engage in what is called “crisis anticipation.” Look down the road, into the future, and imagine every possible crisis that could arise as the result of changing external circumstances.

Men and women who have achieved a high level of success are intensely realistic. They do not put their trust in luck. They carefully calculate every possible risk, and then think about what they would do should it occur. They always have a backup plan in case things do not go as they wish them to. They have a “Plan B” and options to that plan that take all kinds of variables into consideration.

One of the very best ways to develop our ability to take intelligent risks is to consciously and deliberately do the things we fear, one step at a time. A very good way to overcome the fear of risk taking is to set clear, written, measurable goals for ourselves, and then to review those goals regularly. When we have clear goals and plans, we should continually work on them and evaluate our progress each week, this way we will see what we are doing right and how we could improve our performance.

“Remember, Success is always Within Reach”

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