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Fear, greed and risk

Improving Systems and Habits

Scott Miker is the author of several books that describe how to use systems and habits to improve.  This free blog provides articles that to help understand the principles related to building systems.  

Fear, greed and risk

Scott Miker

Life is all about risk.  Every day we take risks.  Some risks are obvious and some are subtle. 

Every time we walk down the street we risk getting hit by a car or falling and twisting an ankle.  When we drive in our cars we are risking an accident. 

Risks are part of life.  We have to be aware of them but we can’t let risk alone dictate the course of our lives.  We have to find a way to manage it.

Years ago I wrote a book called You Can’t Surf from the Shore.  In it, I discuss a goal that I felt strongly about.  But it involved risk. 

I thought the risk was holding me back.  But it wasn’t the risk.  It was the risk combined with fear. 

The fear is what caused me to act irrationally.  Fear can mislead us about the true potential for harm or success.  We have to be able to manage fear in order to make good decisions and continue moving in the direction we choose, rather than simply trying to avoid feeling fear. 

The flip side of fear is greed.  If we feel greed, we often minimize the true risks because we are pulled towards the rewards of reaching the goal. 

Both fear and greed can be devastating to a long-term approach to success.  If fear and greed are constantly pulling us, we don’t make the slow consistent progress that is necessary to grow and learn along the way.  Instead we bounce between fearing the risks, and therefore avoiding the path forward, and wanting the rewards so much that we minimize the true inherent risk.   

We have to learn how we respond to both fear and greed and manage our emotions enough to truly evaluate the risks we take in life.  But if we can manage our emotions, we can start to build the life we desire. 

Then we can identify when fear or greed appears and start to influence us.  We can take steps to pause and address the emotion before determining how to respond to the risk.  This will allow us to keep moving forward towards our goals and not let those emotions push away from our dream.