What is the difference between the human species and animals? A conscious. Having a conscious allows us to realize and recognize our feelings and past experiences and apply them to our decision making process. In my last post I wrote about the power of being able to make decisions and the trajectory that it can set for your life. Generally decisions are create by rationalizing our thoughts and coming to a conclusion on how to proceed. Being able to rationalize is a powerful tool and it is why we are able to see both side of the coin before we flip it. Remember that success is driven by good decisions, good decisions are driven by experience, and experience is driven by bad decisions. But there is still the other side of the decision making process that we did not previously discuss: consequences and mistakes.
I was once told to run your life the way you would run a business. In business we are constantly analyzing the market, interpreting data, and our taking action in an effort to generate profits that will not just give us opportunity to live better lives, but to create jobs for our employees and provide a service for the community. Decision making is a key part of the process. In fact it was a decision of the entrepreneur to leave the job that he or she was comfortable with, and take the risk to go work for themselves. A decision that came with some risk but an unlimited upside. In business, we are weighing the good and the bad between ideas. You may have a great plan in place that can generate some significant profits for you and grow your company, but at the same time there is a risk involved. That risk can be the loss of money, time, or resources. But what happens when the risk you decide to take is one that is unlawful and can get you in heaps of trouble? Let’s break down that risk/benefit ratio so we can analyze the two possible decisions:
Johnny has a business idea that involves committing an illegal act, however it can save him $10,000 in annual cost. That would be an instant $10k added to his company’s bottom line (net profits). This monetary gain would be considered the upside, however he has to break the law just once in order to obtain this.
However the risk of acting on this means that he might get caught and prosecuted which could mean losing his business, being fined, and receiving a felony conviction. But it is not just that. He may end up losing his liberty for sometime by going to prison, his wife may leave him, and he would be shun upon for the rest of his life by his community. This is the risk which we would consider the downside.
If we are to analyze the risk versus ratio reward, you can see that the risk is almost unlimited while the reward is capped at just $10,000. Is it really worth it to risk losing everything you have worked for, your family, and your liberty for a small pay day? I think most of us would respond with a resounding no. This is the exact process that you should use when you are analyzing the risk that you take in your daily life or an “opportunity” that someone may present you with.
While we live in a society that is governed by the right to free will and the ability for us to chose our own actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of those actions. Those consequences occur naturally whether it be by mother nature, the government, or your family and friends, every action has a reaction that takes place. If you make good decisions, the rewards will be positive; if you make bad decisions, you will face negative consequences. That is why it is important for you to use your moral compass and good judgement if you want to improve your risk to reward ratio and stay out of harms way.
In the situation where you do make a bad decision or a mistake, its important to acknowledge that decision and what led to it. You cannot undo it and you cannot control the consequences that came as the result. But what you can do is admit it, correct it and learn from it immediately. This is how we succeed by failing.