On Calculated Risk |  <br/> <title>On Calculated Risk | The Preppy Scientist: On Calculated Risk

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Friday, September 8, 2017

On Calculated Risk

I'm going to apologize in advance if this post turns into rambling. I was so moved by the recent Delta flight story and I really wanted to write about it. 

So a little background: Delta Flight was the last flight scheduled to fly out of Puerto Rico to JFK just before the airport shut down due to strong winds from Hurrican Irma. The plane was full of passengers and the weather was deteriorating very quickly. The flight team decided to fly through the outer, calmer bands of the storm and successfully landed the plane back at JFK unharmed. 




This. Is. Incredible. 
Now, I know there is a lot of science and logic involved in flying a plane - but where other pilots decided to turn back or ground their flight; this flight team took a calculated risk and it paid off in a huge way. I feel we can and should apply this thought process to our lives. I'm not advocating for recklessness, but sometimes it's appropriate and necessary to take calculated risks in our lives. 

If you think about it, we do really risky things every day and give them little thought. A great example is driving. If you drive a car, you likely don't think about how risky it is to drive. Everytime you get behind the wheel, you are taking a huge risk - but there is typically no element of fear attached. Now compare this to public speaking or asking for a raise. While these scenarios aren't necessarily risky, many people experience a lot of fear just thinking about these things and probably do whatever they can to avoid them. 

It's so hard to separate fear from risk. Personally, I know I often experience fear of the unknown. If a situation doesn't have a guaranteed outcome - it gives me a lot of anxiety and I try to avoid similar situations in the future!

The problem is so many wonderful experiences and opportunities exist in the unknown. When you allow fear to take over, you end up closing the doors to so many experiences that will help you grow and become a better person. Sure, heartbreak and failure may be lingering in the unknown too - but it can strengthen us and make us better people. Taking a risk doesn't guarantee the desired outcome, but neither does playing it safe. It's important to be as prepared as possible, but at some point, you have to decide to just go for it. Embracing this process of risk taking with the potential of failure helps us overcome the fear holding us back from achieving our dreams. 

Risk forces us out of our comfort zones and can provide us with opportunities once thought impossible. Calculated risk is what brought us the Oprahs, Obamas, JK Rowlings and brave Delta pilots of the world. Calculated risk is what we need.
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