I remember a few years ago, when I was getting ready to leave a six-figure paying job to build my own startup, a friend of mine had asked, “Why take the risk? Why not settle instead?”
I don’t remember exactly what I’ve told him, but having thought about the question the last few years, I’ve come up with a new answer.
Most things in life are risks. These include the friends you make, the relationships you choose, the school you attend and even the majors that you decide on.
These are risks because there’s no way of knowing how our friends will turn out when we become friends with them, how our relationships will progress, if we’ll learn anything in school or if we’ll ever find a job using the major we’ve gotten our diploma for.
As the years go by, some of us will lose the friends we’ve once had, some of us will suffer through breakups in relationships, some of us will have dropped out of school and some of us will have found jobs completely unrelated to our majors.
We’ve all invested our time towards friends, relationships and education; these are unreservedly risks that we take without knowing how it’ll turn out. Not taking these risks is the same as saying that we should never make friends, be in relationships or educate ourselves.
We take risks every day, whether we realize it or not.
The greatest risk many of us have taken but don’t realize is our college education. We pay thousands of dollars in tuition for a chance to obtain a degree that’ll hopefully assist us in finding a better career. The keyword is ‘hopefully’; finding a career is anything but guaranteed. A degree should help, but it’s still a risk at the end of the day.
Despite still knowing that nothing is guaranteed and that it’s a risk, we still enroll ourselves, take that risk, take out a loan that might take some of us over a quarter of our lifetime to pay back, all for the sake of having better opportunities in the future.
In that case, how are business risks then any different? Leaving a six-figure job to build my startup is a risk I’m willing to take, all for the sake of having better opportunities in the future.
Some risks feel riskier to some people than others. It’s just a matter of perspective.
A librarian who’s never dealt with anything computer-related asked to suddenly build a tech company that revolves around aggregating data will undoubtedly find the task harder, riskier than a programmer who’s done it before.
Any time someone experiences something outside of their comfort zone, they’ll see it as a risk not worth taking because it’s something they have no background in, no knowledge about. Give it to someone with experience and the ambition however, you’ll find that to them, while they still consider it a risk, it’s a risk worth taking.
It depends on the person. We’ve all taken risks before; most of us just never really take the time to realize it. To some, a risk will always feel like a risk; to others, it’ll be the opportunity towards a better future.
“Sometimes life is about risking everything for a dream no one can see but you.” — Anonymous