October 11, 2023

You must embrace risk before you can see opportunity

As I’ve shared before, I see the most important founder behaviors as staying optimistic during long periods of uncertainty, constantly experimenting, and always pushing forward. For this piece, I’d like to switch gears and focus on the one thing I think founders most need to avoid: overanalyzing risk. 

The core of entrepreneurism is trying new things, discovering something that’s never been done before, and then developing a suitable solution for this niche. Before experimenting with any new business approach, strategy, or product, doing the necessary risk analysis is critical. But if you overdo it and try to analyze every single possible risk, then no matter what kind of pitch or initiative you start and how small the risk, you will likely find a hundred reasons not to move forward, which will lead you to stall and be unable to get moving again. 

But what you need to know is that there is no great opportunity that doesn’t go hand in hand with risk. 

Looking at some of the best founders I know, it’s hard to grasp the risks they undertook when launching their ventures. They gave up competitive salaries, traded stability for the uncertainty of a startup, introduced new concepts before anyone saw their value, and sometimes even ventured into markets with language barriers. From a risk analysis perspective, none of the above were good decisions. But in hindsight, if those founders had not summoned the courage to embrace risk in the early days, there’s no way they would have found the opportunities and incredible success that they eventually did. 

This thinking applies to more than just founders, and I often share it with friends and young people I know. In actuality, the education we receive tends to increase our ability to dodge risk. As a result, many people go for the safe option over and over again. Although they might not feel the effects in the short term, the choice to avoid risk will gradually become a box that only gets harder to break out of, making the path we walk more and more narrow, and our options increasingly limited.

If you choose to embrace risk, even though you might have a 50% chance of failure, remember that there’s also a 50% chance of success. But if you take no action at all, the same logic applies – there’s indeed no risk, but your chances for success fall to zero. 

Be ready and be brave– the next opportunity might be on its way.

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