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Sep 9, 2022

The Risk of Big Change

By:Dylan Ratigan

There are two types of people in this world, those who like the song, Sweet Caroline and those who don’t. I guess there are also two other types of people, those who embrace risk and those who fear it. Let’s take a moment and discuss risk, what it means and the potential effect of risk-related outcomes.

We are, by nature, creatures of habit. We are also a species anchored by our survival instincts. That often brings about a reluctance toward any sort of risk and the greater the risk, the greater the reluctance. We’ve somehow managed to obfuscate the relationship between risk and opportunity to one focused more on risk and loss. Taking risk can lead to loss, therefore, if we avoid risk, we avoid loss. While that isn’t an entirely untrue syllogism, it’s also not a wholly accurate one either.

A more logically acceptable argument would be opportunity cannot exist independent of risk. Risk can bring about reward or loss. Therefore, if we want to create an opportunity, we must be willing to accept the potential of loss as well. It’s an unavoidable truth that opportunity and loss are mutually linked. The challenge rests in a willingness to accept that universal truth, the potential consequences it may bring, and a willingness to still engage with whatever risk rests between things as they currently stand and a future outcome.

Some will argue taking risk each and every time is the most mechanical approach. Attempting to pick and choose which risks are worth engaging will inevitably lead to biased decisions that negatively skew risk-taking results. Others will argue too much risk taking is what leads to people creating their own low orbit space crafts that crash shortly after takeoff, killing anyone on board. So, what is the right answer? Who knows.

The truth is the answer has always and will always remain elusive. If the formula for when to take risk were simple, risk would cease to exist. We can attempt to be as informed as possible before making choices. We can rely on gut instinct. We can flip a coin. Or we can simply say yes or no every time. The bigger takeaway however is the unavoidableness of risk and its greater rate of occurrence in a rapidly changing world.

If we want to perfect the art of risk taking, we first need to relinquish our habitual tendencies. We need to become more comfortable with being uncomfortable and/or uncertain. If we can accomplish that, then we can reach a place where any outcome is a more acceptable outcome to never having taken risk to begin with.

Special Projects writer Josh Fabian contributed to this article.

Options involve risk and are not suitable for all investors. Please read Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options before deciding to invest in options.

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