You don’t concentrate on risks. You concentrate on results. No risk is too great to prevent the necessary job from getting done. – Chuck Yeager
What does that mean?
This quote is from one of the greatest test pilots ever. For those who don’t know, the job of a test pilot is to take a new airplane up and try to keep it in the air. It’s a very risky proposition on the best of days, and Chuck had some rough days. This quote isn’t theory, it’s a hard won lesson from his life.
People tend to get what they focus on. In some scenarios, it’s called target fixation; look at the tree, hit the tree. That’s an example of concentrating on the risk. The quote urges us not to ignore the risks, but to manage them as necessary. Focus on the result you want, and work your way towards that end, and get the job done.
Why is recognizing, mitigating, and then taking risks important?
I hope you understand that the quote isn’t saying be reckless. If you don’t know and manage the risk, you will never accomplish the job, which is the whole point of the quote. However, life is full of risks, and risks must be taken to accomplish anything. If you focus on the risks, even crossing the street can be an intimidating thing to do.
Sometimes we dismiss them as so unlikely as to be irrelevant. Other times we simply ignore the risks. To manage risk, we must first recognize and acknowledge the risk. Then we must try to find ways to minimize the chance of the risk happening. Once we have managed the risks as best we can, then we can focus on getting the job done.
Where can I apply this in my life?
If you ask someone out, you risk rejection. If you drive a car, you risk a crash. If you read a book, you risk a fresh idea. If you play a sport, you risk an injury. If you go on the internet, you risk your computer getting infected with a virus. If you spend all day in bed, you risk bedsores. I could go on, but I think you have the point.
So, we can admit that there is risk in everything. There’s probably a phobia for people who focus on all of those risks, and are completely paralyzed with fear. For the rest of us, risk is a constant companion, however difficult it may be for us to see.
Once we have recognised that there are risks associated with the job we want to do, we can start to mitigate them as best we can. What you should do will depend on your tolerance of risk, as well as the specific activity. But we will still want to do something about the risks.
For a test pilot, managing all the risks is a necessary team effort. Neither the pilot, the ground crew, nor the manufacturer of the plane wants to have a street named after the pilot (an honor reserved for test pilots killed while testing). For the rest of us, most of our activities aren’t quite so risky.
However, we still need to take risks to get things done. Some people take risks for the adrenalin that comes with the activity (parachuting out of a plane that isn’t on fire comes to mind). Others do it for the physical challenge involved (rock and cliff climbing come to mind). However, the parachutist spent some time carefully packing their chute (and reserve chute). The climber spent time planning the climb and checking their gear.
Once you have identified the risks and mitigated them, it’s time to put them out of your mind. It’s time to stop concentrating on the risks. It is time to concentrate on getting the results, and getting the job done. Are you ready? Then grab some paper and let’s get going!
What risky things are you considering doing? Write down a few things that you’ve been putting off as ‘too risky’ and leave some room next to each one. What are the specific risks and likelihood of each? What can you do to minimize the chance or the consequence of these risks?
Take a moment and consider each of your listed activities. Now write down next to each risky activity just how good it will be when you get the job done. What will it feel like to free fall from 13,000 feet or to stand on top of El Capitan? I hope you made it sound exciting!
With the risks mitigated as best you can, look at the list of activities and consider which ones you are now comfortable enough with that you can move forward. Put a star next to them (or high-light or circle or…) and get ready to get started. If it will take several steps, break it down into the big steps, and then detail out the first step, and then get started. It’s time to get the job done!
For any of the activities which have not yet reached your comfort level, take a moment and determine what else you would need to do in order to get to that point and write them down. Now that you know what it is, start to work on making it happen. Do you need more information or perhaps the comfort of someone who has successfully done it? Get busy, because it’s time to get the job done!
From: Twitter, @OscarJewels
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/chuckyeage181492.html
Photo by jurvetson
Happy Birthday to Major General Chuck Yeager, born 13 February, 1923.