Playing Safe

Oct 5, 2008

I was talking to another student about my quitting school. Here’s what she said about why she’s still in school – “education is the safest insurance plan”.

I understand where she’s coming from. And I’ve heard that statement so many times, especially when people ask me about why I quit school. But I don’t agree. The question is, why play it safe? As Seth Godin has said, in today’s world, ‘safe is risky”.

The semi-finals of the World 10-Ball Championship between Niels Feijen and Darren Appleton was a great example. Feijen consistently went for safety shots. Even when he could make the offensive shot, he chose to go down the safe path. And eventually, he lost out.

If you play not to lose, you won’t win. You won’t make the right decisions, and ultimately, you won’t come up on top. As the book “Sway” by Ori and Rom Brafman points out, fear of loss is one of the main reasons behind bad decisions. Kathy Sierra has talked about “death by risk aversion” as well.

If you want to be the best, you have to take risks. And why settle for anything less than the best?

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