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Choices: 4 tips to reduce your risk and improve your outcomes


How can we know when our choices are a justified risk versus just rolling the dice? We should never just choose to do something because we fear we might regret it later. At the same time, we have to find a way to overcome our natural fears about making risky choices.

Anyone who advances themselves whether moving up the career ladder as an employee or in their own business has to take risk. Anyone who succeeds in raising a family or stays married for a long time has to take risk. Successful people generally make the right choices over 80% of the time. So, yes, you are going to strike out sometimes in order to achieve anything meaningful. But, you need to learn how to take risk that turn out in your favor most of the time. How you make choices when faced with an uncertain outcome is the primary focus of my book research.

Let me offer four tips that can reduce the risk of the choices you make and improve your batting average:

1. Gather the maximum amount of information possible before you make any choices.

That includes ALL the facts that are available (not just the facts you liked the best), observations, readings on the subject, opinions of experts and respected colleagues and more. You reduce the risk substantially by knowing everything you can about the various choices you have.

From my experience, many bad choices could have been avoided had someone actually done their homework instead of rushing in on a whim. You need to be about 10 times more thorough in collecting information than you think will be necessary. Maximum thoroughness is the operative phrase for great choices.

2 All the information you gather gets fed into your subconscious mind where your choices can best be evaluated

That’s where 90% of your brain power resides. That’s where the greatest logical and analytical thinking occurs. You can’t figure it out your choices simply using your conscious thoughts which are quite limited. While you should do whatever you can with conscious thought, you need to allow this information to percolate in your subconscious for a while.

When you do this, you will get messages from inside yourself about which choices make more sense. Reflect on these messages carefully. Make sure they are coming from the right place and not from emotional feelings or desires. You may want something really bad. Be carefully that this desire is not influencing the conclusions your subconscious mind is delivering.

3. Pay very close attention to comparisons such as risk versus reward, advantages versus disadvantages, ease versus difficulty, etc.

Unless you have a list of the problems, weaknesses, cost and concerns of making a choice, you haven’t done your homework. Period. Successful choices are not just about thinking positively.

4. Really look yourself in the mirror and be honest about whether you have the skill, talent and knowledge to successfully handle these choices.

Maybe it will be a good choice for you after you have learned some new skills that are critical for the path you want to pursue. Maybe once you get those skills you will discover that the original choice isn’t so good and a much better one presents itself to you.

What I’ve learned is that going through these four steps allows the best choices to rise to the top and the rest to sink of their own weight.

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