Why you should take risks

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You should always try to take risks. And no, I don’t mean to say that you should take your savings and buy as many lottery tickets as possible. I mean that in everyday life, even in the most trivial decisions, you should take risks. You should take the unknown option, the one you have no idea what’s going to happen. You should go about your life taking apparently irrational decisions. You should try to break out from whichever routine you have, and try new things.

Just think about this. Kids aren’t afraid of failure even in the tiniest of situations such as trying to make a new sauce by mixing every unexpected substance they can find. Now think about at which age did you use to learn faster? Probably when you were a kid right?! And this is no coincidence. Our brains are information processing organs. We receive daily huge flows of data from our experiences. However as Shannon¬†tells us, repeated data brings actually no information. If you hear the same news over and over again, do you think you are being informed? Probably not.

So what happens when we start taking riskier decisions? We effectively increase the throughput of information to out brains, and so can learn much more faster. This is a very important reason why kids learn faster. And this is why making a habit of taking the more unconventional decision will keep your brain in good shape.

And taking risky decisions not only helps us learn faster by acquiring more information. It is said that what you don’t use, you lose. If we live the same experiences over and over again, those parts of our body which helps us cope with new things will die out. While it is possible to live like a machine, much of life has to do with improvising, with learning, with living the unknown and letting ourselves adapt to new situations. So if you want to feel more alive, you should probably start taking my advice!

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Of course there is a limit after which taking the riskier decision is a bad strategy. “And the Lord said: let there be entrepreneurs”. Entrepreneurs live at the boundary where taking always the riskier decision stops being the right choice. For example betting all your savings on a building a new company. If the company’s failure will devastate your life enough so that you will never be able to climb back to where you were, than probably you should not start the venture. This is why being an entrepreneur is the art of measuring your failure thresholds and managing risks. Of knowing exactly how far you can go.

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However for most people, ¬†fear makes these boundaries appear to be much closer than what they really are. So if you haven’t failed recently, you should both start trying new things, and also increase your risk thresholds.