24th Jan, 2022
The Importance of Risk Taking
A lesson from history teaches us how people end up taking undue and the wrong kind of risk due to their habits;
Somnath temple was believed to have been built around the 4th century AD. In those days there were no banks, so people used to deposit their earnings/savings mostly in the form of gold coins or ornaments in the temples. Maybe in those days also there were thieves around but nobody dared to steal from the temple. So people felt that temples were the safest place to keep their savings and this practise lasted for almost 600 years.
In the 11th century, Mahmud of Ghazni first invaded and looted the Somnath temple. It was rebuilt and looted 17 times in a short period of 25 years.
Despite that, people used to repeatedly deposit their earnings/savings in the temple. Why? This was mainly because of cognitive bias.
It was hardcoded in the people’s mind that their earnings and savings were safe in temples. Because their forefathers did the same thing, they just followed what their forefathers did without considering the situation prevalent then or the danger and the risk they were taking!
Now, it was common sense that after being looted for the 1st, 2nd, or the 3rd time, people should have tried to find some alternative to safeguard their savings. But they still had faith in the temples. Of course, a few might have found some alternative, maybe digging a pit and burying their gold coins and ornaments.
But I think very few belonged to this category or else there was no point in Mahmud Ghazni looting the same temple 17 times in a short time span.
Most times, people find it very difficult to let go of a habit and repeatedly risk losing everything.
Remember that you are always taking risks. The key is understanding what risks you are taking and when you are taking them. Risk and the perception of risk are two different beasts.
You must understand the risk of avoiding the Non-Risk.
Are your habits leading you to take risks, which you feel are the safest bet, which may harm you in the long run?
Life is all about gaining new knowledge and taking greater risks. The greatest risk in life is not taking greater risks.
Peter Drucker said, “There are risks in life you cannot afford to take and there are risks in life you cannot afford not to take.”
Mohammed Ali said, “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life”. You will never reach your true potential living life in comfort and routine. You’ve got to take some risks.
Keep checking your habits, Take the risks you need to take and stay blessed forever.
(From my Book, ‘Dear Son…Life Lessons from a Father)