The Possibility of Benefit


Building on yesterday’s blog post regarding risk, if we are to grow and reach our full potential, it is absolutely necessary to take risks. By its very nature, risk implies the possibility of loss. But at the same time, there is also the possibility of benefit or gain. Whether a risk feels frightening or exhilarating depends, almost entirely, on whether you are paying attention to the loss or the gain.

How good are you at focusing your attention? This is an extremely valuable skill, and vital to the learning process. If you focus on the loss, you will be tense, fearful and uptight, and your performance will inevitably suffer. Maybe you will back down and decide it is just not worth it. If this is your course, you suffer a paralysis of will, and rationalize it by saying to yourself, “Well, I didn’t really want this after all. What I have is good enough for me.”

Now, it isn’t just individuals that get caught up in focusing on the possibility of loss. Teams do it. Departments do it. Entire organizations can be paralyzed by picturing a dire future because of their over-attention on the possibility of loss.

However, if you focus on the possible benefit and you picture yourself enjoying success and gain, you will feel excited, even exhilarated. And you know something? Fear and excitement feel pretty much the same to your body. It is how you interpret and label them that makes all the difference.

So, the next time there is something you really want, and a risk is attached (as there usually is), try controlling your mind. While you don’t want to ignore the loss altogether, focus instead on what you have to gain! We call this deliberate focusing “visualization,” and it is a powerful tool that will help you take the risks you need to take in order to grow and get what you want in life for yourself and your loved ones.