Sep 6, 2013

in doubt..

One of the best things about my life, which I'm always grateful for, is having the chance to be in touch with the kind of people whom I aspire to be - people who are keen to share, people whom I can talk to and learn from. And I'm fortunate enough to (e-)meet one of the rare breeds.

Jordan Phoenix is the name.

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Hey there! I have one quick question for you, just want to hear your thought, being one of the wisest people I've ever talked to (I really do think so). 

How do you know if something is worth the risk? If I can rephrase, what kind of "assessment" that you usually conduct to make sure that the risk you take will be worth it? 

Thanks in advance :)

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Aw thanks Nadya :)

I think as a general rule of thumb, most people tend to be much more risk-averse than is rational. Even situations that are low risk, high reward often scare people away. 


The best way I like to assess risk is to think about: 

-What is the worst case scenario? How likely is it to happen? Is this something I can handle, and am I willing to face this possibility for the chance to gain the reward I'm seeking? 
-What is the best case scenario? How likely is it to happen? What unforeseen side effects will result from this, and how would I deal with them? Why is this so important to me? 
-What other opportunities, activities, etc. will I have to give up to fully commit to this? Is this worth it? 

I've found that even when things have not gone the way I expected, even when they've gone much worse than I expected, though it hurts for awhile, I was still able to live through it and come out the other side wiser. Humans have an unbelievable ability to bounce back and adapt to the new circumstances. This is why (on average) people who have a tragic accident have around the same level of happiness a year later, while people who win the lottery do too. Sometimes jumping before we feel ready builds the strength we need to succeed, while waiting until we feel ready leaves us perpetually feeling like we will never be ready. 


Looking back, I don't think I've ever regretted any of the risks I took, because I could never discover what is possible until I try them for myself. It's usually much more regrettable to not try something out of fear, and then always wonder about what might have been. 


Hope this was helpful! Do you have a specific situation you wanted to discuss? 


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Thanks for your long and comprehensive answer Jordan! Really appreciate it! 

Well, say that I used to trust my feelings, I based my judgement on my feelings toward something. If I feel good about it, then I'll do my very best to keep it or make it happens. 

(I'm a firm believer that everything is possible, so everything depends on me, I think, whether I really do want it to happen or not) 

At some point, I realized that feelings alone were not enough, maybe also because I've grown up, so I become more rational. I still use my feelings but I start to weigh the pros and cons. I make sure I have a solid reason whenever I do or decide something. 

I'm in that kind of situation now. There's something which I feel so good about and at the same time, I also have a list of reasons why. Sounds perfect, doesn't it? But then I found out that for such and such reasons, the timing just isn't right. 

Some part of me thinks that 'maybe I just need to wait'. Maybe there's something I need to develop within myself until I really deserve this thing. Maybe. 

But some other part of me, which I guess is trying to protect myself for being hurt (of not getting what I want) thinks that this stupid timing is merely a sign that it's not for me. I feel like this part of me is trying to tell me to leave it. 

I know that I should never give up on the thing that I really want, but I think I'm at that point when I tried many times before, and things didn't go as expected and they just disappoint me even more. I'm pretty much clueless now and trying to change my focus to other stuff, which of course, doesn't solve anything. 

Oh, well. 

Again, thanks Jordan. Thanks for listening (or reading, in this case).

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You're welcome :) I'm digesting your response right now 


Here's a quick story for you.


Back in 2008 & 2009, I started writing a book. Then I started questioning myself, and thinking no one would want to read it. So I never finished it. A year ago, I joined Quora, and started posting answers and blog articles.


Recently I found out you can check how many views there have been on your content. This is the graph.




I showed a prototype of my book to a really smart entrepreneur I looked up to who was making $30M a year, and he pretty much shot it down. That graph speaks for itself. Why did I listen to him instead of myself?


I can keep convincing myself that I'm not ready, or that it's not the right time, but really I know this is what I should be doing. Everything else can be moved around to make room for this.


Part of me is afraid to get my hopes up, because I know how much it hurts to fail. But I'm changing my expectations this time. I'm going to do it to the best of my ability, and release the book in mid 2014. No matter what happens, I will be happy for doing it, regardless of whether or not it achieves anything beyond being completed.


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I could feel the warmth in my heart right after reading Jordan's second message.

He made an excellent point that I should never lose hope. It reminds me of something that one of my friends said back in the day, 'as long as you have hope, you have everything!' So true.

Besides, as always, it is a lot better to die trying than wondering 'what if' for not doing things that we should be doing. I think I know what to do now.


Time to make a plan.
(to be continued..)

P.S. Thanks, Jordan. You're a gem!
I wish you the best with your book and all your endeavors.