How Introverts Can Become Superior Risk Takers

Each day, we make decisions that have some degree of risk attached to them. Easier decisions require little thought or contemplation, and the risks are low.

However, decisions that have a greater impact, and may potentially have long-term effects, should be dealt with carefully and systematically, because the risks are high.

The objective is not to retreat or become fearful about the risks in life where critical decisions have to be made.

With any risk-taking, there is bound to be some concerns.

Sicinski (n.d.) noted that, “Risk-taking can expose you to potential loss, failure, embarrassment, rejection, criticism, and the possibility of getting hurt. All of these outcomes can seem rather painful and disheartening….” (para. 3).

Risk-taking is a part of life.

Grant (2019) suggested that, “Everything we do has failure attached to it. All successful people have stories of massive failure attached to them. Thinking that your risk is going to be pain free and run as smooth as silk is insane. Expect some pain and failure. Actually, expect a lot of it. Expect the sleepless nights with crazy thoughts of insecurity that leave you trembling under the covers. It’s going to happen, no matter how positive you are about the risk you are about to take….” (para. 5).

All opportunities are not worth risking.

Reynolds (2019) posited that, “Although you feel frustrated, resentful, or bored, you shouldn’t take a risk just because you don’t like what you have now. You need to be clear on what you want instead so you know the risk will move you forward….” (para.5).

Although risk-taking carries a large degree of uncertainty, there are ways of mitigating the risk-taking process for optimal results.

Contrary to random risk-taking, calculated risk-taking lends itself to greater caution.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a Calculated Risk as, “An undertaking or the actual or possible product of an undertaking whose chance of failure has been previously estimated.”

Although a calculated risk still has a degree of uncertainty attached to it, with the right decision-making process, you can influence the chances for success.

Effective critical thinking helps risk-taking

There is a myriad of critical thinking methods introverts can use to evaluate a risk.

Brown (2016) developed the IBAR Critical Thinking Method (IBAR) as a simple, fast, and concise way of alleviating the fear of risk-taking by using evidence-based decision making.

IBAR is an acronym for Issue, Benchmarks, Analysis/Application, and Recommendations.

How Introverts Can Become Superior

Issue (Problem Diagnostics): The issue or opportunity begins the process. Even opportunities that don’t present an immediate downside may have problems that need to be identified. The Issue segment of IBAR answers the What, When, Why, Where, and How of the opportunity.

By diagnosing the issue correctly, you begin asking the right questions for developing solutions that lead to effective decision-making.

You want to know what is the issue, so that you can isolate its impact on the perceived opportunity.

By understanding the core of the issue or opportunity, you can determine a timeline that allows you to ascertain what happened in that space of time that might have created the issue or opportunity.

Determining why an issue exists may require as many possibilities as there are solutions. Therefore, include what can be drawn by facts, as well as what assumptions might need to be made.

Finally, how the issue occurred may or may not be immediately known. But, by combining all the possible angles to an issue (What, When, Why, Where, and How), you have done a thorough diagnostic on the totality of the issue, which gives you direction and insight into what is to be considered.

It’s acceptable to have repetition in diagnosing a problem to ensure all the possibilities have been exhausted. Otherwise, you will miss something in your diagnosis that can impact your benchmarking and analysis.

Benchmarks: Benchmarking is a method of comparing your business, ideas, and models against industry standards, leaders, or best practices. Essentially, when an issue arises, you are able to gauge the options available for resolution.

With the advent of the internet, benchmarking is easily accessible once you understand the basic research methodologies that are afforded for generating best practices.

Available data on search engines allow you to vet what has been done in previous, similar situations.

Once you have isolated possible solutions to your problem, you can begin analyzing and developing applications.

Dr. William Duggan in his book, “The Art of What Works…,” suggested that by reviewing what has worked successfully in the past, with some modification, it will work again. Good examples are remakes of successful songs, movies and fashion.

If they were hits in the past, they likely will be hits again. By developing case studies of best practices, precedents, and standards that succeeded, you are as William Shakespeare attributed to his own success, “Making new words out of old words.”

In this vein, risk-taking isn’t wishful thinking. Intuition comes from past experiences that have been modified for current needs and usage.

Adopt an autodidactic mindset and it will become easier to connect seemingly disconnected ideas and concepts together.

For example, if you determine that your issue is starting a new business, then you would benchmark small businesses within your industry who are currently succeeding based on sales.

How would you choose your benchmarks?

How would you choose your benchmarks?

You might put in the search engine “Most successful small companies in the current year.” When you do a Google search of this inquiry, an article titled, “The 23 Most Profitable Businesses in 2020” emerges. This article provides a breakdown of the most successful small businesses based on profits.

If you are measuring success by other metrics, these considerations should be included within your search query.

By researching how these companies succeed, you can discover how to use these benchmarks to make your company successful.

The most important aspect of calculated risk-taking is the ability to use facts and information to evaluate the issue, as well as understand the pros and cons of an opportunity.

Analysis/Application: The ability to decipher, filter, and connect disparate information comprehensively is essential for critical thinking and risk-taking.  Any solution-based analysis has to be grounded in practical applications.

After you have determined the relevancy in the best practices you have benchmarked, you have to ensure that the benchmarks fit within your operations.

The ability to compare and contrast as well as weigh the benefits and liabilities are deliberated here to determine your recommendations.

Analyses ask two questions: How does a benchmark work? And why does it work?

In this analysis, you want to explore the benefits and liabilities for benchmark usage.

Knowing how a benchmark works helps you see a better way of addressing the issue.

It is a way of not only solving your problem, but effectively using a proven formula for professional success.

In conjunction, knowing why it works help illuminate its effect on your decisions. Many people look at an industry leader’s standing and attempt to duplicate it without analyzing how and why it works, as well as will it work in your situation.

Do not rush to judgment without thoroughly vetting the benefits and liabilities. There is always a downside to every upside, so be vigilant in your analysis.

Economist Dr. Thomas Sowell suggests that in life there are no perfect solutions merely trade-offs.

If you are looking to invest in a food truck, are the best practices of food truck success aligned with your business plan?

You can still use successful food truck benchmarks, but you may have to modify the results to fit your business model and offerings.

Recommendations: Contrary to legal analysis, which calls for a conclusion, the IBAR critical thinking analysis calls for recommendations.  Because of the mutability and flux of decision-making, recommendations allow for innovation and creativity based on the current landscape.

The overarching value of critical thinking is the flexibility and agility of trained minds looking at issues and understanding the process for developing viable solutions based on practical research.

Providing recommendations allow you to change and modify your solutions as the situation requires. You may rank by priority.

You may also engage in small experiments that allow you to determine which solutions are most effective for turning around a problem or addressing an issue.

However, if you have a compelling solution where the benefits outweigh the liabilities and it fits within your operations, go with that one.

The keys to successful implementation are to remain open-minded, flexible, and objective.

Let facts and systems lead you to better decision making, as well as effective risk-taking.

In the end, taking calculated risks in life is better than never taking any risks at all.

— John T. Lipscomb

Related: Why INTJs Make Remarkable Entrepreneurs (And How You Can Too)

References

Brown, E. (2016). The IBAR way of critical thinking & thought leadership. Atlanta, GA: Core Edge Image & Charisma Institute, Inc.

Grant, D. (2019, Dec. 31). 6 ways to be a successful risk taker and take more chances. Lifehack. Retrieved from: www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/6-ways-successful-risk-taker-2.html.

Reynolds, M. (2019, Jan. 6). How to determine if a risk is worth taking. Psychology Today. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/wander-woman/201901/how-determine-if-risk-is-worth-taking.

Sicinski, A. (n.d.). How to take intelligent risks in the pursuit of your goals. IQ Matrix. Retrieved from: https://blog.iqmatrix.com/intelligent-risks.

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