Decision-Making 101: Evaluating Risk vs. Reward

Decision-Making 101: Evaluating Risk vs. Reward

“You’ve got a lot of choices. If getting out of bed in the morning is a chore and you’re not smiling on a regular basis, try another choice.”  ~Steven D. Woodhull

As human beings, we are almost universally less than stellar at evaluating risk and reward.

Are you ever willing to bet $10 on a roulette wheel or the slot machine even though the odds are better than 50% that a loss will occur?

What about buying lottery tickets? Are those wise decisions according to logical assessments?

On the other hand, how willing are you to take social risks, like going up to an attractive member of the opposite sex and saying hello?

The risk is almost exactly zero, but the potential payoff is huge. Yet not many people will take this perceived risk even though this is a nearly perfect situation: very low risk and very high reward potential.

Are you assessing your life choices wisely? Our actions are largely determined by where we choose to focus our attention. If you emphasize the positive aspects of something and minimize the downside, you’re likely to take that action. If you have the opposite focus, you’re unlikely to do it.

So what’s the right way to make a decision?

Consider the Positives

Are you considering all the ways the risk could pay off? In the example above, you could make a new friendship.

You might get a new career out of it. You might meet your spouse or a new golfing buddy. Think about all the potential benefits of taking the risk you have in mind. Make a mental list.

Some people try to minimize the upside as an excuse not to move forward.

Be honest with yourself. Avoid giving in to anxiety and making light of the potential rewards. And remember, People who are guided by fear tend to have smaller, less satisfying lives.

Don’t Forget the Other Side

Are you maximizing or minimizing the downside of your decision? Are you focused on the fact that you might be embarrassed or rejected? Or do you tell yourself that it’s no big deal and that at the very least they’ll probably be flattered?

One approach will get you where you want to go. The other will likely keep you where you are–so, in a normal, relatively safe situation, try adjusting your perspective to the most positive possible outcomes.

Read carefully, friends: maximizing the imagined risk is a sure way to stay stuck.

Minimizing the risk will make it much easier to move forward. If you’re 100 percent honest with yourself, you’ll see that you probably have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Letting Go of Ego

What if you were completely free of any concern for what anyone thought about you?

Really consider this for a moment. What would you do that you don’t do now? How would your life change? Imagine the freedom you would have to move through the world according to your deepest needs and desires.

If you can learn to laugh at yourself and not take these types of things too seriously, you’ll be much better off.

You can either laugh now and smile when you get older, or you can kick yourself when you get older because you squandered so many opportunities. Be brave, be true to yourself and go out there and take some (calculated) risks! You deserve to be happy, successful and fulfilled. Here’s just one more way you can get there.

So the next time you’re faced with a decision that involves your ego, think about the real risk involved rather than an imagined risk. The average person’s aversion to embarrassing himself is a huge handicap to reaping all the great things that life has to offer.

Do your best to accurately assess risk and then take the action that makes sense. This gets easier every time. Before you know it, your friends will say you’re the bravest person they know.

How do you handle decisions? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below!

Technology Overload: Take Back Control of Your Time

Technology Overload: Take Back Control of Your Time

SMS: Text Messaging Gets RedesignedTime is one of the most valuable commodities in our lives, and it’s one that shows no bias. Heck, even a famous billionaire only gets 24 hours in a day.

And, I don’t know about you, but even when I have the best of intentions and plans for using every minute of my time effectively, I find myself slipping into a very common trap.

My mind, it wanders.

Do I have a text message? I wonder if I have any new email. How many visitors have been to my website in the last hour? The list goes on–and I’m sure yours does too.

But as we all know too well, this amazing technology that connects us can also be our undoing, if we’re not careful.

How much time does this stuff take, really? So, you only spend 10 minutes a day on email? Get this: a mere 10 minutes of time each day, 5 days a week, is equivalent to a 40-hour workweek each year.

That’s right–an entire week. Can’t get your reports done on time? Now you know part of the reason why. Lost time adds up.

Don’t lose momentum. Pulling away from your regular work to check your email costs you more time than just what you use to pull up your email account and read.

You still have to get back on track when you’re finished with the email. You may lose your train of thought, lose your place in the memo you were reading, or misplace something.

Even worse, you may forget what you were doing in the first place. You know what happens next.You respond to that email or text and then you have to keep checking back to see what their response is–sometimes, it never ends.

So how do you make effective changes?

Remember that it can wait. Most people can get away with checking their personal email once a day. Me, I  have to check it a bit more often, but I try to do it at scheduled intervals.

Texting can be done the same way, if it works for you.

These types of distractions are seldom critical; if someone’s message does happen to be critical, they’ll find a way to get through to you. If you’ve got kids, be sure to let their sitter or school know how to reach you in an emergency.

Schedule it. As I mentioned, I set aside specific times each day to check on all of those little distractions. Maybe you’ll choose to only deal with email at the end of the workday or only text for 10 minutes before bed.
 
Whatever you’re perpetually curious about, set aside some time each day to address it that works for you. To maximize your efficiency, all you have to do is stick to the schedule.

Inform people. If everyone knows that you only look at email between 4:45pm and 5:00pm, they’ll call you if they need to communicate something really important. If it’s not really important, they might not send the email at all. This might even mean less work for you.

Additionally, you’ll find that people won’t bother you with text messages during the day if they know you’re not going to answer them anytime soon. With less stuff to distract you, you’ll be able to better focus on your work.

It’s not selfish–it’s self-preservation.

We all have little things we do to waste time. Some of those are curiosity-based and often the most challenging to ignore. Acknowledge the amount of time it costs you each year – time that you can never get back – time that could be more effectively utilized.

Most things can wait. Consider how often you really need to check these distractions and make a schedule for them. By informing the appropriate people of your plan, you can be sure they’ll adapt and nothing critical will be missed.

Take back control of your time. You can, and you’ll be so much happier if you do.

What are your best ideas for taking control of your time? Share them in the comments section, below.

Deal With Your Stuff, Invite Abundance into Your Life

Deal With Your Stuff, Invite Abundance into Your Life

“Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.”  ~Wayne Dyer

We all know someone who seems just have it better than we do. Whether we think someone has a better relationship, a nicer home or vehicle, better-behaved kids, a better job or a flatter stomach, some people seem to have more positivity in their lives than others, right?

They overflow with goodness and abundance, and whether you admire them or envy them, you want to know their secret, because you want your life to be “better” too.

Maybe you figure these lucky people who seem to have so much spiritually, physically and emotionally are just lucky.

Good things just happen to them–they’ve got some special connection or guardian angel or whatever.

But guess what, y’all? There’s no secret club here–by its very nature, abundance is, well, abundant. There’s plenty to go around.

That means that you can have what you want, too. And, even better, there are specific actions you can take to attract positivity and invite more prosperity into your own life.

Start by dealing with your “stuff.”

  1. Get your stuff in order. When you keep your stuff organized everyday living is easier and less stressful. There’s a place for everything and everything is in its place. This leaves room in your life for abundance.
  2. Throw out old stuff. If you don’t use it or love it anymore, get rid of it. Clear out clothing, appliances, gadgets and anything else you no longer need. Things that are old, broken, or unable to be cleaned up properly are just taking up space you could use for something that has more value to you.
  3. Give away some stuff. Whether you pass along magazines you’ve already looked at or clothing that no longer fits, spread some of the abundance you have already. When you give to others, your heart opens up and good things can more easily make their way into your life.
  4. Put your stuff away–a place for everything, and everything in its place. Provide each of your cherished items with a “home” within your home. When you take care of what you have, you’re acknowledging and showing respect for the abundance that’s already in your life.
  5. Use the stuff you have. Take advantage of the items you’ve collected over the years. You obviously see them as having value, so why not put them to good use? You’ll feel more positive about life and will get in touch with the abundance you already have when you make use of your stuff.
  6. Stop buying stuff you don’t need. Make a vow to avoid compulsively buying the next new gadget. If you always want the latest item on the market, look inside yourself and see what that’s all about. Also, remind yourself of all the “stuff” you’ve accumulated that you don’t use. After all, they were at one time the next new thing. Take some time to figure out how you feel whenever you want to buy another new item. Recognize that you’ll hamper your efforts to invite abundance into your life if you keep spending money frivolously on random stuff.
  7. Ask yourself what  “stuff” you really need in your life right now. Learn to distinguish between “wants” and “needs.” If you do, you’ll find it actually takes very little to live a good life with purpose and abundance. As you learn to determine when you actually need something, you’ll experience more confidence in your own abilities to usher in abundance.

Who knew that you could invite abundance in your life just by dealing with your “stuff?”

Bottom line: Whatever route you take to get there, the fact is that there’s no magic secret to happiness. Anyone can cultivate it.

As you begin to truly cherish your “stuff” and take care of your home, you’ll find yourself loving your world and your circumstances more than ever.

That means that your mind will be in tune with abundance and attract more of the same. You’ll begin living the abundant life of which you’ve always dreamed.

Affirmations & Reflections: The Best Version of Yourself

Affirmations & Reflections: The Best Version of Yourself

Women from the Mbini Self-Help Group showing o...Today, and every day, I am dedicated to self-development.

Each day, my life is filled with opportunity. I can choose to learn and grow in so many ways.

What motivates me most, however, are opportunities to live my highest vision of myself. Therefore, today and every day, I am dedicated to self-development.

My life is a path of endless growth. Because of this, I am forgiving of times when I may say or do something that I later wish I had done differently.

I seize every opportunity to make positive change in my life. Lucky for me, this includes each of my mistakes! So instead of seeing them as negative situations, I am thankful for them.

Each night before bed, I reflect on my day. In addition to assessing opportunities for change, I also give myself praise for the things I do well.

If I feel fatigued by the pressures of life, I remind myself of the many benefits I gain from my diligent pursuit of self-development. One of these benefits is inner peace instead of caving in under pressure. This contemplation always motivates me to renew my efforts, and I do so, invigorated.

Today, I am dedicated to self-development. I am thankful for every opportunity to re-create myself anew. And I recommit to growing toward my highest vision of myself, each and every day.

Self-Reflection Questions:

1. What are some of the self-development “projects” I have been working on lately?
2. Which projects challenge me most right now? Why? How can I overcome these challenges?
3. In what ways have I changed intentionally, for the better, over the past year or two?

seize every opportunity

Affirmations & Reflections: The Quest for Excellence

Affirmations & Reflections: The Quest for Excellence

My quest for excellence allows me to give my best.

I am the first to acknowledge the importance of aiming for excellence in everything I do.

I am naturally inclined to give my best in every situation, so excellence is always my goal.

When I am at work, exhaustion and frustration can set in easily. At these times, it would be understandable if I did less than optimum work. But instead, I choose to push through with my best efforts. That is when I achieve excellence.

I know that I can always give one more effort. Each time I push myself, I find myself reaching further ahead than before.

I am amazed by what I can do and how far I can go in my quest for excellence. I believe I have every ounce of drive and zeal within me required to reach my goal.

Today, I commit to living up to my potential by giving my best in any situation. I believe in whole-hearted efforts.

With excellence, the parameters of any goal can be met. So regardless of what needs to be accomplished, to me, excellence is the real goal and that is what I know I can achieve.

Self-Reflection Questions:

1. What rewards have I received from putting put forth my best efforts?
2. Have I ever chosen not to give my best effort? Why? What was the result?
3. How can a quest for excellence help me reach any goal?

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