Learning to Mitigate Risk by Playing Games

Regardless of the field, investment is the glue that keeps your business together. It can be time, money, or connections, but you need to invest something to get something back. This is where you encounter risk, and knowing how to deal with risk is essential if you want to grow, or even start, your business. Thankfully, you can learn to mitigate risk by playing games, which is why games exist, and learn how to deal with potential loss or gain.

What most people conflict when it comes to taking a risk are courage and stupidity. These two so often look very much alike that it is hard to distinguish when one begins and when the other ends. But, there is a significant difference.

Gameplay at home

Stupidity is just rushing into anything without any prior thinking or regard to your wellbeing. Courage is the ability to act when you know it is the opportune moment and that you have a good chance of winning.

Thankfully, the best way of learning this difference is quite pleasurable. By playing games we can make a good analogy between the opportunities in our life and business, and the goals inside the game.

The Art of Risk-Taking

Knowing where there is risk is mostly science and experience, but knowing when and how to take it is much more akin to art than to anything else. There is no clear moment and lines get blurred. You need to recognize the feeling that can only be described as ‘dangling chaos’ where you know that you have found your chance.

Those who master this ability, as well as know their own skill, will be able to take almost every opportunity that presents itself to them and avoid any endeavor that looks nice on paper but is a path to disaster.

In her book of the same name, neuroscientist Kayt Sukel explains the art of risk, a subtle difference between foolishness and courage. But, for young entrepreneurs and business people, this is hard to learn, at least in the beginning.

We need to compensate for our lack of experience by using the information we take from others, as well as analogs we can make in our own life.

Use Analogs

What is the first place that comes to your mind when you think about taking a risk?

For most people, it is a casino, while some may see that some similarities exist in sports and video games. As a matter of fact, all three are games we have created exactly to be faster analogs to business and work, a microcosm of our whole life.

A simple solution like an online casino can teach you how you feel about taking a little bit of risk with the idea of winning a little bit of money. Often, they will also teach you about taking a loss.

It is quite probable that modern online casinos are even better than old brick and mortar establishments because they have clearly defined rules that mix skill and chance. They are the other side of the coin from video games, as those usually have the odds in your favor, while in the casino you need to beat them.

Start Small

Similar to a business where few people start some venture as a billionaire, you need to start small. The point isn’t to make yourself dull to risk, loss, and winning, but to understand the different emotions that come with it.

Every risk you take needs to have the desired winning, and an acceptable loss. And, the more you play with your comfort zone the more you will have that line crystalize. Once it is there, taking the risk will not incur any stress on your part, it will be a calculated risk. Fear and greed will not cloud your judgment, thus you can do the best you can.

Accept Loss

It is very easy to accept that you are a winner. Winning is not only nice objectively, but also psychologically. Taking a loss is the opposite. Even for those who have experienced it many times, it is never a nice feeling.

The goal of your gaming, gambling, or playing exercise is not to remove any sensation from losing, but to learn how to accept that feeling and push forward with the same vigor as before.

Make Parallels

The final step is to use what you have learned from games and apply them to your business.

How do the rules work, what are your options, are there any jokers you can play in your work to reduce risks and losses and increase the reward. Also, what are the things that only you bring to the table and the tricks that can only be in your sleeve?

Not understanding your line of work would make the same results as not understanding the rules of a sport you want to play. If you don’t know the rules, you don’t know the game.

Act of Perpetual Reward

This may be a point of mastery but needs to be mentioned as the final goal of any venture, both in life and in business. Every card can win.

We are wired to believe that there is always an absolute winner and an absolute loser, missing all the people in the middle. By adjusting your expectations, joined with your skill in mitigating, and accepting risk, you can make all plausible solutions work in your favor.

Invest your time and money so that even if you don’t win the grand prize you will still have more in the end than what you began with. This profit doesn’t need to be anything more than just experience, but you need the ability to take value from everything.

With this skill, your life will be a constant journey to the top.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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