The successful person is one who had the chance and took it. Roger Babson
Chancing your arm is an old English phrase, which is not in vogue any more; it means taking a risk or a gamble. If we scrutinize the lives of the rich and the famous, without exception, every one of them had at many times chanced their arm and have come up triumphant. Very often the chance is a probability, with a real possibility of winning and a near equal probability of losing. It takes more than guts to chance your arm; it requires you to make an intelligent guess, be well prepared for the downside risk and being very clear about the upside potential and having the stomach to digest the win or loss.
To know what it feels like to take chances, play some of the card games like bluff or poker. As the game progresses, observe the expressions on the faces of he players and you will soon get a hang of who has a good hand and who is risk averse and who are the foolish daredevils. You will soon realize that the guy on the winning spree, did not just have the good fortune of getting a good hand, but was shrewd enough to chance his arm and dexterously outwit the others. In real life, the competition is stiffer, the stakes much higher and the payoff enormous.
You need a good acumen, a strong heart and an excellent temperament to be able to chance your arm in whatever you do. Look at a basketball player attempting a 3 pointer, or the goalkeeper defending a penalty kick in soccer or an athlete attempting to break the world record. They have tremendous self belief, exude full confidence and have prepared hard to reach their objective. An interesting sidelight to this is the quirks, oddities and superstitious rituals that very often accompany some of the heroics displayed.
Seeing the big picture is a pre requisite to taking chances. This in effect means to see the risk in the correct perspective; in terms of quantum of risk, probability of success and conditions for success, the rewards of success, the effort involved, the time and scale of the activity etc. This is particularly true when the stakes are very high. Investing in a new venture, changing a line of business, changing jobs, pursuing higher education etc. have to be viewed with an eye on the payoff. A good SWOT analysis done diligently and honestly, would be a good first step before you take chances.
Remember: Dream what you want to dream; go where you want to go; be what you want to be, because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.”
Play a few rounds of bluff and/ or poker to get a feel of your own ability to take chances. Notice how small the stakes you are playing for are and yet how anxious you are about the activity. Also ask yourself, if while playing the game, you are focusing on not losing, or on just you winning or on not letting the other person win.
Try to lay a few bets on your favorite team winning a game and the score line at the end of the game. Pay close attention to the parameters you paid close attention to when you laid your bets. Was the knowledge and strength o your opponent (the person who wagered against you) a very important consideration, when you laid the bet? Did you feel you had a good chance to win the bet when you wagered the bet? Did you get an uncomfortable feeling you would lose soon after you laid the bet?
Notice the difference between the first set of you playing the card games and the second set of activity where you only wagered but didn’t participate in the process that determined the outcome of your bet. Was there a difference? Did the first one make you feel more responsible and the second one make you feel it is all a matter of luck? Did you enjoy the first experience or the second one. Justify to yourself, why you got that feeling.
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