One post on decisions, and lack of knowledge, avoid risk! Now one on taking it…!

Our guiding principle in this country is to avoid risk – there are masses of legislation to reduce, avoid and cater for any piddley little risk or unforeseen event that may or may not come to pass. And we, the majority, have to comply lest one poor and maybe thoughtless individual should fall into a hole clearly in front of him, drink milk that smells like drains or otherwise suffer some catastrophe that a moment’s thought might have avoided. The State is our brain, filled with so so many things to guard against. Most of which will not and never will concern us.

This assumes that we are happy that someone or something else does our thinking for us. Most of this seems to involve some sort of regulation and form (or forms) to be filled in. We are required (how I hate that – can’t someone simply say “can you please…?”) to give information. Have you noticed the main point of this exercise is the filling in of the form, the assumption of authority over some trivial act we may have committed or omitted? The form is king – what anyone does with the information contained seem somewhat secondary – except to the official with the form who can then prove that their job has been done.

Would Baby P and others like him be so at risk through Social Services failures if those people charged with looking out for him had more time to do and less time spent on administering? The cry went up “we follow procedures” but to what end? Not the procedure itself, but so it seems. And whilst I’m at it, nurses spend 30% of their time nursing – you can guess what the rest of their time is spent on. And please don’t stop at nurses.

Where does this take us with risk? Ever fallen in love? Bit of a risk, putting yourself out there – so vulnerable, so open? Ever get burned? Did you do it again? Why? No Health and Safety edict and set of forms for romance yet. If they did, forget falling in love, as in practical terms it would be impossible.

We know what is certain in life – death and taxes! Ignoring taxes – no we won’t – did you know that the taxes statues now run to 11000 pages having more than doubled over the last 14 years? More than any developed country. Mainly in the name of eliminating loopholes, and achieving fairness. Can you quote them? Me neither, although I do know that more legislation (the accountant’s friend!) leads to more loopholes. And – why are we blaming people who exploit loopholes, when perhaps our ire is better directed at those who draft and pass such laws.

On to death then. Do we want to eliminate risk? Or we do we want our journey through life to be worth the price we pay for it? Do we want to be in the position where we are empowered to do the most we can with what we’ve got? If we do, then we need to be aware of risk and dangers, and enough information to be able to make an informed decision. But essentially, we want it to be OUR decision, don’t we?

There was a subversive but wonderful advert with an elderly couple; one says to the other: “Do you remember the time we almost went to Turkey?” Just go!

Risk aversion is fine. Measured, considered and then accepted as the price we are willing to pay for a life well lived. Which is also true of how you run your business life and I think, doesn’t contradict my earlier Ignore negative advice – I think..