When you think about risk, it’s easy to “only imagine the worst-case scenario and choose not to take the chance, writes psychotherapist Amy Morin in her book “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do.”
But letting that fear take control can keep you in your comfort zone and prevent you from reaching new levels of success, Morin says.
Mentally strong people are aware of this and “carefully calculate risk so they can move forward with confidence,” she says.
Here are five ways they approach risk:
1. They observe their emotions.
While it’s important to make sure your emotions don’t dictate the decision-making process, it’s equally as important to be aware of how your emotions can impact your choice.
When you’re excited about something, you’re more likely to overlook the danger, Morin says. But on the contrary, if you’re nervous, you’re more likely to overestimate the danger.
“Rather than ignore or suppress their emotions, mentally strong people monitor how they’re feeling and how those emotions could cloud their judgment,” she says.
2. They pay attention to other sources of anxiety.
“Anxiety can be contagious in more ways than one,” Morin says. “If you’re in a crowded theater and you smell smoke, you’re likely to react similarly to those around you. If they panic, you’re likely to head for the door. But if no one else seems alarmed, you’re less likely to move.”
The same can be said about taking a risk. Mentally strong people are aware that other people’s reactions are likely to have an influence on their choices, she says.
3. They examine the pros and cons.
When approaching a risk, it’s crucial to fully evaluate the situation. Whether you’re evaluating a deal or making a financial investment, be sure to do your research and “balance emotions with logic,” Morin says.
“Mentally strong people create that balance by weighing the pros and cons of taking the risk, as well as the pros and cons of not taking a risk,” she says.
4. They think about the big picture.
Any risk has short- and long-term benefits and consequences. Mentally strong people calculate the emotional and physical risks by staying focused on the big picture.
“Opting out of a public speaking opportunity, for example, may offer short-term relief from anxiety, but it may also prevent long-term advancement opportunities,” Morin says.
5. They take steps to reduce their risk.
The easy thing to do is expect immediate results. Sometimes, though, reducing risk may involve delaying a decision, she says.
Mentally strong people understand that not everything goes as planned and the long-term results are what matters. “Although they aren’t likely to move forward if they expect things to go poorly,” Morin says, “they do consider how they’ll respond in the event of failure.”
This article is published in collaboration with Business Insider. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.
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Author: Steven Benna writes for the strategy vertical at Business Insider.
Image: A Businesswoman is silhouetted as she makes her way under the Arche de la Defense, in the financial district west of Paris, November 20, 2012. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann.