I’m flamboyant. That’s who I am. That’s my style. There’s no two ways about it. I can’t be conservative or risk-averse. That’s not who i am.
And because being flamboyant is who I am, I necessarily take risk in everything I do. This means that occasionally the risks don’t pay off – if they pay off all the time they’re not a risk.
In the past I’ve taken the wrong kind of lessons from risks not paying off. That I should not have taken those risks. That I should have taken more calculated risks. That I should have hedged better.
Irrespective of how calculated your risks are, they will not pay off some of the time. The calculation is basically to put a better handle on this probability, and the impact of the risk not paying off. Hedging achieves the same thing.
For example, my motorcycle trip to Rajasthan in 2012 was a calculated risk, hedged by full body riding gear. I had a pretty bad accident – the motorcycle was travelling at 85 kmph when I hit a cow and got thrown off the bike, but the gear meant I escaped with just a hairline fracture in my last metacarpal – I rode on and finished the trip.
Back to real life – what happened was that between approx 2006-09 a number of risks didn’t pay off. Nowadays I like to think of it as a coincidence. Or maybe it was a “hot hand” of the wrong kind – after the initial set of failed risks, I became less confident and less calculating about my risks, and more of them did not pay off.
This is my view now, of course, looking back. Back then I thought I was finished. I started beating myself for every single (what turned out to be, in hindsight) bad decision. And that made me take worse decisions.
A year of medication (2012), which included the aforementioned motorcycle trip, a new career and a lot of time off, helped me get rid of some of these logical fallacies. I started accepting that risks sometimes don’t pay off. And the solution to that is NOT to take less risk.
However, that thought (that every single risk thay didn’t pay off was a bad decision on my past) has been permanently seeded in my brain – whether I like it or not (I don’t like it). And so whenever something goes bad – basically a risk I consciously took not paying off – I instinctively look for a bad decision that I personally made to lay the blame on. And that, putting it simply, never makes me happy. And this is something I need to overcome.
As I said at the beginning of the post, cutting risk simply isn’t my style. And as I internalise that this is how I inherently am, I need to accept that some of my decisions will inherently turn out to have bad outcomes. And in a way, that is part of my strategy.
This blogpost is essentially a note to myself – to document this realisation on my risk profile and to make sure that I have something to refer to the next time a risky decision I take doesn’t pay off (well that happens every single day – this is for the big ones).
The next time I shoot off my mouth without thinking it’s part of my strategy.
The next time I resist the urge to contain myself and blurt out what I’m thinking it’s part of my strategy.
The next time I unwittingly harm myself because of a bad decision I make it’s just part of my strategy.
To close – there was a time when Inzamam-ul-Haq took someone’s advice and lost weight and found that he just couldn’t bat. In a weird way his belly was positively correlated with his batting. Similarly the odd bad decision I take is positively correlated with how I operate naturally.
And I need to learn to live with it.