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9. Risk and Reward

The more you sacrifice to reach a goal—and the more you invest in it—the harder it becomes to change direction, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that you should alter your course. Recently I decided to clean the leaves out of the gutters on my house. I put up a big aluminum extension ladder that is a real pain to move. I was up there, 20 feet in the air, reaching to clean as far as I could without moving the ladder. And I looked down and thought, Is this worth a broken neck? Or should I just go down and move the ladder? I performed a similar mental exercise in the Canadian Rockies this spring. I had traveled there to give a talk to a group of safety experts and decided to do some exploring. But I had no gear with me. As I crept farther and farther up a twisty mountain road in a rental truck, it began to snow pretty hard. And I thought, I’ve seen some pretty good scenery already. What if this vehicle of unknown origin breaks down or gets stuck? Do I want to try walking out in my cotton clothes and city shoes in a blizzard just to see one more vista? I decided that it would be most embarrassing to become a statistic in one of my own stories. I call this thought exercise the "risk-reward loop." When facing a hazard, always ask: What is the reward I’m seeking? What is the most I’m willing to pay for it?

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  • This is a great article. Good examples. Most of these are already explained in "Bhagwat Gita".
  • WOW!! Good article! Very good ideas that I am going to put into practice!
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