Dug up this "speech" I had done as a Toastmaster's assignment some time last year. I kinda like what I wrote, and my audience loved it too :) so thought I'd share it here....
This is the exact speech I had prepared...it had to be 3-4 minutes long, I think.
How many of you drive above the speed limit, and risk getting a speeding ticket?
How many of you invest in stocks, and risk losing some of your hard-earned money?
And how many of you try to stay clear of the stock market, NOT wanting to risk losing your hard-earned money?
Finally, has anyone guessed what the topic of my speech is?
Today, I will talk about RISK. It is something we do everyday, be it consciously or unconsciously.
What is risk? The dictionary says: It is the possibility of suffering harm or loss.
There are two key things to focus on in this definition. One is positive, one is negative.
Lets look at the negative first, since that is what first comes to mind when we hear risk.
Can anyone tell me what this negative aspect is?
It is the bit about suffering harm or loss! There are all kinds of risks, and we stand to suffer all kinds of losses. There can be loss of money, loss of work, if we get too adventurous, then loss of an arm or a leg! We are not afraid of just real, physical losses, some times we are simply afraid of failure, of disappointment, of losing face among our peers.
Now lets look at the positive aspect. This is the part that says that there is a "possiblity" of loss. I feel the dictionary definition of this word is incomplete.
It speaks of only one possibility. It does not talk about the other possibility...that of success! It does not talk about the glory we may achieve by taking the risk.
Now that we are done with the "complete" definition of the word, lets move on to recognizing
and analyzing risks. When do we take a risk, and when do we not.
Some times, the decision is very obvious. I am afraid of water, and I don't know how to swim. It is a life-saving skill, but I feel I might die just trying to learn how to swim. I see all of you smiling, of course, this is an easy decision, I should go take lessons. Minimum chance of loss, maximum chance of benefit.
Another example of an obvious decision is, I don't know swimming, should I go on that rafting trip with my friends? Again, very obvious answer, of course not! This is the case of maximum chance of loss and minimum chance of benefit.
Then there are medium risks...the in-betweens. I don't know swimming, should I go snorkeling? People say I don't need to know swimming, but is it really worth the "risk"? These choices are a bit more difficult to make because we stand to gain just a little, and maybe if we lose, we lose just a little. Very often, we decide not to take the risk since the gain is so small.
Finally there are the big ones...with either maximum benefit or maximum loss! These are even
more difficult to make because the stakes are higher! We really need think hard before deciding about taking these or not. These are the ones that will make or break a person.
At this point I would like to steer this discussion back to the medium risks. These medium risks are quite interesting. They certainly have short term benefits...
1) More often than not, we will achieve what we are set to achieve.
2) The exhilarating feeling that comes with these small victories is just as big as it is with bigger victories!
3) If we do lose, then it is usually something we can easily take under our wing, and move on.
What is more important is the benefits that are persistent...we gain more confidence in ourselves. It helps us expand our horizons. We succeed with one low-benefit, medium risk, and we are ready to take on something slightly bigger. And then when we succeed with that, we move on to something a little more challenging. What we are seeing is steady growth in small steps!
Getting out of our comfort zone takes some risk, but the risk can be well worth it. Moving out of the comfort zone can increase the size of the comfort zone!!! The familiar may be safe and warm, but staying there too long could be to our detriment. We need to risk some uncertainty and move out of our comfort zone!!!So the next time you encounter something that you would rather not do for fear of failure, or you think you don't have much to gain by doing it, go ahead and give yourself that chance to take a small step towards something bigger. Take that risk! Even if you don't succeed the very first time, I am sure you would have made it atleast half way to your goal.
And this first step will give you confidence to try again, and reach your goal!