Monday, 12 March 2012

Rational living: how to reduce unnecessary risks in everyday life

A child must be able to stand on his feet before he can walk. A student must learn grammar before he is able to build complex sentences in a foreign language. In house construction, steady progress presupposes structural stability. Vehicles can ride only when their essential systems function properly.

Manufacturers know that catastrophic failure will make their machines stand still and this is why they carry out preventive maintenance at regular intervals. For the same reason, individuals adopt measures against hazards that could seriously disrupt their lives.

Personal risk-prevention is a subject that is, unfortunately, rarely addressed at school. Pick up a newspaper any day and count the reports on men and women who have seen their future destroyed by factors that can be easily avoided. The following steps can help reduce three essential personal risks:

1.- DO NOT PROVIDE PERSONAL DETAILS TO VENDORS OF QUESTIONABLE REPUTATION. Bad experience have taught many of us to think twice before giving our credit card details to unfamiliar merchants. In this digital age, we should actually take the same precautions before disclosing any sensitive details that might enable identity theft. It is also recommended to avoid using, for your internet accounts, obvious passwords such as your birth date.

2.- WATCH OUT FOR SIGNS OF POTENTIAL VIOLENCE AND BE QUICK TO WITHDRAW. Never place yourself in a situation of physical danger by walking into a high-risk area. If you keep your eyes open, you will find more than enough signals of danger as you approach unsafe streets. In those cases, choose the best option: turn around and get away as fast as you can. The same principle applies to your choice of business associates or employees. Learn to detect violence-prone individuals in advance and avoid them like the pest. Chances are that you will live healthier and longer.

3.- SPREAD YOUR ASSETS AMONGST DIFFERENT INVESTMENTS AND LOCATIONS. In addition to diversifying between, for instance, real estate and stocks, you should aim at holding shares of companies in different industries. Have you considered investing in precious metals and multi-currency mutual funds? Whatever your taste, make sure that you get plenty of spices from various countries around the world. Farmers know that growing complementary crops is less risky that planting a single type of seed.

You can take similar actions to protect all key areas of your life from catastrophic failure. How do you reduce your risk of becoming unemployed? By constantly increasing your knowledge and skills. In which way can you reduce health hazards? Learn about nutrition and make good choices when it comes to food.

The greatest risk in life is, however, the most difficult to see: immobility. Human well-being goes along with growth, which is a direct consequence of purposeful action. Ideas dissociated from reality are as useless as engaging in random action.

Make a vow to avoid paralysis in any situation. The most effective way to reduce risks in any area is taking your future in your own hands, which is, by the way, a definition of entrepreneurship.


[Image by Mara 1 under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under]