Risk

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I am amazed how many people demand that the government or somebody guarantee them a risk-free life.  There is no such thing.  We, humans, were created by God with high intelligence and free will to make our own choices in life.  Most choices are about the future.  No one can foresee the future with certainty.  Therefore, the outcome of our choices is always uncertain.  That makes life a great adventure and creates the zest that makes life such a pleasure.  If governments guarantee zero risk and all good outcomes, government bureaucrats will take away citizens’ free will and make all choices for them.  That is what communist and socialist governments do. Democracies leave those life choices to the citizens.

It is ironic and tragic that communist and socialist governments always fail to deliver the risk-free life they promise because they cannot.  However, they always take away citizens’ free will and oppress and control everything in their life.

A good way to evaluate risk is in percentages of good outcomes and percentages of bad outcomes.  To evaluate risk, we should consider not only the probability of good and bad outcomes but also the severity of the consequences of those outcomes.  For example, if the probability of a bad outcome for medical treatment is death or permanent physical or mental impairment, the probability should be one percent or less. On the other hand, if the bad outcome is that the treatment fails and you are no worse off, then a much higher probability is ok.

Most people don’t seem to evaluate the probabilities of their choices.  Use your experience and good judgment.  If needed get the advice of others who have more experience than you.  It is usually impossible to calculate exact probabilities.  Approximate probabilities are better than none.

There are key choices in life that change our lives ever after.  For a young person, whether to go to college or get vocational training for a good occupation is one of these.  If they choose to go to college, the choice of degree is key.  Choosing a spouse is a key choice.  Too many let their hormones choose for them.  A good marriage is a lot more than hormones. Choosing a job that requires moving from where you grew up is a key choice. Choosing to save your discretionary income after basic living expenses and investing rather than spending on things that give instant gratification (pleasure) is a key choice.  Those key choices require careful evaluation.

Everyday choices require less evaluation except for choices that involve your personal safety.  No one but you can avoid accidents or addictions that harm you.  Contrary to most opinions, accidents are our greatest risk.

Ralph Coker

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