Bruce Sterling said in his SXSW 2006 keynote to, “make no decision out of fear.” This is something that is oh so important. The majority of people first learning to play a game (i.e. chess, politics, life) do so defensively. They make moves in an all out effort to prevent pain, loss, and uncertainty. This is why the acronym FUD was developed. Many people are “sold” on ideas based on Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD).

But those who master a game know when to take the offense and when to hold a strong defensive. Arthur C. Clark once said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” In the same way, any sufficiently skilled player, will do so with flow making their actions appear as if magical. We look up to people who accomplish great things, but outside of luck and happenstance, the skilled players in any game take risks.

Risks are scary and could result in loss, pain, or worse. But risk can be hedged and mitigated and done so in a way that makes your decisions probabilistically positive. Everyone should make these skilled decisions but we all have a different level of risk tolerance and many people prefer to keep a very low risk portfolio. Some people choose this while others do so out of fear.

The problem is that decisions made out of fear do not come from the heart.  I listen to authors and bloggers who quit their job and take on freelance work.  They describe it as finally being able to do and say the things they want to.  Personally, I really dislike working under someone who is making poor decisions.  The other side of working for yourself is that you are no longer surrounded by all the great minds you want to be.  Of course you can create this as long as you continue to cultivate your social network.  It comes down to the fact that no great failure or accomplishment is achieved by constricting your great ideas with fear.

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