We gamble all the time, but we don’t think of it that way.

We think we are making decisions, not gambling – and often don’t see it as taking risk either.

But we are.

The key is whether we are making what we consider a “sure bet”, where we believe the outcomes of our decisions are more likely than not to be (net) favorable, considering both the upside and downside – especially compared to the alternatives.

 

When I quit my job with Coopers & Lybrand in the UK and decided to move to the US, I was gambling.

  • I had no assurance that I would get a job in the US (although I was fairly confident), and certainly had no assurance it would be a job I would want. As it happened, while I wanted to move back to Atlanta, the job I was offered was in Los Angeles.
  • I didn’t think I had a future in my current position. As it happened, I had been tagged as potential partner material.
  • I was also gambling that I would enjoy life in the US. I had spent nine months in the US and had made many friends, but would I be happy in this foreign country? Would I miss the safety of being close to my family in England?
  • I made what I considered to be an intelligent and informed decision. As it happened, my assessment of the facts was partially incorrect (I probably did have a future if I had stayed), but it turned out well for…

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