Sorry – this blog turned out to be a little longer than I wanted. Guess I’m passionate about this quote. So here goes.
There's a tremendous bias against taking risks. Everyone is trying to optimize their Xss-covering…Elon Musk
Musk made this comment while being interviewed about his space exploration company, SpaceX, which grew out of his idea to spur the national will to travel to Mars. He tried to slash the cost of his dream by buying Cold War Russian missiles to turn into interplanetary rockets. While negotiating that deal, he realized that it wasn't lack of "national will" that held the U.S. back from exploring space. Instead, it was a lack of affordable technology.
During the interview he stated “There's a tremendous bias against taking risks. Everyone is trying to optimize their Xss-covering.
I love this quote especially those last six words: a "bias against risk," because everyone is "trying to optimize their axx-covering." It's funny and of course, it applies to a lot more than space exploration.
It applies to the vast majority of successful companies that get stuck producing legacy products because they can't risk that innovation might upset their own profit models. It applies to the service providers that make a mockery of the word "service" because cost-cutting with crappy service maximizes shareholder value.
BUT it also applies to temptations in our personal lives, and in the lives of those around us. Think of the colleagues you know who hold onto uninspiring jobs for fear of going after the careers they really want. Or think of the friend you might have who stays in a lousy relationship because he or she is more afraid of being alone than of living with less than they deserve.
Think about how it applies to all of us on this life journey for a healthy and active life. We're all a little bit afraid of risk. Yet, each day represents a new chance and a new beginning. And sometimes we need a little inspiration to take the leap.
Whatever is the thing you're afraid of trying maybe now is the time to give it a try. Cast aside your risk aversion. Be uncomfortable for a while as you try something new. Accept the chance that you'll fail and if you fail, embrace it. Don't optimize your butt-covering. Instead, optimize your opportunities. And find your own mission to Mars.