Behind Every Successful Man Is Acceptable Risk

On Our Collective Misunderstanding of Our Own Selves

Abhishek Kothari
6 min readAug 6, 2018


Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.

Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power —

Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

All growth comes at a price. A price, all of us know by the word “risk”. However, over the generations, one of the least developed parts of our intelligence is “risk intelligence”. Risk intelligence directly stems from our own lack of understanding of our own capabilities. A bias we call over or under estimating our true strengths and more importantly, our weaknesses. This might sound counter intuitive considering the fact that one would think risk stems from our lesser understanding of external forces. However, the ability of humans to reason is the sole reason we behave as unreasonable parasites on a planet we call home.

The way to think about our situation is: how many external forces can we actually control even though we think we have general control over most things? I am not saying that all control is an illusion. I am saying that focusing on knowing our inner selves and on understanding risk intimately, we can grow healthily with less stress than just winging it. This article delves deeper into our simple misunderstandings about risk and what we can do to overcome some of them.

What Is Risk

Source: Reid Middleton

Etymologically, the word risk is a mid 17th century word derived from the French word “risqué” or Italian word ‘risco’ meaning danger. Put simply, risk means a situation where things could go wrong. It could lead to a financial or personal loss.

Put more broadly, the word risk literally begins with life itself and indicates the fragility of life at every step. From being in an accident to losing savings, there are a million scenarios that originate from life itself. A dear friend once told me:

The number one cause of death is life…



Abhishek Kothari

Futurist@The Intersection of Finance, Tech & Humanity. Stories of a Global Language: “Money”. Contributor @ Startup Grind, HackerNoon, HBR