Courage is Acting in the Face of Fear

Hanging Tough: Financial Page: The New Yorker.

Again, I’m indebted to my partner Jeff.  He sent me this recent article from the New Yorker. those of you who have been here with me for awhile now that I’ve been FDR-ing it for some time now: that is, proposing that fear is the most dangerous thing about this – or any – recession.

The article points out that many companies that do best in recessions are those that – counter-intuitively – invest in acquisition, advertising, R&D.  Those that use whatever resources they have available to them to focus on growth.

Then the author, James Surowiecki,noting that this information is available to anyone who looks for it, asks why most companies are still so quick to cut back as soon as tough times arise:

The answer has something to do with a famous distinction that the economist Frank Knight made between risk and uncertainty. Risk describes a situation where you have a sense of the range and likelihood of possible outcomes. Uncertainty describes a situation where it’s not even clear what might happen, let alone how likely the possible outcomes are. Uncertainty is always a part of business, but in a recession it dominates everything else: no one’s sure how long the downturn will last, how shoppers will react, whether we’ll go back to the way things were before or see permanent changes in consumer behavior.

Uncertainty creates fear.  Fear makes people hunker down and go for the things that seem safest.

I once read (I wish I could remember where – if you know the source, please share it) that “courage is not the absence of fear; courage is acting in the face of fear.”

What courageous steps can you take, personally or professionally, that might create new success for you in these uncertain times?

Posted in Thinking

About Erika Andersen

Over the past 30 years, Erika has developed a reputation for creating approaches to learning and business-building that are custom tailored to her clients’ challenges, goals, and culture.

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