Overcoming Fears & Limiting Beliefs - Risks

We finalize the Module Two series with Risks. In our guiding metaphor, we can see risks as the wetsuit the surfer wears, seeing risks as a means of protection, preparation, and adaptability.

We're going to cover:

  • What is a risk and how to “calculate” it
  • How to understand the neuroscience of psychological risks & safety​
  • What to be aware of when it comes to risks​
  • Action: Apply the Walt Disney technique to a risky decision​

A risk means:

  • The uncertainty of undesirable outcomes for something we value
  • Exposure to the possibility of something bad happening
  • What introduces variability to the outcomes
  • A combination of the probability of an event and its consequences
  • The trade-off between gains and potential losses

How to calculate a risk

Risk Priority Number = Occurrence x Severity x Detection​

Occurrence = the probability of the scenario​ (1-10)

Severity = the impact of the scenario​ (1-10)

Detection = the likelihood to identify the scenario upfront​ (1-10)

Work on high RPN risks first!​

The neuroscience of risks & safety

  • Cortisol​
  • Adrenaline & Noradrenaline​
  • Serotonin​
  • Dopamine​
  • Oxytocin​
  • Endorphin​


  • Risk focuses on the negative consequences, but positive ones can occur.
  • Your risk aversion might impact the RPN calculation.
  • Always expect the unexpected.
  • Responding fast doesn’t necessarily mean responding properly.
  • Math doesn’t beat instinct.

Apply the Walt Disney technique to a risky decision​

1. Dreamer: everything is possible, let go of your limitations.

2. Critique: find the weak points and what can go wrong.

3. Realist: what is possible & feasible, having resources in mind.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal:​ it is the courage to continue that counts.” - Winston Churchill​

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