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"I've taken so many 'stupid risks' in my life. I love your smart, success-focused version of them. – Jason Fonceca, Toronto

Risk•ol•ogist (noun): A practitioner of smart risks who thrives in an uncertain world. Join us.

Featured Articles

The Psychology Of Touch: Persuade Anyone With Just Your Hand

Every day, you’re faced with a list of requests—often from strangers:

  • Will you register to vote?
  • Would you like to add a drink to your order?
  • Help us save the whales?
  • Watch my stuff while I use the restroom?
  • Can I have your phone number?

As I walk around Portland, I can confidently say I face all but one of these questions every day. I’ll let you guess which one that is…

The requests are annoying but easy to avoid. I’ve gotten skilled at just saying, “No, I don’t want to.” If the requester looks particularly eager, I might pretend I’m on my phone as I walk by.

Somehow, though, I still find myself saying yes to various requests once in a while.

Think about the last time this happened to you. You said yes to a request you’d normally say no to. What was different about that interaction? What did the other person do to persuade you?

Chances are, you don’t remember. The interaction didn’t seem different from any other. That’s because what they did differently was hardly noticeable—it didn’t even register. Based on an enormous body of psychological research on behavior and compliance, though, I can make a pretty good guess at what it was:

The touched you.

It was nothing invasive or aggressive; you would have remembered that. One or two light touches completely changed your view of the person asking you for [insert random / annoying request here]. It briefly altered your brain’s chemistry and made you think, “Hey, why not?”

If you’ve ever found it hard to get someone to help you with a simple request (*cough* spouse, kids, co-works, business associates, etc.), take note. This trick is so simple, you can master it in less than 10 minutes. And the results could be life-changing—better jobs, more money, stronger relationships, more success, etc.Continue Reading →

It Only Takes One Success To Erase 1,000 Failures

It was 1974 when a frustrated writer crumpled up three pages of—what he considered at the time—trash.

Life was hard. He worked from a makeshift desk in the laundry room of his double-wide trailer. Too poor to buy his own, he had to borrow a typewriter from his wife who worked the second shift at Dunkin’ Donuts to help pay the bills for their struggling family of four.

Later that day, his wife pulled the pages out of the trash and told him to keep going. To keep writing. He was ready to throw in the towel. To him, the days of writing were done. It was time to grow up and focus on his “real job.”

But his wife insisted. “You’ve got something good here. Keep going.” So, he did.

When the book was done, he sent it out to a list of publishers. The response was exactly what he expected: No. Rejection letter after rejection letter came in the mail. 30 in total. “It’s a fine story, but it’s not right for us,” they all said.

Then, one day, it all changed.Continue Reading →

How The Best Gamblers Prepare Themselves To Win Big

“Play interests me very much. But I am not in the position to sacrifice the necessary in the hope of winning the superfluous.” – Alexander Pushkin

I don’t bring it up often—it’s not very interesting except in certain circumstances—but I have a bit of an unsavory habit. I like to gamble.

To be more precise, I like to play blackjack. Why? It’s one of the only table games with reasonable odds. If you play perfectly, you gain a sliver of an advantage over the house[1].

That doesn’t mean you’ll win every game. In fact, you might face an epic losing streak taking you down to your last chip. But, in time, the odds say you’ll win.

When I sit down at a blackjack table, I instantly get anxious. All my senses perk up, and, without thinking, I try to read all the different inputs at the table—what the dealer looks like and her disposition, how many people are at the table and what they’re doing / how they’re playing.

I’m far from a perfect blackjack player and the stakes I set for myself are low—I’m not trying to make a living at the card tables—but I’ve always wondered if the anxiety I feel makes me a smarter, more careful player. If that bit of uncertainty about which cards will come next keeps me from stepping outside my bounds and making dumb decisions.

Turns out, it does. Anxiety is what smart gamblers use make the best choices at their trade. But it doesn’t end there. A little uncertainty has been scientifically proven to keep you focused on smart risks in every area of your life.

Here’s how it works and how you can harness it.Continue Reading →

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