April 26, 2022

Aren’t you afraid of the risk?

I bought a car this past weekend. A brand new one. And the experience was almost perfect.

Except for one thing.

And I knew it was coming… the high pressure sales attempt at the end when the Finance Manager (aka the final sales person) pushes to sell a host of extra “protections.”

So, I listened politely to all of his explanations, then simply said, “no.”

And then the pressure kicked in. I stopped counting his manipulation techniques after 5 and simply said, “Thanks, but I decline. Do I need to sign anything to confirm that?”

He then said to me these classic words, “Aren’t you afraid of the risk?”

Okay. Hit the pause button of this story – because there is soooooo much to unpack here.

First of all, let’s define “risk.”

I recently heard an absolute gem of a definition on The Knowledge Project podcast from an interview with General Stanley McChrystal. He laid out this beautiful equation: Threats x Vulnerabilities = Risk.

You see, I had always considered threats to be the SAME as risks. But they are NOT!

The key to a threat being a risk is the vulnerability. Without the vulnerability, there is no risk.

So while a Siberian tiger may be a massive threat, if it is contained behind fortified plexiglass it becomes a zoo attraction. Not a risk. 

Conversely, a little honey bee can be something to watch with childlike wonder as it explores a blossom, unless the observer is allergic to the bee’s sting. The little bee suddenly becomes a serious risk.

Which then got me thinking about stress.

Threats to our success, significance, and control can only stress us out when we are vulnerable to failure, rejection, and the unknown.

If we take away the vulnerability, we take away the stress.

Which is what the Finance Manager was clearly hoping I would not do.

But I was buying a brand of car that is very well-known for its reliability. And I was buying a model that is very well-known for its ruggedness. The very idea of needing extra protection (in addition to the warranty that comes with a brand new car) was purely based on the idea that I was vulnerable – not the car.

Read that again. The key vulnerability is… me.

And that, my friends, is what I leave you with. What vulnerabilities exist simply because of… you?

I mua. Onward and upward.

PS I didn’t buy any extras. And when we got past that, the Finance Manager changed the conversation to talk about how great the car is. And then we started talking about how proud we both are of our kids…

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Published by timohai

Father, widower, leader, sales enablement pro at Workday. *These are my personal views and do not officially represent Workday.

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