Shut it down: Life’s Risky Business


I got overlap. My brain does not shut down and thoughts at work run rampant in life. I now look at each little moment of life as a risk:

  • What is the risk of the bus being involved in an accident?
  • What impact will that have on safe arrival to work?

Terrible thoughts. Trivial to most in the grand scheme of everyday life but there are times when these thoughts creep in. Let me explain.

Trip to work

My journey to work looks like this:

  1. I catch the bus
  2. I walk to work
  3. I catch the train

I used to walk quite often but haven’t done so in a while.  And I really haven’t caught the train to work as it’s a short walk away from home (but just because I haven’t, doesn’t mean that I won’t try it one day). So this is what’s really happening these days: 

  1. I catch the bus | 95%
  2. I walk to work | 4.95%
  3. I catch the train | .05%


Each path to work is actually composed of a few discrete moments. For example when I catch the bus, there’s a small portion of time where I walk to the bus stop, another portion when I ride the bus and then I spend a little bit of time walking to work.

And here’s where the scarring comes in. What are the chances of getting into some type of incident while walking to the bus stop? Well when I leave the house, I either take the stairs or the lift, then I walk until I hit the traffic lights and finally I wait for the bus. So those little moments look more like this:

Walking to Bus Stop

1. I either take the lift to ground floor or take stairs down. Since the lift in our units has been known to break down, not often but with adverse consequences (imagine that!), I like going for fire stairs option. That in mind, my likelihood for this moment is:

(a) Stairs.  I take choose this option 9/10 times

(b) Lift.  Hmm..I don’t like the thought of getting stuck

2. I stop at the traffic lights. Believe it or not, I like standing back after I press the lights especially on a busy road because you just never know.

(a) Press the lights and stand back.  9/10 here

(b) Press the lights and impatiently stand within an inch of the road.  10% (I should slap myself now for being impatient)

3. I wait at the bus stop. Same scenario as moment 2 where standing too close to the road is foolhardy and standing back is the smarter way to go.

(a) Stand back in the safer zone.  9/10 one again

(b) Impatient me.  As above

Risky Business

Consider that 1st moment where I either take the lift or the stairs, I have to ask myself – what could go wrong? What’s the risk here?

Well if I take the stairs I suppose I could trip and fall down a few steps, possibly bruise a knee or something like that. Not much more than that (hopefully).

And what could go wrong with the lift? Ha! I’ve alluded to this already and I feel for people that have been trapped in there for any extended period.

Here’s my representation of what is happening here, concentrating on the 1st moment:

Life Risk

The risk with both options are then as follows:

  • Stairs
    • Likelihood of falling = 1%
    • Impact of the fall = Low (I can limp along)
  • Lift
    • Likelihood of getting stuck= 5% 
    • Impact of getting stuck = Medium (at worse, I’ll be running an hour late – trust SLA for repairman to come out on time)

As you can see, I might be over thinking the situation a bit – that and the fact that I don’t trust the lift.

Here’s the lift moment, with my risk management lens on:

That’s one discreet moment. And I haven’t even made the bus yet! [on a side note, my bus trip home looks like this. No risk here – at least I don’t so!]

Imagine if you were to think about every single moment as a risk.

The Wrap

Probabilities and ImpactFrequency and SeverityLikelihood and ConsequenceRisk and Loss and Uncertainty and Impact. The terms have been used interchangeably and they all really equate to the same thing: ‘ for every action, there is a reaction ‘.

Of course instead of using real data, I just went with my gut feel when assigning the risk above. You grow older and wiser and the trade-offs for each moment become that much clearer (I sure hope so).

You know I’m not as jittery as I sound because of this post. I just wanted to describe how work can overlap with real life. Sometimes I think too much and I should really trust instincts and chill.

That is, I need to shut it down.


2 thoughts on “Shut it down: Life’s Risky Business

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