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Difference Between Risk and Uncertainty

risk Risk vs Uncertainty

We live in a busy world. Each one of us take risks everyday and many times we are uncertain about things that we should definitely and absolutely be certain about. But, so many of us are bothered by the big question: what is the real, essential difference between risk and uncertainty?

The online dictionary reference library Dictionary.com defines risk as ‘exposure to the chance of injury or loss; a hazard or dangerous chance’ and also it defines ‘take or run a risk, as to expose oneself to the chance of injury or loss; put oneself in danger; hazard; venture’; while it gives us the definition of uncertainty as ‘the state of being uncertain; doubt; hesitancy’. At the first look, there seems to be no difference, but if you read carefully, you will understand that there is a very fine line in understanding between these 2 meanings. All of us need to understand that both risk and uncertainty are some concepts which relate to human expectations in a special way, yet it does not mean that these concepts are totally relative. Let’s say, flying airplanes was a much bigger risk 50 years ago, and it’s a smaller risk today, but it’s still a risk isn’t it, people still die in airplanes right? So, as you can see its relative, but it’s a kind of ‘limited relativity’. In everyday usage, we often misuse the word risk and probability. Have you ever even began to think to what a risk you expose yourself everyday when you pass a road, when you drink hot coffee or when you expose yourself to the sunrays? Now, when you are uncertain about something, it is when you are definitively not sure about it. Yet another real example is that you can be uncertain about an exam or test, but if you prepare yourself well and you do all your homework, you can be sure about the exam, while still being under risk that you may forget everything you learned or that you will be too emotional; both being under low probability, but still being possible. However, you cannot assume that risk is always under low probability. So, if you are very sure about something that is under low probability, it’s risk.

Life experience shows that usually if a person is uncertain about something, they are more vulnerable to fail at that certain thing. So, next time you feel uncertain about something, the first thing you need to check is whether or not this uncertainty comes from real facts or emotions, feelings inside of you. Check if you have a real foundation to be uncertain, and see if you can do anything to ‘change the statistic’. We should never be uncertain, but we should take risk every day. Don’t forget, even if you were sure about something and it did not turn out the way you were hoping, it’s not the end of the world yet! Always remember that if there’s no pain, there’s no gain.

1.Risk means danger or threat one might feel in doing some work, while uncertainty means hesitation or ambiguity about certain thing.
2.Uncertainty comes from emotions while risk can be realistic.
3.Risk can be related to occurrences with low probability while uncertainty can be touched with 100% confidence.

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