"World class performance takes risk."
This is tip #3 from my article (here) in which I share 7 tips to world class performance based on Felix Baumgartner’s ‘jump from the edge of space’.
To use Rumsfield parlance with any form of high performance there are known knowns, known unknowns and unknowns unknowns, i.e. things known we know, things known we don’t know, and things we don’t know we don’t know.
In terms of Felix's jump scientists knew about the ‘Armstrong Limit’, i.e. the altitude above which body fluid including saliva, tears, and blood will begin to boil and no amount of inhaled oxygen administered by any means will support life.
Felix’s jump was from around 20km above the Armstrong Limit. Scientists however knew they didn’t know how the human body would respond to passing through the sound barrier. No one had ever done this outside of a vehicle. And everyone including Felix realised there was a whole lot about this jump that nobody could know till it was known, and by then it could be too late.
Risk however is the pathway to reward, not a reason to withdraw from the race.
Knowing the difference between perceived risk and actual risk is the key.