Being Boring

Having just completed 50 years working in the insurance business I was reflecting on the people I had worked with and the common character traits between us all.

 While all of us in the industry are individuals there are a number of things we have in common.

1. Most of us have “found” insurance as a career “by Mistake”. None of us has finished school/university and intended to have a career in insurance and yet we have all found a niche for ourselves and are content with our lot.

2. On a superficial level we are a congregation of the most boring people we could possibly meet!

Of course I am making these comments from a generalisation basis for dramatic purposes, because if you “scratch the surface” you will discover an exciting mass of entrepreneurial endeavour. At its core insurance is a risk business, and where there is risk there is reward accompanied by danger.

For many investing in a safe bank deposit is all the risk they can manage but for others the sheer joy of risking some capitol for an evolving risk is the high point of existence. You experience the fear of failure which motivates you to expand the market, or delete unacceptable risks, or educe short term profit expectations in order to develop a portfolio that satisfies a need in the market ,creates employment and gives a return on capitol can only be described as exhilarating.

Over many years in business, the fear of financial failure has been a constant stimulus to ensure that my responsibilities to security, staff and clients are foremost, before you consider any profit that may be generated.

If I’ve been tempted to consider things are “under control” an unexpected threatening event occurs which refreshes the fear again and again I’m more motivated to work through the issue. These events are ultimately good news because the business improves to be in better shape due to the work and focus that have been used to overcome the difficulty. Problems should really be celebrated because the success you have in solving them makes for a stronger business.

While I have talked about business it is true about life too. In whatever we do we need to recognise that positive fear is what gives the zest to existence and those who avoid the fear and “play it safe” are at far greater risk. Possibly when these people they reflect on their lives they’ll wonder why life has passed them by?

So when looking ahead and making your new years resolutions make sure you tackle a few problems, take a few risks and never be accused of being boring.

John Baker



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