I read a book a few years ago called Antifragile. It has many key lessons. One of the most resonant is about how you should always try to be in situations where the upside outweighs the downside.  It is really about consistently hedging your risk. At one point the author mentions a mental trick he employs in companies. On his first day he writes his resignation letter and keeps it in his desk. Since he has already accepted that he will be leaving the company, it frees him up to take considered chances and act with freedom. The downside is already known and has been minimized. All that’s left is upside.

People often act in risk-averse ways due to a fear of impacting their jobs. This is an understandable human reaction. The difficulty is that it constrains you from saying what you really think and taking the calculated risks that are necessary to excel in what you do. It stops you from pursuing your goals. It stops you from disagreeing with someone more senior than you. It stops you from doing something you were told not to, but that you know is the right objective.

I’ve also seen the load lighten for people when they’ve resigned. They’re working out their notice and you can visibly see their shoulders lift. The very act of caring less makes them better and more able to say exactly what they think. Often it makes them better at their jobs until their motivation completely drops (as it often does close to the end of their notice).

I think there’s a lesson here. It isn’t about ignoring risk, being rude to people and ignoring advice. It’s about being honest about taking calculated risks, direct with others and setting your own path by listening to the right advice. Whether we physically do it or not, I think we could all do with placing a mental envelope in our minds with a resignation note pre-prepared.