The Difference Between a Gamble and a Calculated Risk

There's a difference between a gamble and a calculated risk. As a young entrepreneur, it's important to understand the differences.  The trick is to avoid the former and get comfortable with the latter. Here's how I see it:

A Gamble is a shot in the dark. A Calculated Risk is a shot taken in the light. 
In other words, when you take a calculated risk, you're working from solid intelligence. You've tested. You've validated. You've in a sense proven your idea. But when you're gambling, you're acting unintelligently and just playing games.

A Gamble puts something in jeopardy. A Calculated Risk puts something to work.
When we're gambling we're putting things like our time, money and energy in great jeopardy.  A calculated risk, however, is a true investment of your time, money and energy. Those three significant assets are being put to work in an efficient and  productive way.  Calculated risks aren't always guaranteed returns, but a dividend in some form or fashion is likely.


A Gamble is all about taking a shortcut. A Calculated Risk is averse to shortcuts.
Gamblers are always looking for elevators to success. They never got the memo that there is no such elevator. As Zig Ziglar says, "You have to take the stairs." You have to accept and stick to what Winston Churchill calls the "line of continuous effort." That's why calculated risks are averse to shortcuts. They know exactly where they lead.

Lastly, and most importantly, a Gamble is a character-deficient act. A Calculated Risk is a character-building one.
Gambling is a vice because it rejects the virtues of perseverance and diligence and lives one door down from squander. A calculated risk, however, is virtuous because it is an act of bravery infused with fortitude. And fortitude is what gives us the strength of mind to endure adversity... something every entrepreneur will need.  

Do both gambles and calculated risks involve taking a chance? Sure. But, believe me, a calculated risk always has the better odds.