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So for example if I do X, the result of my actions is either going to be really good or really bad.

At first I thought of double-edged sword, but I think that means more towards being both good and bad at the same time instead of it being either or, is there a phrase or idiom to describe that?

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I don't know if it fits your situation, but all-in is a gambling term which can be used to describe the situation

http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/all+in

Other gambling terms can also be used like double-or-nothing

On a more general note, high stakes can also be used (commonly heard in both Gambling and Investment Banking)

http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/high-stakes

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One phrase I have heard is high risk/high reward - which fits your statement "the result of my actions is either going to be really good or really bad."

Another phrase, which I had never heard of before researching your question, is risk-return tradeoff. That one seems to have particular meaning with respect to economics and stock trading.

http://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/applied-and-social-sciences-magazines/risk-return-tradeoff

Thanks for the question. I'm curious to see what other people answer.

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  • I feel like high risk/high reward was the closest to what I was looking for, not quite exactly, but I ended up using a mixture of high risk/high reward and 'it can really go both ways' to try to describe it
    – Edward Fu
    Jul 26, 2017 at 3:54

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