The most successful people I know have taken significant chances. The universe is willing to pay out great rewards. But it requires you to put something on the line to prove you deserve it.
I first learned this lesson from a piece of cross-stitch art in my childhood home that said The turtle only makes progress when it sticks its neck out. You can learn a lot from cross-stitch philosophy.
The great barrier to success is your willingness to take a risk. Most people simply aren’t willing to risk enough to earn a great reward. They play it too safe. But the safe harbor you think you are anchored in is not nearly as safe as you think. (And there is very little safety in safes as Geraldo Rivera showed us.)
The relative lack of safety everywhere means that you should risk it for the biscuit. Always bet on yourself. But it is easy to lower the risk in your risky endeavors. In fact, there is a maxim I adhere to every time I take my chances:
Load your dice before you roll them.
Whenever you take a chance, like ABBA, take as much chance out of the situation as possible. You can do this by taking on opportunities where you have the greatest chance of winning.
Remember, not all playing fields are even. Choose to play on fields that are tilted in your favor. And tilt every board you compete on in your direction by knowing and playing to your strengths.
Take on battles where you have advantages. Lean on your relationships. People advantages are often the greatest advantages of all. Choose opportunities where your proximity is a strength. Compete where your category knowledge is high. It’s what Alex Trebek would do.
Count the cards. Know the decision makers. Do your homework. Study patterns. Start a business in a space where you have great expertise. Then do what hedge funds do and create situations where you win no matter what happens.
Take the chance out of the chances you take. Know your strengths. Play to them. You will significantly increase your likelihood of success. Which will ensure that you win more than your fair share of victories.
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+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.