Don’t look – you might see.
Don’t listen – you might hear.
Don’t think – you might learn.
Don’t make a decision – you might be wrong.
Don’t walk – you might stumble.
Don’t run – you might fall.
Don’t live – you might die.
I would like to add one more thought to this depressing list:
Don’t change – you might grow.
The point he was trying to make is that for every rewarding life experience or outcome, there’s usually a huge risk associated.
When we live our lives trying to avoid those risks, though, then we actually are risking not only staying stagnant but declining as well.
The higher the risk we take, the higher the reward that we might gain. I say ‘we might gain’ because the reality is that we are not guaranteed those rewards – that’s why it’s a risk we are taking.
Starting a business is a huge risk. Word out there is that 98% of small businesses fail within their first 5 years of operation. People hear this all the time, but that does not stop them from starting up new businesses every day because the possible reward is huge and makes up for all the risk taken – and then some!
Many billionaires have sprung up from setting up shop and just consistently worked on their businesses, pushing through those first five years successfully, and then growing beyond recognition thereafter.
It is such people that others see and are encouraged to go on and take the risk of starting their own businesses with the hope that someday, the reward will come – maybe not even in billions but with enough to cover the risk they took, and then some!
Getting married is a risk too. The possible reward on the other side of it is a very successful family life, where the spouses love and respect each other dearly, raise children who do the same, grow into a large extended family with members who are close to one another and have each other’s backs and perhaps even grow into a dynasty bearing surnames that ring a bell to everyone like a Rothschild, a Rockerfeller, and a Devos.
On the flip side, you risk a shattered home. You may not even get the chance to build a home before the marriage shatters. But you went ahead with the marriage, with a lot of hope, because of the successful ones you’ve seen out there.
And you couldn’t have known that the marriage was going to fail or work out if you didn’t try, if you didn’t take the risk.
Or could you?
There’s a reason those guys you look up to are madly successful in their businesses and marriages. There’s a method to the madness.
The overwhelming truth is that if you analyze all of them and compare your findings, you would realize that there is indeed a method to it. The path to success is boring, monotonous and lacking in variety. The path to failure on the other hand is very appealing, very spontaneous and very all-over-the place.
The guys who are successful take calculated risks. This means they consider the two possible outcomes of Profit and Loss first. They want to know if they are able to recover from the losses if things were to go bad, and they also want to ensure that the profit is huge enough to make the risk-taking adventure worthwhile.
And they apply that formula to their everyday decision-making in business and family life. They don’t take blows they can’t recover from.
A funny example that’s a little out of topic is bungee-jumping or sky-diving. The possible loss there is a tragic loss of life, if the ropes were to snap or the parachute failed. And the possible gain is only an adrenaline rush for a little while after the activity.
So, is the risk worth it, bearing in mind the possible loss compared to the possible gain? You tell me.
Life and living is all about taking risks, but there are certain risks that should indeed not be taken, but you cannot know them if you do not first analyze the possible losses and compare them to the possible gains.
If the gains are very evanescent while the losses are fatal, then please be wise and avoid taking such risk altogether.
John Maxwell extended on a sarcastic poem to make his point of how not risking change might lead to no growth. But there are indeed some things you should not do if you want to live your best life; things that are just not worth the risk taken.
So here’s my own list:
Don’t fail to prepare – you might be preparing to fail.
Don’t cheat on your spouse – you might be heading for a painful and regretful life.
Don’t cheat on your employer – you might get yourself fired.
Don’t be inconsistent with your business – you might never get it off the ground.
Don’t have unprotected sex, perhaps don’t even have pre-marital sex – you might gain some unwanted diseases and kids.
Don’t neglect your family – you might one day run out of friends.
Don’t ignore personal development – you might never become your better self.
Don’t forget to share this article with someone – you might be saving a life!