America is the land of opportunity, but only if you take chances. If you just plod along in the common ruts that the vast majority of people crawl along then you will get what they get. That will be the common reward for living a common life. That’s okay, but don’t crawl along the rut and expect to win the most valuable player award in anything. Look at the spectacular successes in any field you choose and you will discover someone who stepped forward and took initiative and chances.

Take the right kind of chances! That is a really important concept to wrap your brain around and your habits. Take the right kind of chances, and avoid the wrong kinds of chances! The good chances are those with unlimited beneficial payoffs, and the bad ones are those with unlimited loss. That sounds obvious. Let me give you an exceedingly simple comparative example, but one in which almost everyone chooses the loser and avoids the winner. Say you go to a lecture with an important person speaking. After the lecture you might go talk with the person for a few minutes, because almost always there will be a few people who gather around the speaker and ask a few questions. Do that, but while waiting your turn to speak to them, make a point of refining a statement and think about his probable response and then think about what your thoughtful retort to that will be. This will pique his interest and commonly it will develop into an interesting conversation. This is great because it has an unlimited upside, and almost no downside. The most you can lose is that the person won’t be interested in your idea.

The exact opposite of that unlimited upside strategy is the ultimate downside strategy that many people choose. They depart the lecture and go to a bar. There they have a few drinks, meet a few people and have a fascinating conversation with a drunk. The more drinks you both have the better the conversation. Perhaps if the conversation is good enough you will wake up in jail, or dead alongside the road home. Perhaps you can tell others how soused you got and everyone will respect you for living out your convictions and proving yourself to be one of the gang.

The obvious path that will bring more satisfaction is consistently taking big chances, but taking those which will make you happier, healthier, wiser and wealthier. The choice is yours.

“Take chances my friends! Take really big chances!”