Risk & Boldness

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The first rule of any game

You won’t win a game you don’t know you’re in. If you don’t know you’re in a game you’re won’t be familiar with the rules and you won’t be paying attention to the trends and nuances that spell opportunity for veteran player.

Here’s an example: In high school my older friends would tell me that I should learn “understand the system” and “recognize that it’s all a game.” At first, I thought this sounded great, but I really didn’t understand what it meant so I continued to follow the conventional advice, “just work hard.” …

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Progress is a barbed arrow

Unless you were born into your ideal life (highly improbable), then we know that we must keep moving to improve our circumstances and quality-of-life. Most of us like to label this “moving” as progress. However, let’s be specific… because it matters a lot here. Moving is not progress unless we are moving in the right direction…

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Canabalize your ideas

It’s not wording that paints the best mental picture, I know (maybe the unassuming Pac-Man imagery will soften the edge), but it is a notion that ultimately leads to a better outcome. The idea for this post struck me while reading Walter Isaacson’s biography about Steve Jobs. The relationship he had with ideas — even his own, was uncommon. When he came up with an idea he was never afraid to start attacking it — even if the idea has costly short term implications. A well-known example was…

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You don’t always have to buy what’s being sold

When everyone is entitled to their own opinion, you’re going to get a lot of opinions. And when estimates about the future cannot yet be proven, everyone wants to believe their idea is the correct one.

While it’s always important gather feedback and insight from others, it’s equally important to remember that you don’t always have to buy into it…

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Slaying Dragons. Be right back.

Life is full of challenges. If you have big dreams, they will never cease. This is why we must be:

Willing to confront them and act quickly because life’s monsters always become bigger when you try to avoid them. Slay the monsters when they’re small.
Willing to get down to business and let people know you’ll be busy for a little while.
Careful not to take them all too seriously.

Nothing groundbreaking here, I know, just important to remember.

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Depart from the ordinary.

I like heading the airport and following the departure signs. Not because I like sitting on planes, but because I like the idea of departing from the familiar and beginning a new adventure. Call me crazy, but I enjoy challenging predictable circumstances. It keeps life interesting and forces you to be mentally sharp and engaged. You certainly can’t live an “uncommon life” if your daily life becomes a common collection of routines…

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Ships weren’t built for harbors

Like a ship in a marina, many people live their professional lives in a cubicle, docked up, tuned out, and turned off. It’s not that the cubicle itself is bad — it’s that the culture of cubicle can eventually restrict our ability to act and think outside of our current role, position, and skill set.

Staying in a harbor — any metaphoric harbor — for too long can make the open seas appear too terrifying to consider. We should be sure that we’re challenging ourselves to sail out of our safe, comfortable, and predictable environments to test our current abilities, to develop new skills, and reveal our often hidden potential.

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Always test the rope

When elephants are being trained to stay in one place at a very young age the trainers drive a stake deep in the ground and use a rope or chain that the elephant cannot break. After a few failed attempts to break free in the elephant’s youth, the elephant stops trying and never tests the rope again.

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To say you’re not a leader…

We’re taught to compare ourselves to other people to gauge where we are and how we’re doing. It’s horrible advice. Simply because no two people are alike, we will always lose the game of comparison. Like the old saying goes, it’s apples to oranges…

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There is stability in a controlled spin

Even amid an environment of constant change, some people thrive — and they do it with style. Instead of fighting the change, they embrace it. They acknowledge the gyration and seek the center point with the understanding that motion increases balance.

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The innovator’s (shortest) credo

Making creative leaps forward often means challenging preexisting assumptions, rules, and beliefs about how things can and should be done. When we do this, however, we enter new territory and it becomes much more difficult to predict the outcome. There is likely not enough data to accurately foretell the odds of success.

This may sound risky, but consider the alternative: Convention/normal/average/regular… boring! Sure, it’s the most predictable option, BUT it’s not necessarily the safest…

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