Gamblers Who Don’t Gamble

 
Entrepreneurs are gamblers who don’t gamble and risk takers who aren’t risky.

Sparked by curiosity, entrepreneurs explore farther and wider than most people but they aren’t reckless (at least not the successful ones).

RouletteNothing happens without ideas, and curiosity is what leads to the best ideas. You have to go through a lot of ideas before you find that magical one that both excites you and works. That search can sometimes take a lifetime and the search is what many people don’t understand about entrepreneurs. In my interview with Gary Vaynerchuk he said he has ideas “24/7.” But he doesn’t blindly follow all of them or most of them or even some of them. He said that if the idea sticks around for a while, just won’t leave his mind, then he’ll follow it.

Which takes me to the idea of risk. Acting on any new idea has risk associated with it but there is a difference between being risky and taking a risk. Being risky is doing something without much thought or planning. Taking a risk is researching, learning as much as you can, turning the unknown into the known so that surprises are minimal, and then going for it. One approach is dangerous the other is smart.

A lot of people confuse this penchant for risk as gambling but gambling is a loser’s game, gambling is a game of chance and successful entrepreneurs work hard to reduce chance. You can’t eliminate chance but there comes a tipping point when risk has been reduced to the point that action makes sense. This is why I put the following quote in my book: “I have always found that if I move with seventy five per cent or more of the facts that I usually never regret it. It’s the guys who wait to have everything perfect that drive you crazy.” That was Lee Iococca, the former CEO of Chrysler and that is the difference between someone who sees entrepreneurship as risky, as gambling, and someone who understands risk and works to make it less risky.

The person who has to wait until all risk is eliminated will never be an entrepreneur, and the person who rushes in without thought or preparation won’t be successful, but the balance between these two extremes puts the odds in your favor. It’s why I ask What Next and why I work hard to answer that with facts.


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Lottery

This post has been updated on 11/25/12: When I originally wrote this it was the MegaMillions that reached such major proportions now it’s PowerBall.

Update #2 January 10, 2016 – now the PowerBall is up to 1.3 Billion which means even more people took a chance on the future instead of making a future.

Who wouldn’t want $500 million dollars? Who doesn’t dream of being set for life? Who doesn’t wish they had that kind of money?

MegaMillions

Magic LampThe idea of some gift, some magical win is a fantasy. The dream of wealth without work is just a dream. And the wish for large sums of money are just wishes. There are a lot of people who play, and play, and play but have nothing to show for it.

Why do you think the amount is so high? Because each week, in spite of over 30 million tickets being sold, nobody won. Week after week after week people spent money on a dream rather than investing it in themselves. “But a few bucks here and there doesn’t hurt,” you might be thinking but you’re wrong. It’s the feeling that a magical event will save you from the way things are – it’s defeatist.

Well I play a lottery with much better odds and I have a lot to show for it. The lottery I play is called life and it takes work. Every day, every decision is a gamble but unlike the “idiot tax” of an actual lottery, I can influence the outcome. They say all you need is a dollar and a dream, but I say all you need is a dollar and a plan!

When I bought my first rental property it was a risk but with much more potential than the same amount spent on MegaMillions tickets. When I spent money to study financial planning there was no guarantee of success but at least the odds weren’t 292,000,000 to 1! When I wrote What Next, I had no idea if I would sell a lot or a few books, but I knew it was up to me and not some random freak chance.

I put faith in myself, not a fantasy. I believe I am the only one responsible for my success, not a random series of numbers.

I know I won’t stop you from buying a ticket or ten or twenty but maybe when you wake up a lottery loser you’ll change your focus from an outward search for success to an inward search for what motivates you, what you’re passionate about, and you will turn that into success and happiness.

 


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