Thursday, April 23, 2015
Manvice: What are you willing to Risk?
The other day, I was talking with my oldest son. At 19, he's right in the middle of trying to figure out his life, what he wants to "be" and the path to getting there. I know there are people that wish they could live their lives over again, I'm not one of them. I don't envy him his future - not that believe he won't be able to make it work, or that he won't have a great life - he probably will, it has more to do with the general state of the world and the my general sense of how the chaos it represents.
I told him, and I'll tell you, my life has been built upon mistakes and missed opportunities. I don't lament them, I just realize I made choices (that seemed very reasonable and smart at the time) that altered my life. I say they were mistakes, only because with a little distance, you can imagine a different outcome. I say missed opportunities, because I have some of the people that made the choice I was given, and how things turned out.
The crazy thing is, I wouldn't change any of it. Sure, I could tell you about the time I could have taken a summer job during college working at a horse racing ranch (basically doing the least desirable jobs imaginable), but who knows who I would have met doing it. I could tell you about the woman I met one night (during my marriage) that wanted me, and was one of the most beautiful women I had met in my life - we spent time together, but I said goodnight and walked away. I could tell you about the job offer to run a whole team selling a brand new line of networking equipment - I would have been the GM and manager - but I decided to stay where I was and not move to a completely different part of the country.
But for every step I may have not taken, I took another. I moved to Colorado after college, and got a job doing "telemarketing". But it just happened to be a growing software company, and I weaseled my way into a couple of projects with one of the executive and founders. He took me under his wing and taught me so much about business. If I hadn't moved to New Jersey, I wouldn't have moved back home - and I wouldn't have met the woman that become my wife, and I wouldn't have three beautiful kids from our union. If I hadn't gotten divorced, I wouldn't have met the absolutely gorgeous woman I've fallen in love with now. And if I hadn't gotten laid off last year, I wouldn't have the current job - and be experiencing the excitement of launching a brand-new product into the market.
What I ended up talking about with my son, was "what are you willing to risk" to get what you want? It's a fair question, that needs an equally fair answer. Some people are willing to risk almost anything and do almost anything for the pursuit of money. Being a drug dealer or stealing cars or hacking credit card accounts really isn't that big a deal to some people - it's illegal, but to them, it's worth the risk. Other people wouldn't walk across the street to for a job.
Picking up and having sex with woman is another thing - I wasn't willing to risk my marriage to have sex with a beautiful woman (because that's wrong for me), but there are other Men that would literally do anything to have sex - and as much as possible. Once again, there isn't anything wrong with that.
Coming to grips with what you are willing to risk is not an ethical question - it is a very personal question. You will have to answer, because if you can't, then you don't know what your own personal boundaries and guidelines will be. You will have no ability to filter. And you may get sucked into situations that you otherwise don't want to be involved. Get this right, and it will guide you through life, and as you look back, there will be no regrets - you won't care to re-live your life, because you lived it for you - and the residual benefit is, those around you will have a much fuller life also - just by association.
Eyes front Gentlemen. Live, Learn, Lead.