Taking a new direction in business or life is really really scary. Inertia is a powerful force and it pushes us to do today what we did yesterday - for better or worse.
While I would never advocate “ready, fire, aim,” I do believe that there are times when you need to stop the analysis, take your best guess and go for it. Or, as made famous by a former Nike campaign: “JUST DO IT.”
No matter how much we plan, debate or labor over plusses and minuses, the fact is that we can never anticipate every factor of a prospective decision. Life is just too serendipitous or, as John Lennon said “Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans.”
The way I figure, once I have done all the homework I can, the best strategy is to just jump and presume that I will have the wherewithal to deal with issues as they arise. And by the way, sometimes the unanticipated stuff is positive.
I think that we tend to lose this “JUST DO IT” mentality as we get older. My first significant real estate deal (I was 30 years old) looks in hindsight like an act of insanity. Without any plan in mind, I bought a 160,000 square foot vacant industrial building thinking that good real estate in a great location had to somehow attract a tenant. Proving that “it’s smarter to be lucky, than it’s lucky to be smart,” I was fortunate to discover (after the purchase) that the building was a great spot for factory outlets. Five years later the property was sold at a huge profit.
Our risk quotient diminishes with age for “good” reason. As a young person we have time to recover if a “just do it” action does not work out. But in our forties, fifties and sixties, risk-taking seems a little less sensible. And, that is the point of today’s blog entry: with age comes resources and savvy and contacts - all of which can help us deal with issues that come up. In other words, there are good reasons to take even more risks as we age - because we are that much more capable.
Here’s a quote I like from the autobiography of Mark Burnett who started the reality show genre in the United States (his shows include Survivor and The Apprentice):
“Nothing will ever be perfect, and nothing can be totally planned. The best you can hope for is to be about half certain of your plan and that you … are willing to work hard enough to overcome the inevitable problems as they arrive. …. If you are passionate, committed and willing to believe in yourself, anything is possible.”
The point is that when considering an act that requires you to move out of your comfort zone, fight back against the resistance of logic and age … sometimes you need to “JUST DO IT!”
Jim Randel is the founder and co-author of the skinny on™ series. His most recent book The Skinny On Credit Cards: How to Master the Credit Card Game is available at www.JimRandel.com.
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