The Million Dollar Answer

I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.

– Mark Twain

We spend a lot of time and money worrying.  We walk around thinking about earthquakes and hurricanes and terrorist attacks.  We buy insurance for our houses and our cars and our stuff and our bodies and even our lives.  We plan for these things that, in most cases, won’t ever happen to us.

Yet, not so strangely, we don’t do the same on the positive side.  Even most successful people never take home run swings.  They go to school for 20 years, settle into a profession, and grind away until retirement.  Maybe they time the housing or stock market right once or twice and pick up a few doubles along the way, but for the most part, like shitty drivers, they get in one lane and never leave.

Sebastian Marshall put out a great post yesterday, but one line caught my eye:

I keep layering success on top of success, my life is so weird and interesting and cool and crazy, but I don’t have any particularly rare talent. I just do a bunch of stuff that might work, and won’t hurt too bad if it doesn’t work.

That’s a great approach to have.  Going to school and grinding away is fine, but to be successful on another level, you’re eventually going to have to hit a home run.  The only way to do that is to go up and swing big every once in a while.  Try starting that side business.  Go after that big new client.  Try marketing that design, or that invention, or that idea you’ve had for years.

The upside is twofold: (1) Maybe you connect and crush it.  (2) Even if you miss completely, you’ll realize it doesn’t actually hurt that bad, which will make it even easier to swing the next time.

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