Play The Game of Life As If You Have Nothing to Lose


November 26, 2011   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

A few days ago I was surfing with a friend of mine and what appeared to be a perfect wave appeared on the horizon. So, I started paddling for it. From where my friend was sitting he could see exactly what the wave was going to do, so I shouted to him “is it going to close out?” and he yelled back “no , just GO!!.” By the time I had tried to go it was too late.

Hesitation killed it for me.

I am not saying to never hesitate OR never think. I am saying that at some point, it’s time for immediate action!

The Opportunity Cost of Hesitation
My hesitation had cost me what might have been one of the best waves of the day. Many of us behave the same way in life. We linger on the edge of decisions, choices and commitments. We hesitate and opportunities pass us by. Hesitation is the kiss of death when it comes to progress. Even if you manage to take action, you do it from a place of reluctance which increases the likelihood that you’ll fail.

If I had actually gone for that wave it’s almost guaranteed that I would have wiped out because I wasn’t fully committed to it.

Playing the Game as if You’ve Got Nothing to Lose
“Proceed with caution” might as well be the first rule on the chalkboard at school. But what a disaster that such an instruction holds us back in ways that we can’t even imagine because we’ve become so caught up in playing it safe and sticking to the tried and true path. As we get older and experience more of what life has to offer, our tolerance for risk significantly decreases, and in parallel the possibility of living an extraordinary life.

If you want to get big results you have to take big risks. Nobody made a fortune or ever got everything they wanted out of life by playing it safe. In a recent interview when I asked an employee at the company if it was an organization that encouraged taking risks, she replied, “I don’t like the word risk” and proceeded to discuss how to innovate within these boundaries.

Paralysis by analysis keeps far too many people from taking action. fact most of the time the only way you’re going to find out if something will be a success is by just doing it.

Do you Really Have Anything to Lose?
The part of taking a risk that never ceases to amaze me is how many of us fear losing something that we don’t have in the first place. Our minds are great at playing tricks on us and putting us into endless loops like this:

  • “If you go and talk to that girl that you find attractive, she might think you’re an idiot or she might turn you down.” Does it matter considering you don’t have her in the first place? What are you really going to lose?
  • “If you write this and share it with people what if they think you’re crazy, think your article is garbage or don’t agree with you.” It’s not like you have the traffic, comments or reaction from that post right now. So what exactly are you afraid to lose?
  • “If this crazy wild eyed dream of mine doesn’t work out then the whole world will be laughing publicly and saying I told you so.” Considering you haven’t accomplished the dream, you’re really not losing anything. It’s far easier for people to stand on the sidelines and critique another person than it is to play the game themselves. Be wary of these people.

The willingness to take a leap of faith and stand on the edge of success with adversity as the catalyst will carry you far beyond your own expectations if you can stay the course. The question really is do you have what it takes?


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