Risk is the price we must pay for personal growth
Risk is the name a poor person gives an opportunity
There is a beautiful story about 2 sales people of a shoe company sent to a deserted African country to examine business potential. The whiner calls his boss and says, “People here walk barefoot. They do not wear shoes at all. Our sales potential is zero”. The winner calls his boss and says, “People here walk barefoot. They do not wear shoes at all. We have no competition. The whole market is ours for the taking”.
Every success involves risk. It may sound funny, but the greater the risk, the greater the achievement. Poor people consider risk takers foolish, but those who excel will tell you that no achievement is ever accomplished by staying in your comfort zone.
The “comfort zone” is a very dangerous place, because it repels creativity and success. The comfort zone is the place where you welcome your fears with open arms and keep them company. There is nothing wrong with relaxing from time to time and resting before climbing the next mountain, but when we get too comfortable, out choices are eventually limited to getting up or drowning.
You have to risk going too far to discover just how far you can really go
At the age of 26, about 2 years after graduating from university, Gal and I were a very successful couple – we owned our home, we had a car, we had a child, I had a successful business and Gal had an awesome job. But life was too comfortable and without growth.
I remember the year we made the choice to start travelling. I had 30 kids on a waiting list for my early childhood center, but there was nothing exciting about it anymore. After 2 years of operation, I knew I could take a group of littlies and make them gifted. As soon as it became easy, it also became boring. No challenge, no growth.
The choice to take ourselves away from our families, from our hometown, from our country and from our language involved many/big risks, but the rewards were going to be greater.
Every person has their own comfort zone and whatever is comfortable for one is not necessarily comfortable for another. Find the range of your comfort zone. Boredom is a sign you are stepping into that zone. This is true in your relationships, in your job or career and on your journey to success. A victorious thrill of riding your bike at the age of 4 is gone when you are 14 and have been riding bikes for 10 years.
When you start saying, “This is too easy” or “It’s boring”, when you find out you no longer get up in the morning with excitement, you may be in your comfort zone. Think of it like swimming. If you always swim in the shallow water, you do not practice your swimming abilities or building your muscles. If you go into a river, you are at the mercy of the stream and you are going to drown. If you find yourself at the top of a waterfall, you will not be able to swim against the current and to save yourself. Practicing the hard stuff gives you more options.
Many people take risks when they have to, but then it is too late, because learning to swim during a flood or a strong tide may cost you your life. Make sure you choose risks you can handle, when you can always go back to the comfort zone of solid ground and not let the tide and circumstances choose your risks for you.
When you have found your comfort zone, start stretching yourself gradually. Risk letting go of some comfort and explore different parts of the stream of life. When it gets too much, you can always go back, recover and start again. Every time you go out of this zone, you grow a bit bigger, you accumulate small successes to add to your success tank and build your confidence further.
Success is the road and happiness is the reward
Losing a game is heartbreaking.
Losing your sense of excellence or worth is a tragedy
Poor people feel very sorry for successful people. To help themselves stay in that poor state, they watch successful people and only recognize what those who excel miss. Some of them say this is what happens when people succeed too much.
The first time Eden ever got an 80% score on a text in one of her university courses (that she really loved and wanted to succeed), she was upset for a week. Do you feel sorry for her? Some people asked me if it was worth it. They said Eden was upset because she was too used to getting high scores.
That really annoyed me. I wondered if they thought it was my job as her parent to teach her to get used to getting lower grades to avoid occasional disappointment. If you are feeling sorry for Eden, you can stop right now! Gal and I would rather her feel upset for a week in her life and learn to move on than suffer continuous humiliation, self doubt, fear of failure and low self confidence from having low standards and being used to failing (and 80% is hardly a failure).
Those who excel are not without feelings and they are sad when they do not reach their goals, but what seems to poor people a painful bleeding wound is barely a scratch on the surface for those who excel. I wish all the children in the world would get their first lowest score of 80% at the age of 21 and be sad for a week. And to all the parents, I wish they would teach their kids to “get used” to succeeding big time!
It is a myth that those who excel do not face challenges and difficulties, heartbreaks and even failures, but they are happier, because they are more capable, because they possess the greatest belief of all – “I can do it” – and with it, they can pick themselves up over and over again. They can use their accumulated success to bring more joy into their life. “Rich” people are happier!
The true currency of life is happiness and happy people can “buy” more of what life has to offer. Your success can be easily translated into comfort, relaxation, more time for fun, vacations to recharge your batteries and more. When you have enough money, you can go on a short vacation that will bring you a lot of joy and happiness and recharge your batteries to fight the challenges of the year. When you are rich, you can go on a longer vacation that will bring you greater joy and happiness and recharge your batteries even longer. If you are super rich, you can spend most of your life on vacation and be happy most of your time every year.
When we lived in Thailand for a year and a half and realized that travelling in our car, living in simple, authentic Thai places, eating real Thai food in remote places that foreigners never set foot in was a pure joy, we spent every spare day doing it. Out of a year and a half in Thailand, we travelled for half a year and our “batteries” were full for years later.
There is no speed limit on the road to excellence
David W. Johnson
2011 is starting now and it was the Be Happy in LIFE vision to help more and more people move into the success zone and from there to the excellence zone. We believe that everyone deserves to be successful even if circumstances have gotten them to a “poor” environment.
We believe that success is not a single victory but an attitude towards life and that as easily as we “get used” to mediocrity, we can “get used” to excellence.
Gal’s uncle always says, “It’s better to be young, rich and healthy than old, poor and sick”. We believe life is easier in the excellence zone and there are no limits to how much good you can have in your life. We believe that each success brings many happy moments and the happiness of big success lasts even longer.
May 2011 be full of successful and happy moments!
This post is part of the series Excellence:
- The Art of Excellence: Success with High Standards
- Fighting Poverty
- Risk, Success and Happiness
- In My Opinion