Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat. – Theodore Roosevelt
I am an analytical man by nature. Most of us would rather consider all possible outcomes to an event rather than forging ahead with immediate action. Example? Here are two cups. One contains something bad, the other contains something good. Drink one.
A reasonable person would say “whoa”. Does bad mean something nasty, or something fatal? Does good mean tastes good, or is it something that tastes horrible that is good for me? What does “good” mean, or “bad?” These questions are reasonable, and considering the vagueness of the original proposition quite proper.
Analysis is the enemy of opportunity. Opportunities in life – financial, personal, and so on – are often quite fleeting. Found a dream house in your dream neighborhood? Sitting around analyzing the costs and calculating down to the penny the cost of acquiring the house can take so much time that the house is bought by someone else. Maybe doing a quick 5-second back-of-the-envelope calculation and taking a leap would have secured the house. You may find the lack of analysis hurts your or helps you, but nothing ventured – nothing gained. The house may be a little too expensive, but the surest way NOT to find out is to analyze the possibilities until you have no option to buy.
I am sure a number of books and essays have been written on how your family, your education and your profession shape your life. No doubt they do – my family has always been conservative in life (although not in politics), my education took place entirely in the Deep South and my profession of auditing has shown me the awful result of risk one too many times. Learning to seize risk in mid-life is as difficult as learning a foreign language in mid-life; not impossible but a formidable task. I don’t think great reward is possible without some risk – and note that I said some risk, not great risk. Learning how to take some risk is central to success, because without some risk, success is rare and becoming rarer.