Success in business or life is the end result of a series of smaller successes and failures. The idea is to have the sequence balance out in favour of success. The question becomes, is it better to have more or bigger successes or should I go for smaller or fewer failures.
Your answer to that will say a good deal about you and a good deal about the likelihood of enduring success.
If you want to go for bigger, quicker or more spectacular successes, then you automatically include the prospect of bigger failures. We can see examples. How great would your successes need to be to overcome failures like drug addiction, marriage breakdown, criminal behaviour, failed health, large business losses, or early death.
For some of us, the need for something special overcomes the fear of something catastrophic and avoidable. People who thrive on “the action” sometimes end up poorly. I met a professional gambler once who had an easily told life story. “I have been a millionaire six times and broke seven.” Many entertainers and athletes end up badly.
On the avoid huge mistakes side of things, your wins can be smaller if your losses are near invisible. You can make small losses the limit if you look far enough in the future. If you do that, you can painstakingly build a career, find the right spouse, budget your earnings towards security and independence and insure catastrophes. Not spectacular, but near certain.
In some ways it is like a situation where you visit a neighborhood of million dollar homes. In house #1 is a person who owns a business that has run successfully for more than 20 years. His neighbour in house #2 is an orthodontist. House #3 is home to an unemployed busboy who won $20 million in a lottery. If you want to make a financially successful life, the occupant of house #3 is an unlikely candidate for your muse.
House #1 and #2 are based on process. House #3 is an event.
Success in life is two-fold.
- Provide yourself with the tools. Attitude, energy, skill, support
- Avoid foreseeable big losses.
Both require an early start and a long view. Both are doable by anyone. It’s process.
Don Shaughnessy arranges life insurance for people who understand the value of a life insured estate. He can be reached at The Protectors Group, a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency in Peterborough, Ontario. In previous careers, he has been a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business.
Please be in touch if I can help you. email@example.com 866-285-7772