If You Are Afraid Of Losing……

Entrepreneurs, Risk, and Teddy Bears…


“Far Better is it to Dare Mighty Things

And be checkered by Failure…
Than to dwell in the perpetual Twilight
Which knows not Victory, nor Defeat.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

I first heard this quote from a very good friend and mentor of mine, during my college years.  I remember being shocked that there was another student in my MBA courses that actually had both an entrepreneurial and a philosophical spirit.  A lot of the other students were rigid, narrow minded, and very set in their ways, geared on the path of corporate America.

This is one quote I never have forgotten, and ever since hearing I have felt propelled to action and have lived in a grip of a vision.  When in doubt about decisions and choices, and many times in the face of great risk and uncertainty, this quote and its meaning have given me the strength to take action.

To dare the mightiest ideas, no matter how big, risking almost everything, this quote has given me the mojo and moxie to think BIGGER, take risk, and stay the course.

There have been times when I wished I hadn’t read Teddy’s inspirational words.    These words have always propelled me headlong into the unknown.  But, the alternative,  the safer route of not taking action, the idea of the “perpetual twilight”, always scared me more than the risk itself.

Self-Made Entrepreneurs don’t just capture the imagination:  They are the symbol of the American Dream. There is nowhere else in the world where people have the ability to start with nothing and become whatever they set out to be.   We have the ability, regardless of socio-economic status,  to achieve.

If you did not inherit wealth, as many of us have not and will not, the most likely avenue to making a lot of money is to think BIG and take a lot of risks.

Many of the wealthiest self-made entrepreneurs in the last 50 years have been willing to take HUGE risks a number of times, in order to accomplish their dreams.

These types of successful entrepreneurs seem to have a different perception of risk than the average person.  They think BIG, and they leverage those BIG ideas with whatever they have:  their home, real estate, even the shirt off their back.  To succeed they have to be 100% focused on winning and have the confidence to go against the conventional wisdom.  They also stay on course through thick and thin, overcoming mental barriers and obstacles along the way.

Sheldon Addelson, son of a Boston taxi driver, (a self-made entrepreneur worth a mere $20 billion in 2006), sums it up perfectly,

“The reality is that a lot of people have good ideas.  I am not the only guy in the world with good ideas.  But people are afraid to lose, and one of the main characteristics of practicing entrepreneurship is to be unafraid of losing.  If you are afraid of losing you will never attack something.  You must have a risk-taking mentality.  Even if I do lose I am not frightened to get up and try again.”

Although they experience anxiety about this risk and their new business venture, a burning sense of purpose and a supreme confidence in their ability overruns those fears.   Entrepreneurs have a fundamental need to control their own destiny and cannot find that opportunity in someone else’s organization so they create their own.

The bottom line is that in case after case, self-confidence and fearlessness, in the face of risk and uncertainty, are common traits for our nation’s wealthiest self-made entrepreneurs.  They also share a trait of being obsessed with their own vision.

In summary:

If you are considering an entrepreneurial venture or our currently stuck with a big move or decision, do the following:

1)    Write that Theodore Roosevelt quote down somewhere so you can see it every day.   That quote embodies the entire spirit and being of the Entrepreneur.  It will push you through some tough decisions when stuck.  This quote is the entrepreneur’s teddy bear when scared or faced with great risk/uncertainty.

2)    Think Big and Take Risks. You will certainly have to take some risks to make it big, especially if you are starting out on your own, did not inherit wealth and/or have limited funds.

3)    Take control and shatter the fear of risk and uncertainty.  Let the fear of not being in control of your own destiny drive your motivations.



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