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The Thing About Risks and Why We Love Our Heroes That Take Them

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In light of Kobe Bryant’s death on January 26, 2020 from a helicopter tragedy, I am compelled to write about the risk profile that many of our heroes and industry titans must face and master on the path to success. The question I’m pondering is this: Do all successful people, by nature, become numb to risk-taking? Is a risk-taking tendency almost a prerequisite of success, regardless of industry? Are all successful people inherently delusional, as a prerequisite to pushing the boundaries required to excel in their lines of work?

Actor Will Smith said as much in a YouTube interview:“There’s a certain delusional quality that all successful people have to have. You have to believe that something different than what has happened for the last 50 million years of history, you have to believe that something different can happen.”

In Bryant’s case, CNN reported minutes before the crash occurred, the pilot of the doomed helicopter had requested special permission to continue flying despite foggy weather conditions. The last thing heard from the pilot to air traffic control was that he was trying to avoid a cloud layer. It didn’t work.

Why had the pilot requested special visual flight rules clearance—which would allow a pilot to fly during poorer weather conditions than those allowed for normal visual flight rules? We don’t know what happened for sure on that flight, but it’s safe to say that risks were taken with the weather conditions—risks that may not have been taken under different circumstances, or with different passengers on board.

The truth is we will never know and the world is left mourning the loss of nine souls which left us too soon.

The Voice Inside

The journey to success is lonely. Those who have made it have learned to listen to their own inner voice rather than the voices on the sidelines telling them to quit or their goals are too lofty. This is a blessing and a curse, especially when it’s the inner voice that got you to the mountaintop.

It’s easy to think of other successful risk-takers whose stories ended prematurely. A recent example was pro racecar driver Jessi Combs, who was dubbed “the fastest woman on four wheels.” At age 39, Combs died trying to best her own record speed of 398 miles per hour, which she had recorded in 2013. She crashed in Oregon’s Alvord Desert.

Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs was known to push the envelope. He had been pushing the envelope his whole life. He tried to do the same thing with his cancer treatment and it didn’t work out. Live Science published a piece that explored, Did Alternative Medicine Kill Steve Jobs

The article notes, Jobs delayed the recommended medical treatment for pancreatic cancer for nine months. He attempted to treat his condition through alternative medicine and eating a special diet. It required surgically removing the tumor.

Not all risk-taking results in the uber-successful losing their life, but other things may be lost by “going all in.” Jim Carrey described “losing himself” while method acting as Andy Kaufman for the film “Man on the Moon.” An article by Josh Rottenberg for the Los Angeles Times described Carrey “plunging himself so deeply into the role that he was never the same again.”

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far it is possible to go.” – T.S. Eliot

Ripping the Envelope Open

Other successful risk-takers (who are still alive connected to their own identities, and continuing to reap big rewards from their risk-taking) are founder of Virgin Airlines Richard Branson, whose risk-taking exploits Alison Coleman writing for Forbes called “the stuff of legend.” “…as I’ve always said, no one ever reached for the stars from the comfort of their couch!” Branson said in Coleman’s Forbes interview.

A few more examples:

  • Dropbox’s Drew Houston—who was told by Steve Jobs that Apple’s iCloud service would take over the Dropbox market—took a big risk in not selling to Apple. Now Houston’s company is worth $12 billion.
  • Oracle’s Larry Ellison—Oracle wasn’t always the most popular database company in the world. Ellison had to take many risks to propel the once struggling tech firm to domination, once even mortgaging his house to keep the business going via a credit line.
  • Uber’s Travis Kalanick—Uber’s co-founder, who also co-founded the now bankrupt file sharing company Scour Exchange, was accused of copyright infringement. Kalanick didn’t let failure stop him, and overrode funding challenges and many competitors in the ridesharing app space to ultimately become the behemoth.
  • Pinterest’s Ben Silbermann—Silbermann already had an enviable job at Google when he left to form Pinterest. It wasn’t an instant hit, with only 3,000 accounts. Silbermann stuck with it, running the site out of a small apartment for a while. Eventually, the app was launched on iOS and the rest is history. The company is now valued at $12.7 billion.

“You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky

You don’t have to be famous to be a risk-taker to fit this profile. I know that even in my own business, I have practiced “the success delusion.” There have been many times when I have had to convince myself that things are better than they really are in an effort to keep moving forward.

One of the reasons we love our heroes is because they step into the unknown and gamble. We, as mere mortals, marvel at it. I know that it isn’t that these champions are free from fear but that they are not paralyzed by it. Every person on that helicopter on Jan. 26 was a hero and a risk taker. May we celebrate their lives and may their legacy inspire every one of us.

What do you think—are all successful people inherently a little delusional?

My name is Paul Argueta. I have been featured on the Inc 5000 list twice. I own a real estate brokerage and employ over 100 independent contractors as real estate agents. I am a huge sports nut and decided that I would find a way to combine sports with real estate. These days I assist Pro Athletes during their relocation process and even E-Sports gamers. I am happily married with 5 children. Balancing the pursuit of success while being a present husband and father is a challenge and my passion. You can reach me at https://www.facebook.com/talktopaulargueta.

Success Advice

7 Ways to Face Adversity Using the Power of Extreme Ownership

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Adversity is an inevitable part of our lives, and it is an important and defining factor of our personal story. The stories we build for ourselves in the face of adversity will either empower or discourage us emotionally, help us move forward or remain stuck in the past, allow us to grow or to decline. (more…)

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Why Your Confidence Needs to Match Your Competence

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Even if you produce amazing results at your job or in other areas of your life, others may still not see you as being competent if you lack the confidence to back it up. If you are good at your job, exuding confidence will ensure others also recognize your competence in your area of expertise. And research backs this up. (more…)

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5 Things You Can Learn From The 5am Club by Robin Sharma

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It has been said by Robin Sharma, “5 AM is the time of least distraction, highest human glory, and greatest peace.” This also happens to be the central idea or the core value he has discussed in his book, ‘The 5 Am Club.’ Speaking of early mornings, at what time do you wake up? Are you annoyed by the fact that you wake up on the edge of time and then rush to work in haste? 

The life lessons put forth by The 5 AM Club are exactly the learning and motivation you need to challenge your complacency. In your race against time, you may not have the time to read this fabulous book. So, we have summed up the key book’s takeaways for your convenience.

1. The vigor of waking up early

This is what the book’s most fundamental advice to everyone is. Waking up at 5 am every day can work wonders to avert failures and make success a natural habit. When we wake up at 5 am, we have more time on our hands than others. Besides, this is when we have minimum interruptions and maximum powerfulness of the mind. 

To add, the early morning peace is priceless! You can schedule your most important tasks of the day between 5am, and 8am. This book teaches us in the simplest way, how we can train our mind and strengthen it to deliver the highest productivity by waking up early. This energy that you have when you wake up in the morning and the few additional hours in your day are what serve as perfect ingredients for success.

“The secret to productivity is simplicity.” – Robin Sharma

2. The power of finding the right balance in life

The book talks about a precious lesson of finding the right balance within. We often talk about the need for mindfulness and achieving the right mindset to perceive things. But this book goes a few steps ahead of our usual approach to life. It highlights the vitality of mindset and introduces the concepts of heartset, healthset, and soulset.

These terms may seem new, but they are self-explanatory. The idea of heartset endorses the essentialness of emotional stability and well-being. Next, the perspective of healthset indicates the need to look after physical health. At last, soulset is an attribute of spirituality. As explained in this book, success prospects can be enhanced big time by achieving the right balance between these internal virtues.

3. The iconic 20/20/20 modus operandi

What is the first thing you will do if you start waking up at 5 am every day? Did you ever spare a thought about it? This book has the answer to this question, and you will be convinced that it is a great way to begin your day!. The author suggests that you should split the first hour of the day into three equal parts of 20 minutes each.

In the first 20 minutes of the day, you should prioritize your physical fitness and exercise. In the next 20 minutes, you should energize your soul and spirit via self-reflection and soulful meditation. This will prepare you for the rest of the day and will enable you to bolster your commitment and focus. In the last 20 minutes of the first hour, you should read and learn. But what are you going to read about in those 20 minutes? Read about successful people and their inspiring journeys to the pinnacle of success.

4. The significance of a proper sleep schedule

In this book, there is a mention of ‘a ferocious global sleep recession’, which is intriguing and enlightening. It hints at the state of sleep deprivation that this world is sinking into gradually. We often associate success and hard work with the notion of staying up all night and testing our endurance beyond limits. But that is not the right approach to accomplishing success, or rather, it is a flawed methodology.

Sometimes even if we do not have any critical work, we keep whiling our night time on social media or television. What are we gaining from it is the real question, and I am afraid the answer is nothing! We learn from this book that it is critical to look after your sleep cycle and start your day at 5 am afresh. Sleep and rest are indispensable for mental and physical well-being, or your productivity will decline.

“If you want to have the results only 5% have, you must be willing to do and think like only 5% do and think.” – Robin Sharma

5. The art of evolving

The book sheds light on the need to be spiritual and master self-reflection. However, do you realize the purpose that the routine of reflection each morning serves? The idea is to keep learning, keep reflecting on the mistakes and keep evolution an ongoing process. You should evolve every day and strive to be a better version of yourself every day. So, one of your primary goals after waking up should be to reflect on your actions and missed opportunities of the previous day.

To recapitulate, The 5 AM Club is a must-read book if you are a passionate reader. It has the prowess and charm to refurbish your perception of life altogether. Even if you cannot read the book for some reason, make sure you incorporate the above key takeaways into your life. By starting your day at 5 am, you can rediscover your lost soul and enthusiasm, and you would not have complaints to make about the lack of time. If you can own your mornings, you can go places on the ladder of success, for excuses are only for those who are not committed to their goals.

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Prepare Yourself for Prosperity With These 6 Success Habits

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Success stories don’t come from naturally successful people. They come from ordinary people with starry eyes and big dreams who stayed true to their end goal and consistently put in the work. They are just like you and me. What sets them apart is their mindset — a success mindset. (more…)

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