A reader who saw the image I posted reached out. He told me Elon would love that photo. This man knew Elon when he was poor.
After the PayPal exit he says Elon lost all of the winnings. Every week the man hosted a poker game in his loft in New York City. Elon came along one day and had to borrow money to play.
What struck him was that Elon didn’t act depressed. You’d never know he was broke or down on his luck. Or that he had to borrow money for a simple game of low-stakes poker.
He had the attitude he’d win again. The reader told me Elon had an unlimited risk profile because of his attitude. After these encounters with Elon he, too, changed his attitude.
It led him to take more risks and become wildly successful.
It’s a huge risk *not* to take risks
…and many of us don’t even know we’re doing it.
Many of us are not human.
We’ve accidentally become robots programmed by society. It makes us piss-easy to manipulate and direct. It makes us soft.
Don’t worry, I’m no Human-Jesus either.
I lived like a robot for far too long. I obsessed over never saying the wrong thing. I didn’t want to contradict myself under any circumstance. Not knowing the answer to a question in a work meeting when asked scared the hell out of me.
Then when I started writing online I was afraid to spark controversy. What if my boss saw it? What if my family saw it? And there’s no way I wanted people to feel uncomfortable — and I didn’t want to be uncomfortable either.
This is the default way of living and it’s screwed up.
The overarching theme that makes us live like robots is a lack of risk. It’s not always obvious we’re doing it either.
The average person I surveyed from my 172,000-person email list thinks they take plenty of risks. But when you dig deeper 1–1 they quickly admit they take barely any risk.
It’s not a surprise at all. Taking risks makes us uncomfortable.
This is why so many people are bored with life
The average person isn’t unhappy if you ask them.
But here’s the thing: they’re not jumping from the rafters and screaming “hell yeah, baby!” either. They’re awake. Breathing. Have a pulse.
So what’s the problem?
They don’t feel much about anything. They’re numb. They’re surviving. They’re going through the motions and showing up (barely). But deep down inside they feel like they were born for more.
Every time that feeling boils to the surface they push it back down again or delay it and say the god-awful phrase “s-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-m-m-m-e-e-e-d-a-y.”
What ends up happening is they do the same sh*t every day for the rest of their life. They end up drowning in a mountain of regrets, and it’s too late to change it by the time they figure it out.
Here’s the other problem rarely spoken about…
If you don’t take risks and force yourself into uncomfortable situations, you end up being 50 years old with the emotional maturity of a 15 year old — Dan Koe
That’s why we have so many adult babies walking around. And why there are so many unhappy people who don’t know why.
Without risks we’re nothing more than children playing in the sandpit. If one small thing goes wrong, like we get sand in our eyes, our parents will grab us out, clean away the sand, and save us.
It’s no way to live though, because in adulthood those authority figures can manipulate us. They can take away our jobs, livelihood, money, etc. You’re not self-sufficient when you live this way.
You’re an invisible prisoner of society.
The type of bizarre decisions you want to make
Erik Bertrand Larssen is a former paratrooper.
He wrote a book about the weird phenomenon that is the navy seals’ Hell Week ritual. It’s where soldiers who want to become navy seals go through a series of tasks designed to test them. And that can easily kill them.
A quote from his book stands out:
A choice without risk is either a false choice or a choice not worth making.
Decisions move our lives forward. They create alternate realities. The trouble is most of us are making decisions with no risks, or worse, decisions not worth making in the first place.
We’ll spend all day thinking about what to cook for dinner. Or a whole week deciding what the next holiday is.
It feels like progress but it’s fake progress.
There’s no risk involved. These decisions are more distractions than life-changing choices. We should be focusing our finite energy on real decisions, decisions that carry risks.
When you don’t take risks you’re not free.
The formula anyone can follow to take smart risks
If you’ve decided that doing the same sh*t for the rest of your life isn’t how you want to live anymore, there is another way (courtesy of James Clear).
Step 1: When nothing is working, explore and make a lot of small bets.
Step 2: After something starts working, double down on what works best.
Step 3: When that stops working, explore and make a lot of small bets again.”
This is the 3-step formula I use.
It gets me out of my head and into action. It forces me to make mistakes that create real wisdom instead of following theories or endlessly searching for mentors. And I don’t overanalyze decisions as much.
Here are some risks you could consider taking:
- Change industries in your career
- Invest in stocks
- Invest in startups
- Self-publish a book
- Launch a weekly newsletter
- Fire up Tinder and go on lots of dates
- Read a controversial book
- Buy Bitcoin/Ethereum
- Move to a new state/country
- Start an online business
- Post daily on social media
If you don’t take risks you haven’t earned the right to an ROI from your efforts. Take smarter risks and become a person of action who’s not terrified to fail in front of a fake audience that isn’t paying attention.