Best Advice: The Worst Thing You Can Do Is Nothing

February 2, 2015 LinkedIn Influencer

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People assume that hard work alone is all they need to succeed. I would argue that’s not quite true. My success in business, and in particular at Herjavec Group, has been achieved with a mix of careful preparation, calculated risks, the development of a world-class team and, of course, a dose of good luck. It has NOT by any means been achieved by idleness.

Time and time again we hear the analogy between climbing a mountain and the road to success: Life is a lot like climbing a mountain, with the ultimate prize of success (whether it be monetary, career, or interpersonal) waiting at the top.

Assuming you want success badly enough, you start climbing, taking risks along the way. You plot each step, consider each handhold, and measure each crevasse to make sure you can leap safely to the other side. Each step you take brings you closer either to success or failure.

There comes a time when climbers on their way to the top reach a critical juncture and are faced with three options.

  1. Retreat: If you decide that a barrier can’t be overcome, you can abandon it entirely. Retreating does not always mean failure. Quite often we should return to ground level to reassess the situation and come up with a better plan of attack.
  2. Take a Calculated Risk: Accept that there is a chance you will fail to make the leap across a chasm, or the rock you are about to step on may crumble, but understand that the rewards far outweigh the risk.
  3. Do Nothing: This is all too common among those who are not fully committed to success — in a word, you freeze. Unable or unwilling to back down, and unable to take the risk that will keep you moving upward, you remain somewhere in the limbo between total success and ultimate failure. One is inaccessible, the other intolerable.

Michael Jordan had his own way of making the same point. “Some people want it to happen, some people wish it would happen, others make it happen.” When I quoted this to someone once, they replied, “And some people stand around and ask ‘What the hell just happened?'”

Similarly, Mark Udall once said, “You don’t climb mountains without a team, you don’t climb mountains without being fit, you don’t climb mountains without being prepared, and you don’t climb mountains without balancing the risks and rewards. And you never climb a mountain by accident – it has to be intentional.”

Action is better than inaction. If you stay on the mountain and do nothing, you will freeze to death. You have to try, fail, learn, do it over in order to grow. You have one life to live and it’s time to stop making excusing and start making progress. The best advice I’ve ever received, and the advice I’ll share with you:

Get out there and do something. Take action.