“Leap, and the net will appear.” – John Burroughs
Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Paul Enfield on how you have to take risks, to get the rewards.
I’ve worked with Paul for many years at Microsoft, and he was one of my early mentors. I’ve learned a lot of life wisdom from him, and I thought this particular nugget was especially useful.
It’s about taking a leap of faith.
The big idea is that for so many things in life, there is no way to be 100% certain before we act.
We have to take risks.
We can spend all our time trying to make things certain, know the unknowables, and wait for the perfect conditions, or we can dive in a little more often.
We can do more big things and act on more windows of opportunity.
This is the heart of bold action.
Without further ado, here’s Paul on the leap of faith …
My Revelation that Changed Everything
Some life decisions we face can seem colossal. Some seem so large that we can get stuck attempting to reach our decision and fail to ever act.
I found myself in one of these situations when I came upon a revelation that empowered me to make my decision.
Quite a while back, I was faced with a decision on whether or not to propose to my wife.
While pondering the decision, I realized that no matter how much I thought about it, I would never be 100% sure that I was making the right choice.
It was at that time that I also realized this correlated to a concept I had learned in college Statistics class called “degree of certainty.”
In a simplistic form, degree of certainty indicates how likely it is that the decision is the correct one.
You can be fairly sure of your choice, and therefore have a high degree of certainty.
I also realized that different people will need to achieve different degrees of certainty before they will act upon their decisions.
You Will Never Be 100% Certain
However, the commonality would always be that you can never achieve 100% certainty on your decision.
Therefore we are always faced with a “gap” we must jump to reach 100% certainty.
I chose to name this gap the “leap of faith.”
I was 90% sure I should make this decision to propose, but was forced to realize that I must make this leap of faith if I were ever to make my decision.
Being armed with this truth is empowering.
Make Your Decision and Take Your Leap of Faith
Once you realize you must be willing to take a chance no matter what your decision, you can move forward and evaluate other factors.
Other factors might include what is the opportunity cost for not making the choice.
In other words, what will I lose if I fail to act?
Also, what is the benefit I can obtain by making the choice?
Empower yourself to make tough decisions.
Recognize your personal needs to support your decision and when you reach your threshold, jump.
Make your decision and take your leap of faith.
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