Take Risks Enthusiastically – And Watch Your Success Grow

“The number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I can fail and keep on trying.”

Tom Hopkins

2 Paths to Happiness and Success

I’ve asked hundreds of thousands of people what they want out of life, and the strange thing is … I get one of two answers from almost everyone. People say, “I just want to be happy” or “I want to be successful.” That’s fine, but HOW do you make sure you get those things? It will be the subject of my new book coming out this year, “The Payoff Principle.”

For the moment, let me give you two brief answers to those questions.

1. Pump up your enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm is important. No, let me re-phrase that. Enthusiasm is crucial.

Indeed, some of the best minds and most successful people in the world have said as much. Author and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson observed that “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” Great things have always been accomplished with enthusiasm, not apathy. And Charles Schwab, who started out as a laborer and finished as the Chairman of the Board of Bethlehem Steel, noted, “A person can succeed at anything for which there is enthusiasm.”

In addition to being crucial in your own life, enthusiasm is also one of the keys to successful leadership. If you want more cooperation from others, you must have enthusiasm. Your followers … plain and simple … will not get more excited about a project than you are personally.

Your enthusiasm as a leader sets the standard for everyone else’s energy and commitment … because enthusiasm is contagious. Enthusiasm is a force that jumps from person to person like an electrical spark. In fact, it is almost impossible to be exposed to someone’s enthusiasm for very long without catching some of it.

If enthusiasm is so critical to your success and happiness, then you’re probably wondering what is this dynamic force. Literally speaking, the English word “enthusiasm” comes from the Greek word “entheos,” which means “filled with God” or “full of life and spirit.”

But I like to think of enthusiasm as three dimensional: physical, mental, and spiritual. Physically, enthusiasm is pure, rugged energy, not a sweet syrupy emotion that caves in when the difficult times arrive. Mentally, enthusiasm is intellectual zeal and fervor, a desire for growth, learning, and a better life. Spiritually, enthusiasm is the boldness to believe that good balances out evil in life and that there is something good to be found in every situation.

Of course, you may say, “That’s all well and good, but what if a person is not enthusiastic?” What if you personally struggle with low self-esteem, a certain degree of apathy, or an attitude of “another day, another dollar”?

The good news is you can deliberately make yourself enthusiastic if you follow a few simple steps. My book on “PIVOT: How One Turn In Attitude Can Lead To Success” is filled with those steps and strategies. As Jan Hughes, an Agency Field Support Specialist for one of the largest insurance companies in the world, said, “I just finished a book study on ‘PIVOT’ in our office. All I can say is … Wow! That book spoke to so many of us!! Thanks for your help! We look forward to seeing you in November! We have you scheduled to speak at our Agents Conference.”

And Samantha Brown writes, “Just wanted to thank you for all your incredible work. A friend got me hooked on your ‘Tuesday Tips,’ and I then purchased PIVOT. Both my husband and I read it, and I can honestly say it changed our lives. I’ve recommended your book to all of our family and friends!”

If you’d like to get your copy of “PIVOT: How One Turn In Attitude Can Lead To Success,” it is available once again. It just came out last week in its fifth printing.

Click here to get a copy of “Pivot”

So one way to grab more of the happiness and success you want is to pump up your enthusiasm. But a second way is just as powerful, and chances are you never thought about it.

2. Take more risks.

Everyone has a comfort zone, and to some extent, everyone lives inside their comfort zone. People just seem to do what is comfortable to do. So they stick with familiar faces at a party, sit in the same place at church, go to coffee with the same people at work, and do things “the way they’ve always done them.”

Unfortunately, you will pay a price when you spend too much of your life in comfort-zone living. When you skip new adventures and bypass new learning experiences, you end up feeling blah, bored, or unenthusiastic.

But the exciting thing about stepping outside your comfort zone is that the payoff is always positive. If you take a risk and the risk works out the way you had hoped it would, you feel pumped up and enthusiastic. If the risk doesn’t work out the way you had hoped it would, you feel disappointed, of course, but you also feel proud of yourself for having the courage to try.

So take more risks. That’s what Ben Hoover did. In fact, this very week Hoover wrote me, saying, “I have been reading your ‘Tuesday Tips’ for years, and I have always tried to follow your ‘Action’ at the end of each Tip. About a year ago I decided to take a risk and step outside my comfort zone and write a short manual on successful selling tips that I have found useful over the years in my career. Last month I self-published a book on Amazon, ‘Selling The Fly: A Fly Fisherman’s Guide To Sales, Customers, and How To Catch A Fish.’ Thanks for all you do and all the information, motivation and good advice you have provided me over the years.”

As you take more risks, I’m not suggesting that you take stupid, dangerous risks just for the heck of it. No, I’m suggesting that you take “positive” risks for “positive” outcomes. Positive risk means that you try on some new behaviors — even though they may be uncomfortable — because you know it’s right and good. A positive risk may be sharing your feelings of love, even though you’re not that “type” of person, because you know people need to hear about your love. A positive risk may be trying out a new lecture at school, even though the old one was okay, because you know there’s a difference between teaching for thirty years and teaching one year thirty times.

To take more positive risks, adopt a “why not” attitude. If a good idea comes into your mind, say “why not?” Why not go for it? As Senator Robert Kennedy once said, “Some people see things as they are and say ‘why?’ I dream things that never were and ask ‘why not?'”

Action:  List two positive risks you will take this week and then do them.  What did you learn?  And what will you do differently next time?