If you have to know it in order to do it, you’ll only do what you know – and never will you grow.
Today, more than ever, we all need to anticipate the future and take strategic risks to thrive in a world that offers limited jobs, but “unlimited opportunities.” How many streams of income do you have? How many new ventures are you pursuing or investing in? What are you doing differently today than you did last month? How are you building your fortune and helping others to do the same?
Study successful brands and you’ll clearly see that they all take risks to maintain and expand market dominance and societal exposure. The Donald, Oprah, Nike, Coke, Dan Schawbel, Jay Block and all those who have created and manage their brands take risks. And even though many risks taken don’t pan out as expected, successful brands keep taking them anyway. All endeavors requiring growth require risk. We all know that in today’s world, if we stand still, we’re actually falling behind. And if we don’t move forward “quickly” in this highly competitive and ever-changing world and global market, we risk failure. Personally, I can attest to the fact that for every success I have ever had, I’ve had to endure and overcome 10 or more setbacks. But I also know if I didn’t take the risks and overcome the setbacks to attain the goals and the successes I aspired to, I’d probably be washing dishes in a restaurant.
America exists because the American Revolution was a huge risk. Accomplishment and success is rooted in risk. And the truth of the matter is that today, more than ever in our capitalist history, risk is not only mandatory; but critical to our future. Indeed, most of us need reminding more than we need educating. So I’d like to remind you of what you, most likely, already know. Years ago, my success coach had me read “The Parable of the Talents.” I had no idea what a Talent was, except possibly someone on American Idol. I was corrected and was informed that it was a form on money in biblical times.
Even if you know this story, I suggest you revisit it as I did this past week. In the midst of completing my new book with co-author Sharon Calvin, we decided that perhaps we could do a better job self publishing the book rather than using a traditional publisher (McGraw-Hill has published 10 of my books). I questioned whether we should take the risk of investing our resources of time, money, and energy in self publishing. Admittedly, I became apprehensive of taking a risk. So I reread “The Parable of the Talents.” After reading this anecdote for the umpteenth time, I was reminded that we MUST take the risk. And as such, made a comfortable decision to self publish.
So even though this story is old and most of us know it, I promise you that you’ll find value in reviewing it one more time. And if you are reading it for the first time… you’re in for a special treat.
The story of the talents
One day a man was going on a long trip. He needed his servants to take care of his property while he was gone, so he called them to him. To the first servant he gave 5 Talents of money (Equivalent to about $1,000). This man went to work at once investing the money until he had doubled it. He now had 10 Talents instead of 5.
The master gave the second man 2 Talents. He probably thought the man was capable of managing that amount of money. The second man was also successful and doubled his money. He began with 2 Talents and now had twice as much.
The third man was not as capable as the other two, but the master gave him 1 Talent with the expectation that he would manage it well. However, the third man feared taking a risk. Unquestionably he too could have increased his money, but decided the risk was too great and dug a hole in the ground where he buried the 1 Talent.
After a long while, the master returned and asked for a report from his servants. The man who had received 5 Talents brought his money and showed the master that he had doubled it. He was happy to show his master the results. The master was well pleased and said, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful and wise. I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
The man that had been given 2 Talents showed the master that he too had doubled his money. He received the same words of praise as the first man who had produced 10 talents; and shared in his master’s happiness.
The man who had received 1 Talent dug up the Talent he had buried and brought it to the master. He accused the master of being a hard man to work for. He said he had been afraid to take a risk; so he just buried his 1 Talent in the ground to protect what he had. He gave it back to the master saying, “See, here is what belongs to you.”
The master was very angry with him and called him a wicked, lazy servant. He said the man should have at least put the money with bankers and received some interest. The master took his 1 Talent away from him and gave it to the man who had 10 Talents; and punished the 1-Talent man because he had not properly invested the Talent he had been entrusted with.
What can we learn from this story?
We need to use whatever “Talents” we have. It might be money, ability, knowledge, or opportunity. If we invest our “Talents” wisely, our value and success will increase to achieve all that we are capable of. Success requires that we take wise and calculated risks.
And yes, sometimes you have to do what you don’t know, because “if you have to know it, in order to do it, you’ll only do what you know,” and will wind up with just 1 Talent.
Jay Block is an industry pioneer and the nation’s leading motivational career coach. Jay is a best-selling author of 15 books, including his latest blockbuster: 101 Best Ways To Land a Job in Troubled Times (McGraw-Hill). He has a 20-year record of success for creating and recreating the career management industry. His website is: www.jayblock.com