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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 10, 2007 / 22 Iyar, 5767

In praise of risk

By Larry Elder


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I received an e-mail the other day from a friend who thanked me for my advice. Having long ago lost touch with him, I barely remembered the incident to which he referred.


Years ago, he and I spent an afternoon on a boat on Lake Erie, next to Cleveland. He began complaining about his job, and after quietly listening for several minutes, I said, "And what do you intend to do about it?" He stared back, somewhat blankly. I repeated, "What do you intend to do about it?"


He told me that it never occurred to him that he had the option of simply reassessing his situation, perhaps quitting his job altogether and starting something different. He told me he'd once thought about leaving and starting a business, but, after all, that entailed risk and he feared disaster.


I told him, "The worst disaster is to look back and say, 'What if?'" He asked me why I felt so strongly about taking chances, and I told him a story.


When I practiced law in the late '70s, my law firm offered the chance to spend the summer working for the United Way as a "loan executive." As an L.E., I learned to give a speech about the organization -- the percentage of the donated dollar that gets down to the beneficiaries, the efficiency of the organization, etc.


I agreed to participate in the program upon one condition -- that my United Way supervisor assign me to the business division. As an L.E. for the business section, my job required me to meet first with CEOs of medium and large corporations. The CEO and I would then get into a car and drive to a non-United Way supporting colleague of the CEO's, at which time I would make my pitch to the nonparticipating CEO's workforce. I chose the business sector so that I could have some one-on-one face time -- usually an hour each way in the car -- with these successful CEOs. I asked them how they got started. Why they went into business. What mistakes they made along the way. And, most important, I asked, if you were starting out today, knowing what you know now, what advice would you have given yourself?


Mind you, each of these CEOs ran successful companies with gross revenues from 25 million to over 100 million in 1970s dollars. Nearly all started out in humble circumstances, without inherited wealth. They started a business, with some, at first, failing a couple of times. One business distributed shoes. Another shipped goods. Another manufactured car antennae. These 50-something CEOs were, in my mind, huge risk-takers.


But when I asked what advice they would've given themselves as youthful entrepreneurs, all said the same thing: "Take more risks."


These men told me about opportunities they had walked away from, not because they presented poor opportunities, but because they feared taking on too much. Again, many of these entrepreneurs started businesses and failed. But they considered the "failures" learning experiences that hardened and wizened them for future opportunities. All regretted, however, that they failed to stick their necks out even more. "Larry, don't be afraid to fail," they all told me with more or less those same words.


Though I obtained my law degree, I expected my career path to lead elsewhere. I practiced law for about two-and-a-half years and then started a small business that I ran, with reasonable success, for 15 years. I then turned my energies to political and social commentary, and moved into television and radio. I always wanted to write, and managed, in books and columns, to pull it off.


I just turned 55 years old. I consider my life blessed. My mom recently died, but lived to a robust, hearty 81 years. My dad, at 91 years old, still lives in the house where I grew up. We talk every day. I'm lucky that I get to see him frequently, and he remains in excellent health. He takes pride in being "independent and self-supporting." That's his way of declining my numerous offers to come and live with me. He still makes me laugh.


I feel that I perform meaningful work, and I embrace my faith and cherish my family and friends.


But . . . I wish I had taken more risk.

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JWR contributor Larry Elder is the author of, most recently, "Showdown: Confronting Bias, Lies and the Special Interests That Divide America." (Proceeds from sales help fund JWR) Let him know what you think of his column by clicking here.

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate

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