Dan Waldschmidt

by Dan Waldschmidt

November 20, 2012

What You Would Do If You Knew You Couldn’t Lose.

Nothing different than you are doing right now. That’s the truth.  Ugly perhaps.  But the truth.

We often work ourselves up into “hypothetical overload” standing around pretending like we would live our lives differently if we magically knew that nothing we would do could fail.

If you have ever been to a motivational workshop or seminar, you know how effectively speakers use this line of thinking: “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t lose?  What would you do?  That’s what you need to do right now…”

Hysterics aside, that’s just not how life works.

That’s not how you are wired to think or act or perform. You do fail. You always will fail. And the potential of not failing doesn’t change what you would do or could do one tiny little bit.

In fact, the chances you could lose makes the conquest all the more exciting. Chances are, if you knew that you couldn’t lose, you wouldn’t try all that hard. Why would you? After all, you are guaranteed to be successful.

But that doesn’t make any sense.  How can you be successful without feeling the sting of loss and failure?  There is no success – big audacious success – without the overwhelming odds that you could lose it all.

And that makes what you’re doing important.

Almost magical. You can lose. You will lose. Sometimes badly.

But you also get a chance to win. To win big. To attempt things that no one else in the world has the guts to achieve like you do. That’s what you get to do. That’s your opportunity.

It’s a better opportunity than a free ride.  It’s more fulfilling than walking down “easy street”. You know that at any time, you’re only a few steps away from being a complete loser. The only thing that separates you from utter disaster is your will to win.

So enough with the stupid, hypothetical questions.

Life isn’t hypothetical. It’s not hyperbole. It’s painful and sad and gritty at times.  Along the way you are guaranteed to lose time and friends and money.  Sometimes self-respect, dignity, and courage.

But losing is for winners. Winners lose.  And then they stand back on their feet and fight on.  That’s what they do, knowing that they could lose again. And likely will.

Here’s the truth.  You wouldn’t do anything differently if you knew you couldn’t lose. You probably aren’t doing anything different right now, knowing full well that if you put in enough effort you’ll win big.

Perhaps the better question is: “What will you do knowing that you’re likely to lose for awhile before thing start working out?”

That’s not hypothetical. That’s the choice you have to make right now.

About the author

Dan Waldschmidt

Dan Waldschmidt doesn’t just talk about leveling up. He’s obsessed with it. He's set records as an ultra-runner and been the personal strategist for the leading business leaders of our time. He wrote a book, called EDGY Conversations that accidentally became a worldwide bestseller and continues to share his insights from the stage as a keynote speaker and on the blogs and podcasts you will find here. Most days, you'll find Dan heads-down, working on breakthrough strategies for his clients at EDGY Inc, a highly-focused, invite-only, business strategy execution company based out of Silicon Valley.