So you’re thinking, what is going on? Isn’t this Nathan’s blog? Mr. Positive Thinking, Mr. Radiant Optimist?

“You are never safe”? That’s a downer.

“You are never safe” is a quotation on business success from an entrepreneur named Chris Mittelstaedt, CEO of FruitGuys, a $6 million company (Reader’s Digest, June/July 2010, p. 80; see ending comment*).

Asked what keeps him up at night, Mittelstaedt replied, “I am constantly questioning my judgment and decisions. Is the business stable? Are we capable of change? Are we responding to our customers?”

Asked what makes him an entrepreneur, he gave the classic entrepreneur’s answer: “… working harder than anyone else. Whatever the problem is, I always feel there has to be a solution and I will keep at it until I find it.”

It has been said that security can be a person’s worst enemy, as it can quickly lead to complacency. The very nature of an entrepreneur is that you are pushing the edge, always advancing. The minute you have conquered one mountain, you are setting your sights on another, even bigger mountain, one that will stretch and strain your talents, abilities, and resources. Anything less and you wouldn’t be an entrepreneur, you wouldn’t be the person who could have conquered the previous mountain.

Complete, total, perfect safety is an illusion, albeit a comforting one. Beware anyone who promises an outcome that is “100 percent guaranteed.”

Sometimes the riskiest thing we can do is seek an unreasonable, unattainable level of security. If nothing else, the opportunity costs are frequently too great. The road less traveled may hold more unknowns but also greater rewards.

* Reader’s Digest calls FruitGuys a “$6 million company,” but like so many publications it does not explain $6 million of what? As an accountant and person fond of accuracy, transparency, and the full story, I want to know. Six million dollars in profits? Net worth/market capitalization? Revenue? I generally presume revenue since it is often the biggest number that can be thrown out and, hey, this is America, we love to impress, we thrive on big numbers.