A calculated risk is a course of action undertaken after carefully considering all possible outcomes, preparing appropriately for each, and deciding that the potential upside gains justify the downside hazards.

If a person fails to live up to her potential in life it is often because she did not dare enough, did not screw up her courage to the sticking point and plunge forward into the unknown.

Yet there is a failure point even greater than the lack of courage to run risks, and that is the lack of will to prepare. Many risks can be offset with enough intelligent preparation, ample off-the-beaten-path investigation, sufficient late-night study. Yet so few do the hard work of getting smart enough to reduce the risk. As Vince Lombardi famously said, “The will to win is nothing without the will to prepare to win.”

If you wish to succeed beyond the norm in life, you must prepare far beyond the norm, practice far beyond most, persist long after others have called it quits and gone home. Do all these things and more, and you will achieve at extraordinary levels and prosper greatly.

At the same time, remember to live a balanced life. As the scriptures say, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Self-awareness and pursuing your personal spiritual path also yield immense rewards, both internal and external.

Closing quotes:

“Often the difference between a successful person and a failure is not one has better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on one’s ideas, to take a calculated risk——and to act.” — Andre Malraux (1901-1976), French historian, novelist, statesman

“Most people can do extraordinary things if they have the confidence or take the risks. Yet most people don’t. They sit in front of the telly and treat life as if it goes on forever.” – Philip Andrew Adams (1939- ), Australian broadcaster, film producer, writer, social commentator, satirist, and left-wing pundit

“It’s not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It’s because we dare not venture that they are difficult.” — Seneca, Roman philosopher, mid-1st century A.D.

“He who risks and fails can be forgiven. He who never risks and never fails is a failure in his whole being.” — Paul Tillich (1886-1965), German-born American theologian and philosopher