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This chapter is from the book


A lot of people hesitate when it comes to grabbing life as if every play were their last. To leap seems risky, and they want security.

Recently a long-time friend called me, complaining of a sleeping problem. He also told me that he was soon acquiring a company of which he would be its president. He planned to pay for the company at a rate of ten percent a year for ten years; after that time he would own it outright. He said that he and his family needed security, and that would be his sole focus for the next ten years. He confessed that something in the plan was keeping him up at night; I asked if he loved what he was doing. Silence ensued for about ten seconds. I don’t remember his response because the long pause was the answer.

My friend believes he is secure with this plan, but he can’t sleep, and chances are his health will soon deteriorate. If he follows this path, he may not even be around to see the future he’s sacrificing himself for. Helen Keller once said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.” Security, especially today, is a myth. You must do what you love; if your body is telling you something is not working, know that you need to rethink your vision. That may involve risk, but think of it as your last play.

Playwright August Wilson wrote about three men working in a grocery store before Thanks-giving. They are all promised hams, which they never receive. One man chants the entire play, “I want my ham.” The second man says to the third, “He’s crazy! That’s all he chants all day.” The third replies, “Maybe we are not crazy enough. Maybe we became sane and settled for what we did not get, but he refused to settle; in some cases sanity is overrated. He wanted more and he wanted what he deserved.”

If you risk and want more than what is safe, others often think something is “wrong” with you. But do not settle for safe. Listen, risk, match your gifts with what makes you feel alive, and then win, hands down. Act as if each moment is the last play.

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