The Folly Of The Plunge

There’s an overly romanticized idea in both business and romance (and probably in many other fields as well) – that success happens after you take some sort of gravity-defying leap, compelled by courage and inspiration. (Relevant HN thread)

Cal Newport talks about why this is a bad idea in So Good They Can’t Ignore You. He points out that Steve Jobs gave an inspiring speech at Harvard about following your dreams, staying hungry and foolish – but his actual behavior was much more opportunistic. (This needs some elaboration.)

Consider Scott Adams’ Goals Vs Systems.

There are occasional plunge-taking stories, like the one about the FedEx founder being so desperate and broke that he bet all his money at a casino – then made enough to go on. But that’s somebody driven to desperation. If you’re already on the verge of death, it makes sense to take risks since you’re going to die anyway.

It’s also a generally bad idea when it comes to romantic relationships. Over and over again I hear from young men who think that they should “confess their love” to a woman. They do it, and it almost never works out well. Why? It puts them on the spot. It corners them. If they say yes, there’s a lot of pressure to now “be something” – which is scary. They almost always say no (unless they were already very attracted to you – this is something you should be able to infer!).

To be updated.

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