Ships can’t stay in port forever…

11 03 2015

“Prohibit the taking of omens, and do away with superstitious doubts.  Then, until death itself comes, no calamity need be feared.” ~Sun Tzu

“Like most Russians, I am very superstitious, and if I don’t get married, I don’t get divorced.” ~Carine Roitfeld

If you spend a lot of time worrying about dying, the worrying can kill you from the stress.  As a chronic worrier (I often say that my job is to worry about what might go wrong, so we can mitigate the down-side risk), I see some wisdom in these quotes.  I also often agree with someone’s idea (and tell them that I do), but I’ll then take the devil’s advocate position, and war-game the opposite position, just to be sure we understand what could go wrong.  Don’t let the quotes above talk you out of taking action, though!

It’s OK to worry (in fact, if you never do, you probably won’t be a leader very long).  However, once you’ve thought through the down-side, and weighed the options and probabilities, YOU MUST ACT if you want to have success.  An earlier quote I saw today said “If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever” (T. Aquinas). Captains who don’t brave the sea don’t keep their ships, as they need money to keep the ship, even if it’s not moving.  So, when confronted with a choice, or a new initiative:  weigh the risks, bring in others to poke holes in your plan, understand the odds of success, and if those odds are positive – make it happen.  You might fail, but at least you’ll have moved, and learned, and you’ll be a better leader for it.

Speaking of Superstitious…


Rubes cartoons used with permission.




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