Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant
We all desire publishing–and life–to be a low-risk deal. But that’s not the way things stack up, not if we want to reach our potential.
Risk is involved in daring to write what’s on your heart and mind. Risks are taken when you first show your work to someone else, let alone someone whom you ask to critique it. Risks run higher still when you submit your writing to a contest, to an agent, or pitch it to an editor at a conference. Having your book published inherently holds a different type of risk: What if no one buys it?
Here’s the thing about risk: If you don’t grab for the brass ring, you’ll be left just gliding through your merry-go-round ride, never having achieved what you had hoped. Rings might not be your aspiration, but you see where I’m going with this: DARE to try.
These thoughts tumbled through my head as I read Amazon’s Jeff Bezos’ annual letter to shareholders. In part, he said:
One area where I think we are especially distinctive is failure. I believe we are the best place in the world to fail (we have plenty of practice!), and failure and invention are inseparable twins.
When I think about Amazon, failure isn’t the word that springs to mind. But, looking back, I can see that the Amazon staff have dared to think the unthinkable, and sometimes they came to realize that a certain concept should have remained unthought. Except that seeing why it failed leads one to invent a way around the problem.
If you don’t try, you have already failed–but not learned anything in the process.
Bezos explains in his letter what he aspires for Amazon to achieve: “to be a large company that’s also an invention machine. We want to combine the extraordinary customer-serving capabilities that are enabled by size with the speed of movement, nimbleness, and risk-acceptance mentality normally associated with entrepreneurial start-ups.”
I appreciate the phrase “risk-acceptance mentality.” Every start-up attempts to assess the risks but also the reasons to believe the company can succeed. A skydiver takes a grand leap but also prepares in every possible to come through the risky move intact.
“Can we do it? I’m optimistic,” Bezos writes. “We have a good start on it, and I think our culture puts us in a position to achieve the goal. But…there are some subtle traps that even high-performing large organizations can fall into as a matter of course, and we’ll have to learn as an institution how to guard against them.”
The biggest danger, according to Bezos, is a large-organization tendency to “slowness, unthoughtful risk aversion, failure to experiment sufficiently, and consequently diminished invention.”
Raise your hand if you thought about the larger publishing houses when you read that description; I certainly did.
- They’ve been slow to respond to indie publishing by looking at what indie does well and asking themselves how they can one-up what indies can do.
- They’ve been slow to understand digital book sales and how to make those as profitable as possible.
- And they’ve been afraid to experiment. It’s hard for me to imagine a publishing committee saying, “We might fail with this book, but we need to see if we can make it work. Let’s be inventive and figure out how.”
I groaned when I read “unthoughtful risk aversion.” My mind turned to two nonfiction projects I’ve sold recently. The sales were made in an odd way.
The publishers turned down these projects initially, saying the topics weren’t of interest to readers. My clients had enumerated in their proposals how they could connect in significant ways to readers who were interested. But the publishers were “unthoughtfully risk averse” and were afraid to believe my clients could deliver, despite these connections already being in place.
Yes, publishers have been burned by author promises. For awhile publishing houses wanted their decision to publish to be easy by signing writers based on the size of their blog readership. Except publishers found out that blog readers don’t necessarily translate into book readers. But still, that doesn’t mean publishing house staff shouldn’t take the time to delve into whether a writer’s connections to that audience are authentic and likely to result in significant sales.
So how did we obtain offers for these two projects from publishers? My clients produced spin-off product from their proposed books and sold oodles of the product–and used those sales to connect with even more potential readers. In other words, my clients pretty much took the risk out of the equation for the publisher by demonstrating their own ability to sell to interested readers.
That was great for my clients, but that’s not how a successful publishing venture operates at its peak. A growing company understands risk-aversion translates to lackluster performance. It doesn’t mean you should be stupid and leap out of the plane without a parachute; but one must jump at some point. And the biggest sales will come when a company innovates–not just in what it publishes but also in how it reaches a book’s audience, how to play with pricing, how to sell to vendors,how to find new markets, etc.
Agents aren’t immune to the desire to skulk away from risk. We need to listen to our gut when we read a manuscript and think, This is something special. We need to risk being honest with a client who has come up with an idea that isn’t likely to find a publishing home because it doesn’t focus on a core audience.
What about you? What’s the biggest publishing risk you’ve ever taken? What risk do you need to take?
Why publishing is addicted to the urge to avoid risk. Click to tweet.
Without taking risks you’ll never succeed in your writing. Click to tweet.
Interesting post to begin the week, Janet! The first thing that came to mind is of course una salus victis nullam sperare salutem. It’s been my watchword for years.
* But beyond this somewhat fatalistic perspective, there are still gradations of risk, and in thinking on these, one might say that risk is a lightly chained gorilla that one teaches to walk hand in hand with the bright angel of confidence.
* To develop the parachuting analogy, notwithstanding the fact that failed publishing risks do not usually entail a shovel-and spatula cleanup, there are several layers of confidence that ideally should be there (though they’re skipped in case of, say, an emergency egress from a doomed aeroplane) –
1) One must have confidence in one’s training…knowing how to exit the aeroplane, knowing how to assume the proper free-fall position so that the canopy doesn’t come out awkwardly (like between one’s legs…it happens), knowing how to physically pull the D-ring, knowing how to stabilize the descent and maneuver the parachute, knowing how to pick a good landing spot, and knowing how to actually land.
2) One must have confidence in one’s ability what to do if something goes wrong…enough confidence not to panic. If the main canopy roman candles, it has to be cut away before the emergency canopy is deployed, otherwise…well, one’s going to die as the emergency canopy will just wrap around the main. Messy. And then there’s the, “Oh, crap, I’m about to land on a fence!” scenario…lock the legs together, or even cross them. Better sprained or broken legs than a straddle.
3) One must have confidence in one’s equipment…who packed the canopies, and when (there is a shelf-life, after which repacking is necessary). Was the equipment properly stored?
* I wouldn’t presume authority on risk in writing or publishing, but I did take a recent risk that did not pay off, with “Emerald Isle”. For what it’s worth, here are a few possible reasons –
1) First, it’s a Catholic story, and I did not realize – though I should have – that Catholicism doesn’t work for CBA, and religion doesn’t work for ABA. My paradigm – the success of the works of Andrew Greeley, William E. Barrett, and Susan Howatch (a High Church Anglican) was outdated. (I did rewrite it from an Evangelical perspective, but it removed a lot of the protagonists’ motivational foundations,)
2) The subject matter came across to many as ‘dark’; the main theme was the question of whether abortion to save a mother’s life was a viable option for a Catholic.
2) While I ‘like’ my fictional voice, I have come to recognize that it’s outdated. I’m not sure that the story could be retooled in a more modern narrative vernacular; it may be a conceit, but I think I have come to learn that voice and story are symbiotic, at least to a larger degree than I had first thought.
3) More generally, I don’t have the ability to build a readership; while my blog is well-liked and has a good-sized following, I’ve got no traction with Twitter and Facebook. It seems to be a matter of medium and personality; Twitter and Facebook (and, I think, Instagram) are ‘conversations’, while the blog’s a lecture, and I really don’t have the persona to be attractive and compelling on the latter platforms. Conversation isn’t my thing; I think of the right thing to say too many minutes down the road.
* So it was a failure, in the end, but I still like the story. I didn’t, and still don’t think it was dark; I like Catholics, and respect the Catholic Church. I learned a lot writing it. And, after traveling through a tunnel of doubt, I still like my voice. I believe it carries a worthwhile message. It just didn’t work out, that’s all.
* Finally, to close a long-winded comment, sometimes taking a risk and losing works out for the best. Does anyone remember the story of the “Lady Be Good”?
* It was an American bomber that vanished in 1943 after striking Italy from a base in North Africa. In a change of wind, the inexperienced crew overflew the Libyan coastal strip and went far into the desert. As the last of the fuel was used, the crew had to risk taking to their parachutes, not knowing what was below them…at night.
* The wreckage was discovered in 1958. Nine of the crew had landed safely, only to perish in attempting a hopeless walk back to the coast. The tenth man, John Wvorka, had a defective parachute, and his body was found in its partially-open silken embrace, dead on impact. He was the lucky one.
‘…sometimes taking a risk and losing works out for the best.’ That is mostly right, Andrew. It is what I did with writing my first story, thinking I’d get published immediately, even though I had not read a single article on writing. Writing another story now, five writing books, oodles of posts/articles, and three submitted short stories in between, it is still a risk. Besides, anything worthwhile started as a risk.
BTW, was John Wvorka dead or alive when he was found?
Michael, he was indeed dead, as were all his crewmates. It was quite a story in 1958, when the wreckage was found. A party of British oil prospectors came across the very intact aeroplane, with no sign of the crew. A Mary Celeste of the skies, perhaps.
* When research showed that the aeroplane had been reported missing, a search was mounted, and soon signs, arrows made from discarded parachutes weighted down with stones, were found, still visible on the desert surface.
* These led to bodies, and the discovery of a diary that was still legible. The pathos in its starkness is a lesson for any writer.
* Wvorka was found during the search; the diary mentions that he could not be located after the rest of the crew gathered after their jump. He died instantly, and was spared the ordeal of heat and cold (desert nights are freezing) and thirst that killed the rest, and made the story a towering legend.
Andrew, have you considered releasing it as a Kindle book? There’s a reason God moved you to write it. There are probably people who need to read it.
Carol, I’ve been tempted to do that, but the amount of labour involved in making something look professional on Kindle is daunting. I did three short e-books at the end of last year, and the energy is getting kind of beyond me now.
* Also, I really don’t have an effective way to market the thing, for the reasons mentioned above. While even reaching one person’s worthwhile, seeing dismal sales figures is inevitably bad for morale, and a positive outlook is something every writer has to carefully guard.
The market might be in Ireland as well as the U.S. There might be websites aimed at Irish Americans that would feature it- no direct web effort by you.
I’ll email when I get home from travel. I might be willing to “risk” some of my time to get it kindle ready for you
Carol…wow. all I can say is a very deeply heartfelt ‘thank you’.
De nada. Start thinking about your cover. I’ve never done kindle-ready, so maybe the risk is all yours in embracing my learning curve.
Andrew, please do. I want to read this book. Keep us posted.
Andrew, the abortion issue in Emerald Isle should generate thoughtful discussion. The only fail there would be failure to get it out to the world. Have you looked at Catholic publishers? Not a lot for fiction, but there are a few.
Shirlee, that was something I considered, but my impression is that even if a publisher will accept submissions from unagented authors, the fact that a writer hasn’t been able to secure representation is such a big negative that it’s an almost automatic ‘no’.
* After working pretty diligently to find representation for EI, I figure that an acquisitions editor is an even longer shot (even one at a Catholic house).
* Again, I could be totally sideways on this assumption. But it seems to coincide with what I’ve read.
My two cents: It may be in the timing of the thing. The whole religious scene is in a state of flux. I expect some softening of the dividing lines as the church returns to its roots and original purpose. In addition, the topic of abortion is a delicate one, not easily discussed. I would expect that to be part of the risk.
Norma, I hope you’re right. We, as Christians, need to be united.
* It was hard to approach the abortion question. My aim was to place the decision into a framework that was nonjudgemental, but still addressed the emotional and spiritual questions on both sides, specific to the ‘saving the life of the mother’ scenario.
* The research was intensive; some was spiritually harrowing. But knowledge made – I hope – the avoidance of polemics possible. That, though, is for the reader to decide.
The best decisions in my overwhelmingly amazing and blessed life have been the result of calculated risks. And the BIGGEST risk is to take no risk at all, never discovering what you could have done in your brief time on earth.
I hope you have emailed this post to every acquisitions editor in your contact file. : )
Norma, I so agree that the decision to take no risk is a risky one. Seldom does good come from inaction.
Following agent’s blogs and maintaining one might seem a risk since there’s a fair chance of rejection for every newbie. However, that in itself is not a risk.
The risk I need to take is this: Finish the story I started, even if I’d have to trudge through the process, edit and re-edit, and then submit to agents, fully aware that the manuscript is like a needle in a haystack. Who knows, the audience could be out there waiting to discover that needle for sewing a garment they love.
Kristen Joy Wilks
Beautiful metaphor, Michael. That is the hope each of us hold, isn’t it.
I suppose writing is a risk. Because I look at the time I take away from other things, my girls. And I’ve often been asked, “Why?” And I just have to say, “It may never happen for me, but if I don’t try, it sure won’t.” But as I read aloud my latest work to my youngest daughter … she’s snuggled beside me as I read off my laptop … she’s learning about sentence structure … more learning than when we sit at the table and go through her grammar book. She points out where something might have been a little confusing, where I’m missing a quotation mark, etc. And I get tickled that I’m making her laugh so much, and my heart smiles when she says, “I’m really glad you added that” … and I take to heart when I read a chapter and know it needs work … I say, “That needs work” and she nods in agreement. 🙂
*The risk I need to take … I need to move from Blogger to WordPress. I’ve tried. I have spent hours trying to figure out WordPress … I may need a tutor. 😉
Your comment hits home with me for sure, Shelli. I feel like I’m risking my family and children every time I sit down at the computer. But if I don’t, am I risking never demonstrating to them what perseverance looks like? Also, I’m with you on the Blogger vs. WordPress thing!
I so agree with you, Katie. We must persevere. Sometimes, I think I display perseverance to a fault, but sometimes it’s all I have. 🙂
WordPress is tough. I thought about leaving Blogger, and decided that it just wasn’t worth the trouble. Not that WordPress is bad, but when I ran a secondary blog for a 30-Days challenge there I found that the interface was needlessly cumbersome, and it was kind of unreliable in giving notification of comments. Engagement is why I even HAVE a blog, and Blogger wins there.
* Besides, I like my bright-orange-swirly-theme thing. It makes me feel happy when I see it, and that’s worth a lot.
I hear you. I hear you. I went to a webinar over the weekend by Thomas Umstattd, Jr. It was great. He highly recommends WordPress because there are so many helps for an author. Mary had asked me to share a few things on Thursday about the webinar. Most of it, I already knew, but there are several things worth discussing.
Kristen Joy Wilks
Thank you, Kristen.
Wendy L Macdonald
Shelli, I’d be more than happy to hang out with you on Facebook video chat and tell you what I know (and love) about WordPress. 🙂 Let’s set a date? Bring your questions.
Wendy, thank you. I’ll take you up on that. This is what I know. I want my own domain. And a nice format, even if I have to pay for it. But it’s been frustrating. Even if I pick a format with a large picture at the top, like yours, when I upload my picture … it’s tiny. Grr! I know in Blogger where to go to enlarge the settings, etc on the format, but I’m struggling on WordPress. And I’m using a large photo … mega. Then … I can’t get all the “extras” on the sidebar. They tend to show up at the bottom of the page. Ahhh! I have spent hours looking and looking. I know I still have some blond strands, but it should be easier than that. Wendy, you’re awesome! I’ve been sick today … but I definitely need your help. xo
Janet, when I wrote my reply to Carol’s reply to my comment above…try saying THAT three times fast…it begged a question.
* With the role of the author expanded to include a significant amount of marketing, even in TradPub, there seems to be something of a duality of risk…that taken in the project itself, and that engendered by the requirement placed on the author to find readers for the indolent and self-indulgent…oh, sorry, I mean the overworked and underpaid publishers.
* How do you approach that? My guess would be that it’s a lot easier to find an author whose writing is marketable, but whose marketing skills are so poor as to make him or her a risk that’s just not worthwhile in today’s publishing environment.
* Or am I totally off the mark? Or…is there a balance that’s truly a challenge to divine, and perhaps one of the hardest parts of the job?
Andrew, here’s the order in which I evaluate a potential client: Is the writing strong? Is the idea one the market is likely to be interested in? What sort of platform is the writer bringing to the equation? That makes three hurdles the writer must clear. Making it over two but stumbling into the third still means the race wasn’t won.
But let me also say that a few (and I emphasize “few”) publishing houses are realizing that asking a novelist to build a platform before the first book is published is unrealistic. For you specifically, Andrew, having a decent-sized audience for your blog is a big plus. Publishers have learned that a writer doesn’t have to be a heavy hitter on FB and Twitter and have a popular blog. Most authors emphasize one online presence rather than trying to be “all that” on three.
Janet, thank you for the detailed and thoughtful answer, and please forgive my delayed reply (today turned out ‘interesting’, in the sense of the famous Chinese curse).
* I suspect that writers speciate themselves, in terms of social media, by what they really enjoy. I love the craft of writing, and will fiddle with my comments here to get them exactly right (and will inevitably leave one or too typos); thus, blogging, which is a regular writing ‘workout’, is refreshing and fun.
* I also treasure the deeper engagement, the chance to read a heartfelt and often profound comment, and to reply in a similar spirit (well, I don’t do profound too well).
* Twitter and FB are, to me, sound bites, and I can’t imagine anyone being interested in my ‘status’. It’s sometimes fun to read intelligent and pungent comments on someone’s day, but I don’t really do high-end drollery.
* So, yeah…I’ll concentrate on the blog. A publisher who doesn’t get that…I guess I wouldn’t be happy with them either.
Healthcare consents are supposed to be based on a fair analysis of risks and benefits. I look for that when I review charts. And in my own life.
*A stickee on my computer reads “pain of regret vs pain of discipline” — for my personal risk/benefit analysis.
Shirlee, I like your Post-It note; that perfectly expresses the balance we’re all trying to find.
I don’t know if this was my biggest risk, but it’s the one that made me feel most vulnerable: publishing my poetry book last year. Something about your own poetry seems more open to criticism than does your prose. I don’t know what that is, but it’s something I for sure felt. I hesitated a long time before publishing it (just a paperback for now).
BRAVO ZULU, David! What’s the title, and where can we find it?
Hmmm, would management consider that advertising? Oh well, I must respond to the request. The Admin will delete this if it’s inappropriate. It’s called Daddy-Daughter Day, available only as a paperback from Amazon. It’s the story, in verse, of a day a dad promised to spend with his daughter and, after hesitation due to busyness, follows through. No car chases; just a nice story of their day.
Congratulations on plunging out of the airplane, David. Hopefully your poetry book had a soft landing. (I don’t mind your responding to Andrew’s request for the title, by the way. I wanted to know as well.)
“Yo, dude, watch THIS!”
These are my hoped-for last words in this life.
* Better to die as if you’re auditioning for “Jackass” than live like you’re in an Ingmar Bergman movie.
*shudders at the thought of being trapped in an Ingmar Bergman movie*
For me, staying in the game seems to be the hardest part. I’m climbing the hill, two steps forward, slide one step backward. Progress is slow. My risk is that I write from the heart about spiritual matters, not necessarily according to either a current or traditional framework. My voice is original yet I find it comparable to some of the ancient Mystics in tone and presentation (not very Protestant) because my faith is very real and alive. I seek to open a door for people to realize their walk with God can be so much more than they have come to accept as the expected. Like in Andrew’s first comment, my books do not line up in the preferred category, what the Christian community has come to expect of a Protestant writer, and I’m okay with that. But it is risky business if the message is not understood for what it is; but it is a powerful message nevertheless because it highlights a living relationship with God. I have to realize that my part in this is to improve my craft and learn what I need to learn.
Norma, it definitely takes courage when your writing takes you on the narrow path rather than the well-traveled highway. But blessings on you for obeying what your heart tells you to do.
Janet, I appreciate your reply. I recently read Descates’ Discourse on Method, he weighed in on the issue of whether to publish what he had discovered or to wait and have his findings published after his death. I could relate to his inner debate.
Thanks for the encouragement.
Norma, for what it may be worth, I think that your writings (books and blog) open the door to what Christ might answer if asked what denomination he was…
Andrew, how rich and validating. Truly, He is the One they should point to. Thank you.
Thank you for posting this blog, Janet. These are the exact words of wisdom words I needed to hear!
I’m so glad they were heartening to you, Heidi.
What a thought provoking post, Janet. Yes, it seems like the big houses are risk-averse. It makes it more challenging for those of us who are pre-published to get those first contracts.
*Taking risks has been scary, but I think God is teaching me how to trust Him when I do take risks. It requires a degree of vulnerability, and that’s the scary part, at least for me. The risk I need to take right now is to keep moving forward. As I walk with God on this journey, I know He will make me able to do whatever He gives me to do.
Jeanne, sometimes staying the course is the hardest thing to do. Congratulations on your perseverance!
Amen, Jeanne. You know, that’s why I feel it’s so important for writers to support writers. We are vulnerable. It’s scary. I love the idea of a street team/ reviewer team, etc … how amazing to know you have people on your side to take that initial step off the sidewalk. Or dive. 🙂
Kristen Joy Wilks
The hardest risk for me to take…admitting to my friends and family that I was writing. Admit that I was spending actual $ learning how to write better (online classes, writer’s conferences), and that I spent some of my precious time every day on a possibly hopeless venture. That was hard. Because they want to pull for you, but they don’t want it to take as long as it is going to take. They want you to be fabulous right away (don’t we all) and they get tired of the work taking so long. Sometimes your cheerleaders grow weary before you do (especially for those of us who worked 13 years for a ‘yes’). But that is OK, because even watching those around us grow weary of the struggle can be a challenge not to give up so quickly. But yes, that was difficult to admit. Yes, I am writing and yes, I might fail and I’m OK with that, are you?
Well expressed, Kristen. It’s hard when your cheerleaders’ enthusiasm and support flag. That’s when it takes an extra dose or two of courage.
Oh, Kristen … wow … that’s a life lesson right there … regarding so many facets of life. I needed that. I’ve got some weary cheerleaders on my side, as well. And I feel like I’m carrying the load for not only me but also them, too.
Wendy L Macdonald
Thank you, Janet. I loved your honest observations about the need for some risks to be taken—by everyone—in the publishing industry. Like sweet Shelli, I feel I’m taking a risk by investing the time I have been to writing, reading, learning, and engaging in social media. Even as I tried to work at these things on the weekend, I had less sleep so I could keep up with my personal goals. I get up early so I’m not interrupted (and I’m not tempted to interrupt my dear husband with grammar questions). 🙂 This morning I’m way behind because my husband was home and I spent some of my usual writing time with him and caught up on it after he left.
I love the quote: failure and invention are inseparable twins (Yeah, I know I use the word “love” a lot—cause I’m a passionate person).
I risked querying last year, and I learned so much from the generous feedback I received. I also learned how kind and hardworking agents are. I’m excited to query again once I’ve completed something new and revised something old. Plus I’ll take the risk of having beta readers and critiques. Yes, I’m gonna keep jumping out of the plane. God’s got my parachute and my future. And one day I’ll look back and say it was worth it.
I loved this post. 😉
Blessings ~ Wendy Mac
Wendy, I so glad the post encouraged you to keep on. (I loved that “twin” quote, too.)
Wendy, if you ever have grammar questions, I’ll try to help you. I’m not the best and don’t claim to be, but I have come a long way. I never mind a grammar question, and I even enjoy researching the topic. If your husband is busy, try me first. If I don’t know, I’ll tell you. 🙂
What an encouraging and inspiring article! The biggest publishing risk I’ve taken is blogging about a loss that occurred within my homebirth midwifery practice. By the way, I actually have hurled myself from an airplane, and it was incredible!
Kim, that would take a lot of vulnerability to write about that loss. I’m willing to bet you had a good response to being genuine. Thanks for letting us know the jump out of the plane was incredible. I, who am afraid of heights, am happy to read about your experience and let it go at that.
It was challenging to write and scary to post – I wanted to protect and honor the family involved, I wanted to be sensitive to those of my readers who’ve lost little ones, and l wanted to do the story justice. I sweated through the night prior to the post going live, and then through much of the next few days, but, yes, the response amazed me to tears. It was viewed over 900 times in two weeks, it was commented upon and liked and shared, it generated a number of wonderful conversations, and it renewed a nearly thirty-year dormant friendship ♥
Jumping from the plane was terrifying – I’m afraid of heights, too! But it was really something. I never want to do it again, but, yes, wow, really something!
Thank you, Janet 🙂
Kim, I get what you’re saying…deeply. I wrote Emerald Isle to try to exorcise a ghost.
* Two of them actually. Many years ago the woman who was carrying my child was murdered in front of me, and I never really found a way to deal with the sense of loss, and the almost illogical attachment one can have to the unborn.
* How can you miss someone you’ve never met?
My heart breaks for you, Andy ♥
Thank you for a challenging post. For me, so far the risk has been putting my words out there for people, not just friends, but also editors, to read. Like some of the others who commented earlier, it’s risky because I’m choosing to put time and money into writing, when practical considerations say it might be better to use those resources for other things.
*Your comments about some publishing houses being averse to risk reminds me of reading of different companies. When they were just starting, they took risks, and the risks paid off. After awhile, the companies’ mindsets changed, to one of lower risk, higher profit. But when businesses exchange innovation for security/high profit, eventually the profits start falling.
*Your post also reminds me of the faith journey. While I’m not a Bible scholar, I’ve thought of how many leaders of the Christian faith took huge risks to do what God told them to do. Think of Abraham, who left his familiar surroundings to travel wherever God wanted him to go. To me, risk and faith are linked; having faith requires taking risks.
I particularly appreciate your comment about faith and risk being linked; that’s so true, Peggy.
In a book I started two days ago (thanks to a trip), I read of a man named Henry Cort. According to the book, this man improved the production of iron and steel making for the present world. His method ‘gave us the metal we now know as wrought iron.’ (pg 37). Yet, he died without a penny. He apparently invested all his money in patenting a rolling mill for iron and a puddling furnace.
While this may not relate with writing risk, it’s a risk on its own. And I don’t know if I could take such…
Michael, I’m sure those investments made complete sense to Cort. But in the end…
That reminds me of the man who invented the intermittent windshield wiper and his extended lawsuits to receive payment after the auto industry stole the concept from him. I’m not sure his family ever felt the financial gain they received was worth all that their father risked to prove his point.
Dr Richard Liposky
Janet, Great commentary on risks. My latest book is all about taking risks in order to succeed. When we talk to successful people, they talk about the lessons that they learned on their way to success. they fail their way to success because they learn from failures and focus on their goal. The difference between those who succeed and those who fail is that failures quit. Even when you fail, if you fall forward, you are still closer to your goal.
Great comments from your friends.
Make it a great day
Dr Liposky, thanks so much for reading my post and for your affirmation of what I’m saying. I appreciate your perspective, having observed the layers of failure that eventually led individuals to success.