The Risk and Reward of Living Large

May 15, 2015 by  
Filed under blog

George Romney, former GOP candidate for President recently made some powerful comments to graduating students at Utah Valley University. He advised the students “to experience a fulfilling, purposeful life. One thing you’re going to have to do is live a ‘Large Life’”. What great advice. That is something all of us need to pay attention to. We need to go out and do it and do it our entire lives.  So many times we hesitate to ‘Live Large’. Why? Because most of the time we fear that we will fail.

“Failures don’t have to define who you are,” Romney had gone on to say, and of course we all have had failures.  He further stated, “Through all my occupations, I have experienced successes and failures. I am asked what it felt like to lose to President Obama. Well, not as good as winning. Failures aren’t fun, but they are inevitable.”

How about you, the reader?  Have you racked up a lot of failures or just a few?  It seems to me, from my experience, that the number of failures I’ve had is in direct proportion to how large I’ve tried to live.  So, yes, I’ve had a ton of failures but some of those have led to some huge successes. And the reason for those successes was that I learned so much from my failures.

I remember one huge loss that I learned a valuable lesson from which lead me to some very, very large successes.  What happened was I decided to lend a large amount of money with a restaurant as collateral.  Big mistake on my part! Why? Because I don’t know much about that kind of business so if it failed I certainly wouldn’t know how to run it. And guess what? It did fail and I lost almost all of what I had loaned.

What did I learn?  Well first I found out that restaurants have a very high rate of failure and second, I learned that I shouldn’t stray from what I know best.  Not that I shouldn’t ever loan money but if I do, I should loan it on assets that I understand as well as being on improved real estate which, ideally, would also be income producing.

I forged ahead and made many millions of dollars’ worth of loans that were backed up by real estate and was very successful.  Later I discovered that I could do even better by owning the right kind of income producing properties. I also, very successfully ventured into the development of condos and warehouses, where the profits were even bigger although they did come with increased risks but in that case, those were risks I was willing to take.  And much, if not most of that success, came from lessons learned from my failures and my trying to ‘Live Large’.

Next week, I want to address something else Mitt Romney said at Utah Valley: “Your life will be larger if you value and nourish friendships.”  Those are also some very poignant words.