Live Large, Take Risks

June 16, 2024 by  
Filed under blog

Back in 2015, Mitt Romney, former GOP candidate for President made some memorable and powerful comments to the graduating class at Utah Valley University. He advised the students “to experience a fulfilling, purposeful life.” But then he took it a step further and went on to say, “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 think about and pay attention to. We need to go out and live large and do it our entire lives. So many times, we hesitate to “Live Large” in meaningful and fulfilling ways. Why? Because most of the time we fear that we will fail.

“Failures don’t have to define who you are,” Romney said in that same speech. “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? Have you racked up a lot of failures or just a few? Do you think the frequency of your failures compared to your successes has motivated to try harder and go bigger or has it held you back?  

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 I’ve also had some really huge successes. And I think I had those big successes because of all that I learned from my failures.

I remember one huge loss that I learned a valuable lesson from which led me to some of those very, very large successes. I had decided to lend a large amount of money with a restaurant as collateral. This turned out to be a huge mistake on my part! Why? Because I don’t know much about that kind of business so if it failed, I had little knowledge or skills to save it or run it. And guess what? It did fail and I lost almost all of what I had loaned.

What did I learn? Well, first of all, 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 sticking to 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 by real estate and I was very successful there.  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. The thing was, those were risks I was willing to take because I knew the business. 

Had the restaurant been successful, I might have gone on to make bigger mistakes in that and other businesses that I knew nothing about.  So, yes, I would say that much, if not most, of my success with real estate backed loans came from lessons learned from that one particular failure and, confident that I’d learned a valuable lesson, I went on to “Live Large”.

So, don’t be afraid to take those risks and make mistakes but just be sure you are paying attention to the really valuable lessons you’ll find in living large.


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