Gambling. And Risk Versus Reward…

Everything in life is a gamble.

Everything we do, everything we say, is a gamble.

Doing nothing is also a gamble.

The risk of not doing, and regretting, is a gamble.

Gambling is a part of the fabric of our existence.

The aim of life is therefore to win more times than we lose, when we need to take risks.

Doing nothing is not the answer. Doing nothing can be fatal. Taking action is imperative. But we must keep a ledger, and make sure that our wins outnumber our losses.

And if our losses are outnumbering our wins, then we need to take stock.

And take stock quickly.

That “taking stock” may include a change in thinking, a change in our values, or a change in our levels of skill and our levels of knowledge and understanding.

I was talking to a colleague about a recent approach I had from a dentist who had two practices, one of which was under-performing. This dentist wanted to sell the underperforming practice, and was asking me if I could help him with “building it up” for a sale.

I know that I help dentists build great dental practices, but I do that working with dentists who have a GROWTH MINDSET rather than an EXIT MINDSET.

I work best with dentists who want to GROW AND KEEP their practices, rather than flip them.

I didn’t feel there was a match between my values and the values of the dentist trying to sell the practice.

Dentistry can be risky.

It costs a significant amount of money to set up a dental practice and then wait for people to come through your door.

And meanwhile, you have staff to feed, family of your own to feed, banks and lenders to feed.

When a dentist buys an existing dental practice, they are looking for a practice with stability, and cash flow. Or if they are buying a newly set up practice, the purchaser is looking for “opportunity.”

Australians like a punt.

Apparently, Australians like a gamble.

One of my childhood friends came from a family known to like to bet amongst each other so much that it was said about them that they would bet on two flies crawling up a wall.

In my family, on the other hand, my dad laid down the law:

“No betting in the family”

became the mantra quoted ad nauseum by my brother and me to each other.

Yet my maternal grandfather loved a flutter on the horses.

Me? I can’t see the point in horse-racing.

But in business….

In business every decision is based on the expectation that a dollar “invested” returns more than the dollar.

That’s a win.

And whether the business owner invests in trying to make a number of small wins, or make one significant win, a win is a win is a win.

And a win is what is wanted.

Nobody likes to lose money.

Often the small, regular wins accumulate and amount to a significant result compared to trying to make that one big win.

Winning by hitting singles isn’t as dramatic as hitting home runs, but the singles are often easier to achieve and are often more abundant than big-hit, home run opportunities.

The thing about gambling is that you need to be prepared to lose.

If you’re willing to risk it, you must be willing to give it away.

When all of a sudden you’re on a losing streak and you start “chasing” after wins, trying to get back to zero, that’s when things get nasty.

Recently I have had a small number of bets on sporting events with friends.

One friend lost his bet to me [a carton of beer] but was able to offset his result with me in another bet with someone else, so although he lost to me, overall, he ended up ahead.

Now that’s smart thinking.

And the thing I liked about this bet was that although it was only small, I was paid up and settled within 24 hours.

Another doctor friend of mine and I had a wager of “a bottle of wine” on a recent rugby league match. During the match, my doctor friend started text messaging me for my address because he could see [or he felt] that his team was not performing.

And when my doctor friend “delivered” [he sent the wine by courier], to my surprise he sent six bottles as a very nice sweetener.

In a third instance, a friend and I could not come to a mutually acceptable wager on a sporting event, and so no bet was established.

And probably wisely so, as the game result ended in a very tight one-point win.

In life and business, sometimes there are times when it is BEST NOT TO take a risk, when the result is too close to call.

Sometimes “no bet”, or sitting out this dance, is the best result.

Lastly, I’ve recently had two small [winning] bets with someone who despite asking several times, has failed to pay up.

This reminds me about when I worked as an associate dentist for three years and was paid on the Monday, by cheque, for the work done the week before.

On several occasions, I used to have to go to my boss and ask him for my cheque.

I felt this was not the right thing that I should have had to do.

I don’t believe that anyone should have to “beg” for what they have earned, be it salary, or a from a bet.

And I vowed that when I became an employer I would NEVER put my employees through those horrid feelings that this boss made me feel.

Not paying up on time is a DOG ACT, and there is no excuse.

At best, it’s sheer laziness. At worst, it’s straight out bullying. An act of power.

Employing the right type of people is a gamble…

As an employer, you’re always hoping to be able to get the best people to work for you.

People with the best balance of skills, attitude, and ethics.

Finding that balance in a group of people, let alone in just one person, is a daunting thought.

One thing is for sure….

Not taking a risk at all results in a life of slavery.

It’s true, life is risky, and as Cinderella said:

“If you want to find your Prince Charming, you’re going to have to kiss a lot of frogs.”

Those are the rules of the game.

And everyone who plays the game needs to agree to abide by the rules.


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