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I don’t trust motivational speakers. I think Tony Robbins is full of it. If your book has a title in it (i.e. the 7 habits of ANYTHING) I believe that you are trying to pull a fast one on me. Why? Well, I simply don’t believe that there are quick fixes, easy solutions or guaranteed methods for pretty much anything. This directly contradicts my history as an athlete and a coach but I simply can’t believe that there is an exact method for most thing because if there was then, in general, there wouldn’t be overweight people, there wouldn’t be unhappy people and there wouldn’t be poor people. I’ve always felt that there was a little luck involved. No, let’s be honest. I’ve always felt there was a LOT of luck involved. And then it clicked… quite literally.

Recently I was visiting family in a small town about 3 hours south of my home when we decided to stop at a Frenchy’s (for those outside Nova Scotia, it’s a chain of used clothing and other items) on the way. Now, I’ve not visited a Frenchy’s in a long time because in general they don’t have anything I really want. They either have the clothes I want in the wrong size or the size of clothes I want but not the right clothes. It is, for me, a study in futility. Worse than that, there’s no ability to say “I’ll get a different size”. If that Boston Red Sox shirt doesn’t fit you, YOU need to be a different size, not the shirt.

But on this day I went in. I very briefly looked at some clothes, didn’t like anything that I saw and started to head out. However, despite the fact that I have recently decided to sell and/or give away a huge percentage of my books, I decided to take a gander at the used book selection. 37% of the books were for children, 28% were John Grisham novels I already owned and 32% were Oprah Books of the Month (my kryptonite). I had all but given up when I came across a book called The Click Moment by Frans Johansson. Due to the combination of low cost and high interest, I decided to pick it up.

The book is, and pardon me for paraphrasing and/or interpreting, about serendipity. It’s about luck and making it work for you. It’s about taking moments of intense chance and turning them into moments of great success. And it’s about the idea that rather than planning out every facet of your business (and possibly your life) you need to open yourself up to these click moments because they are the foundations of real success.

It’s a great book. It is a combination of good writing, great ideas and true inspiration. Now, I would recommend you read it but I’d like to take a couple of minutes right now to go over with you what I got out of the book. This is by no means to suggest that you should not read the book or that I, in this short piece, have all the answers, but rather that this is what I got out of it.

1. ROI vs Affordable Loss

Return on investment is the most commonly accepted method for determining whether or not a risk is worth taking. It goes like this, if I invest $1, how much will I get back? $1.10? $1.70? $3.00? Now that’s a pretty good way to figure out whether or not something is worthwhile, right? Well, yes… and no. You see, when investors are determining whether or not to invest, they want to know that the ROI is high.

Frans Johansson offers a different viewpoint and I personally think that it’s a point of view worth investigating. Johansson suggests that you consider what you could afford to lose rather than what you stand to potentially make. You see, he believes (and he’s right by the way) that there’s a more than good chance that your idea will amount to absolutely nothing…and so will your second…and maybe your third. But his system is based on the premise that you place small bets that you can afford to lose rather than bet the farm on your one idea. And he’s right. Most businesses fail. Almost every idea that is put forward fails. Fails. Not “doesn’t go as planned”. Fails. Not “needs work”. Fails. Not “has a low ROI”. Fails.

So you need to forget ROI and think AL (Affordable Loss). Affordable Loss assumes that you’re eventually going to come up with an idea that makes you money and the only question is if you can afford to bet enough times to win. Remember, small bets.

2. Don’t Think Outside the Box, LIVE Outside the Box

It’s not about occasionally trying to think outside your comfort zone. It’s about constantly using every available resource on the planet to perfect your life. Does that sound cheesy to you? Yes. It is. But that doesn’t make it a bad idea. Something being cheesy is not a reason to shy away from it. You’re a graphic designer? Watch some ballet. You’re a web developer? Visit a garden. Every single thing that you can get your hands on or wrap your head around, has a value that cannot be underestimated. You have to be willing to move outside your comfort zone if you want to succeed. Comfortable doesn’t get things done. Passion gets things done. Sounds cheesy, doesn’t it?

3. Listen

If you start out believing that you’ve got the answers and that no one has anything to offer you from a theoretical, practical or spiritual perspective, give up now. Quit. Just leave. If, however, you believe that every single voice in the wilderness has the potential to be the absolute voice of god, then you’re on the right track. This weekend I got beat in a washers tournament, (the greatest sport of all time) by two 14-year old kids who then took over for the band as the drummer and lead guitarist and played absolutely perfect renditions of Hotel California and My Sharona. I learned a long time ago not to underestimate people. It will, in business or in life, be the death of you.

Thank you Frans Johansson. You wrote a hell of a great roadmap for life.