Know Your Limit. Work Within It.

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© Sira Anamwong via

Carrie De Simas

Editor in Chief @ GoneWithTheWord

The marketing slogan for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation is: Know your limit. Play within it. It’s a brilliant slogan because it promotes responsible gambling. It also lets tells you that the odds are against you.

Few people come away from their gambling pursuits with big wins.

Entrepreneurs are the biggest gamblers of all. More businesses fail each year than hit the jackpot of success. Many more struggle to stay afloat.

The key then is to know your limit and work within it. Not just in regards to finances, though obviously monetary cost and compensation is huge.

More than fiscal awareness though is the question: What are you willing to lose?

If you go to a casino, the (in theory) responsible recommendation is to take in a preset amount of money that you are willing (and financially able) to lose. Call it the cost of the entertainment and thrills associated with casino gambling.

The same is true of being an entrepreneur: you need to determine what you are both willing and able to risk and—if need-be—lose at the end of the day. Long hours and the ups and downs of startups take their toll on health, relationships and financial security. Donald Trump has been married three times and his businesses have declared bankruptcy four times. 

There are many stories of success that fuel entrepreneurs such as that of the late Steve Jobs. Did you know though, that on his deathbed he apparently said that although he had riches, he had little else? That is often the cost of ultimate success.

If you want to be at the top of the game, are you willing to lose or diminish everything else? Friendships? Family? Health?

That is often what the ultimate of success will cost you. How many superstars have failed marriages or addictions? How many of them really know (and spend time with) their children? How many of them could confidently state that their friends would stand by them if they lost everything?

With Christmas upon us, Rudolph the red nosed reindeer tale is read to children, played as a popular song on the radio and celebrated as one of the iconic images of the holiday.

Yet what does that story teach? That if you do not have something of obvious value, the majority of people will mock or ignore you. Only once you have been deemed important or successful, will they love you. Once Rudolph was proven uniquely useful, the other reindeer loved him. But what would happen if his nose stopped glowing? Or if one of theirs started to glow?

If your goal is to achieve superstardom in your industry, you could have everything in the moment. But if you lose that edge, who will still be there with you? Would you regret having focused all your time and energy on that pursuit at the cost of everything else?

That said… Know your limit. Work within it.



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