Everyone knows of my fondness for sports and sports analogies. Here’s one of my favorites:
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” -Wayne Gretzky (or Michael Scott of the Office, depending on who you ask).
The point of Wayne Gretzky’s quote is that you’ll never score, and you’ll never win if you don’t try. The problem is, some people don’t like change. They’re set in their ways; they have their routines and habits and don’t like anything that upends their world – whether at home, at work, or with any other aspect of their lives.
There is a certain class of people that are never going to change. Still, even people who aren’t averse to risk and change don’t often come easy with some decisions such as finally quitting a job, moving their families to a whole new area, launching a new venture, or taking their investments in a different direction.
To change or not to change, that is the question. One economist took it upon himself to explore human behavior, risk-taking, and change, and the results may surprise you.
Popular and renowned University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt (of Freakonomics fame) conducted a study involving making changes and found that people who dared to make changes – no matter the outcome – tended to be happier than people who stuck to the status quo. He concluded that University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt (of Freakonomics fame) suggests that you should probably worry less and act more when it comes to change.
Here’s the short version of Levitt’s research and conclusions as summarized in the Inc. article, Study of 20,000 Coin Tosses Shows We Should All Take More Chances in Life.
For his study, Levitt set up a website that invited visitors – many who were facing weighty life decisions and deadlocked on what to do – to have the site choose for them with a virtual coin toss. Heads, you change your life, tails you keep things the same. Participants could get advice on everything from whether to have a child or start a business to getting a tattoo or going on a diet. Some 20,000 people took Levitt up on his offer.
The results “indicated something profound about human nature: We’re biased toward the status quo, and we’d be happier if we shook up our lives more.” In other words, we tend to stick with what’s safe even though making a change is what would make us happier.
“Checking in with participants after two and six months, Levitt found that those who had made big changes in their lives because of the random coin toss (or even just because they decided it was the right thing to do) were markedly happier than those who had soldiered on in their previous course.”
“I believe that people are too cautious when it comes to making a change,” Levitt says.
The bottom line is, we’d all be happier if we leaped to make important changes in our lives.
If you’re tired of the status quo, make a change. Are you tired of the grind?
Waking up every morning, sitting in traffic for an hour plus, toiling away in an office or cubicle for 9 or more hours only to spend another hour and a half plus on the car ride home? Then you get home, and the work is only beginning. Now you have to slip out of your grumpy slave to the grind outfit and slip into your super dad or supermom costume. You finally get the kids in bed, and you hit the sack yourself, only to start again tomorrow.
Like millions of Americans, what you have to look forward to besides the 9 to 5 grind is 2-3 weeks of paid vacations a year, barely adequate retirement savings to get you through your golden years, and with no extra money to see the world, spend quality time with your grandkids or contribute to your favorite charities.
Imagine a scenario where you answer to nobody. You set your schedule, and you have the financial resources to do what you want and go where you want and when you want.
I will tell you how you WILL NOT achieve this dream. You will not achieve this dream by not taking the shot. You will be happier if you make a change than if you are stuck with the status quo. You have to trust that this is true, as Steven Levitt concluded in his study.
To break away from your job and the status quo, you will have to find ways to generate passive income streams. Here’s a little secret: You’re not being asked to climb a newly discovered mountain peak where nobody has climbed before.
Many investors before you have already conquered this mountain. Seek them out and ask them how to do it. I would be happy to share my experiences as well. Ultimately, it’s you that will have to leap. You’ll be happy you did. Beats staying stagnant.