Recently my sister moved to Los Angeles, CA where she knows approximately zero people. She found herself needing a new hairstylist, new dry cleaner, new dentist, new everything.
She found a new dentist and made an appointment. When the dentist walked in he was the most breath takingly beautiful Adonis-in-scrubs that the world had ever seen. He was futzing over her teeth (I guess that’s his job?) and his face was mere inches from hers. She said her heart was pounding so hard she could barely understand his commands of spitting and swishing.
When she left the appointment, she had to schedule a follow-up with the receptionist. She asked the receptionist if Adonis was seeing anyone. “No, not to my knowledge” the receptionist said. She took this as her window of opportunity and wrote him a note on the back of his business card “I’m new in town. Call me for a drink.”
This, ladies and gentleman, took some brass ones. I don’t know if they gave her the good drugs or the gas or what, but holy crap that was courageous. Especially considering that in the somewhat likely event that he doesn’t date his patients or he’s not interested, she still had to face him (within inches) at her next appointment.
The dentist of course did not call her, yet somehow she summoned the chutzpa to come in for her follow-up appointment. When the dentist walked in, he immediately said “Why thank you for your sweet note, but I don’t date women”.
Ok, let’s all laugh because that story was hilarious, but now let’s talk about why it matters.
Why did my sister take that risk? Is she the most courageous woman on the planet? Probably not, according to Malcolm Gladwell. Malcolm says that the people who are the most successful in sports (and often in business) are people who come from the most meager backgrounds. Why? Because people who have nothing to lose take the biggest risks.
Perhaps the fact that my sister knows absolutely no one in LA afforded her the risk-free opportunity to ask out a beautiful (gay) dentist.
Let me reiterate- People who have nothing to lose take the biggest risks.
Let’s try to take that approach to training, shall we? I’ve been mulling over the idea of training for an ironman (or at least a half ironman) for a while now. And what exactly do I have to lose by trying? And what do I have to lose by trying harder? Well, a lot really. I could get injured and miss marathon season entirely. I could get a marathon career ending injury. But what if I could live in a blissful ignorance where I didn’t know that? Where I felt I truely had nothing to lose? Would I take the leap?
Let’s all try a thought experiment. Let’s spend a week making decisions as if we had nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Report back to me in a week.