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The Art of Being Bold

What does it mean to be bold? 

Doesn’t it mean being courageous and daring?

Does it mean showing no fear in the face of danger?

Does it mean breaking the rules?

Most definitely.

When I think of boldness, the the key for me is disruption.   


Rocky Balboa rocky 12062422 1024 768 300x225 The Art of Being Bold

courtesy of MGM films

Being bold is about disrupting certain social norms. It is about disrupting your normal routine, your normal thought patterns, your comfort zone.  It means breaking from convention. 

If you decide to jump out of a plane or go bungee jumping, is that being bold?  I would say maybe, but it’s probably more daring than bold. 

If you decide to order pancakes for dinner, is that being bold?  Well it might be disrupting your normal routine, but it isn’t exactly a bold choice. 

Boldness requires a declaration.  You need to announce to yourself and to the world that you are being bold.  Bungee jumping is daring activity, which may be the bi-product of your bold declaration to live life more adventurously. 

While I love pancakes, the bolder choice would be to make a declaration to eat healthier, and finally order that salad that you always glance over. 

I like to think of boldness in the context of dating, because that is an area that requires confidence, bravery, and a level of disruption. Dating is an area that can turn men into mice.  They may be great in a lot of areas, but talking to a pretty woman is the hardest thing they can do.  

Stopping a woman and asking her for the time requires little courage and is not a bold action. You may think it is a good step forward because it requires talking to a stranger.  But the reason it is not bold is because it is well within social norms.

Walking up to a group of six people sitting down, asking to speak to the most attractive woman for a moment, telling her that you find her to be beautiful and you’d like to her out sometime, is quite bold. That takes an unbelievable amount of courage and bravery. 

But you know what?  That is what gets the response.  That is how you stand out. 

Bold action makes you memorable. 

 It also makes you energized.  


If a guy were to actually walk up to a crowded group of people and ask to speak to the prettiest woman, I believe that single action alone would have him buzzing for the next week.  That is what bold action does to you. It gets you buzzing.  It gives you the natural high.  

In fact, one single moment could change the entire course of your life.  That could be your future wife that was just a beautiful stranger in the crowd before you spoke to her. That amazing job opportunity could be one phone call away, but you are too scared to make it.  The next great business idea could be within your reach, if only you could kick out of your daily routines and take the first few steps. 

Bold actions lead to even bigger outcomes.

So when was the last time you did something truly bold?


Emotional vs. Rational Thinking – What Would a Caveman Do?

There came a day when a wandering caveman, Ork, happened upon  a great river cutting through a valley.  The river was wide and deep, the water was rapid, it was a little dangerous.  It was not suitable to cross.  However, Ork needed to get to the other side in order to get back to the village.  It was late, he was losing daylight, and he did not want to spend the night in this unknown place.  

He had the option of continuing to walk down the river and fight a safer spot to cross.  Or he could attempt to swim across the river, at a place he felt was a little less dangerous than some of the other rapids. 

What was the best decision?  His rational thoughts told him to be safe and find a better spot to cross.  His emotional thoughts told him that it was getting late, he needed to get home, he knew how to swim, and it was worth the risk. 

So what did he do?  IMG 4784 300x225 Emotional vs. Rational Thinking   What Would a Caveman Do?

The struggle of reason against emotion is an age old battle.  Ideally we want to be rational creatures.  We want to make the calm and collected decision.  We weight all possible outcomes, determine the risk vs. the reward, and make a decision that makes the most sense. 

However, this does not simulate a real world environment. Making a decision that accounts for all uncertainties is impossible in an uncertain environment. 

Add to that fact that we are not rational creatures.  We are highly charged, passionate, emotional creatures.  We can never separate the heat of emotions from the coolness of rationality.  

But do emotions always lead us astray?

One of the primary functions of emotions is to guide us towards pleasure and away from pain.

 What is going to bring us pleasure?  What is going to protect us from pain?

We may be able to make rational decisions, but in the end the emotions will weigh heavily. We often make decisions that resemble gambles.

When we invest in the stock market, buy a new house,  get married, or have children, there is a chance that things won’t work out as hoped. These are all uncertain environments.  We cannot predict the future of the stock market, the housing market, or our long-term relationships. It is impossible to weigh all of the factors, and make a calm decision. 

Decisions are always a gamble.  There will always be an element of risk vs. reward. That is why it is critical that we’re able to judge what risks are worth taking – and emotions can help us make those judgments. 

Do we feel strongly about the company we want to invest in?  Do we love that house and want to live their forever?  Do we love our partner and want to live with them forever?

Emotions are powerful experiences, and they guide the majority of our decisions.  The problem with emotional decisions is that they are often short term.  Emotional decisions are often the ones made “in the heat of the moment,” as the expression goes. 

Emotions often make us do things we later regret. By transforming goals and desires in the heat of the moment, emotions can lead us to make choices that hurt our long-term interests.

Doing something that you do not want to do is one of the hallmarks of irrationality – hence, emotions make us irrational.

So emotions can lead us to irrational decisions, while rationality can lead us to a paralyzation – an inability to act. 

So where is the balance?

I believe that experience plays a big part in the decision making process.  In our youth and innocence, we often make decisions that “follow our heart.” If those decisions lead to loss, or to failure, or to pain, then in the future we shy away from those decisions.  We become more cautious, more conservative.  We make more decisions that will protect us from being hurt or experiencing loss. 

The question then becomes, is it better to follow your heart and fail, or is it better to avoid risks and ‘stay the course’ at all times?  

If you are constantly worried about housing prices, and you fail to buy a home, you miss out on a great opportunity to get into the market. Maybe there is a company that you feel strongly about, but in the past you lost money in the stock market. Does that mean you never invest again?  Perhaps you tried to start a new blog, and no visitors came to your site. Does that mean you never try again?  

What about love?  Everybody has been burned in love at one point or another. Does that mean you stop trying. 

In the debate of emotional vs. rational thinking, the answer is that it is best to strike a balance between the two. We do our best to weigh all possible outcomes and potential problems.  But once that is done, we must ultimately make an emotional decision. 

What are we passionate about?  

What do we want to pursue in life?

What does our value system in tell us to believe in?

When in doubt, I always consider the words of Shakespeare:

“Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

As for caveman Ork, he went for  a swim.  It may have been a dumb move in hindsight, he had to swim harder to cross, and he got a bunch of bumps and bruises.  But he eventually made it to the other side, and got back to his home. 



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