You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. – Wayne Gretzky
One of my best friends is George. We met in 7th grade and bonded over our love of video games, watching football, and playing cards, but there was one thing George always did better than me.
Every weekend in high school George would have a girl to go on a date with. He was not particularly the best-looking guy at our school, the most athletic, or even the smoothest talker, but every weekend he would have a date.
So the rest of our friend group and I would always wonder how George would get so many dates while the rest of us spent Friday nights playing Call of Duty.
One day I decided to ask what his “secret” was and he told us.
George went up to he liked girl and asked her on a date. If she said no, he would not take it personally and the next day he would ask another girl. This would go on until he had a date.
George might not have been the best-looking, the most athletic, or the smoothest talker, but he was one of the most driven.
It only takes one yes
For George, if he didn’t ask anyone, he would have no girls and no dates. But if he asked, he had a chance that someone would say yes, and if he asked enough times, enough girls would say no, but he only needed one to say yes.
And each week someone said yes.
Would you rather have 20% of $5 million or 100% of $0?
In high school when I started applying for scholarships and pursuing my dream of graduating from a top university debt-free, I saw many reasons why I might not win this scholarship or that scholarship. I would look at the profiles of the previous year’s winners and saw they were from top high schools, had rich academic background, and were destined to do great for the world some day and I was a kid from a small, poor community no one has ever heard of, but I remembered George’s advice and applied anyways.
Even if I thought I had only a 2% chance of winning, I knew if I didn’t apply I had a 0% chance and 2% is still greater than 0%.
Throughout high school, I applied for a number of scholarship funds totaling about $5 million in potential scholarships and was rejected 80% of the time. But since I was rejected 80% of the time, I was also accepted 20% of the time and 20% of $5 million earned me about $1 million in scholarships, more than I needed to graduate debt-free four years later.
Had I let my fear of rejection win, I would have won 100% of $0, which is still $0.
If you don’t take an opportunity because you think others will reject you, you’ve already rejected yourself.
Every time you encounter an opportunity where the chance for rejection is higher than the chance of success (selling something to someone, submitting your resume, or applying for a scholarship) remind yourself:
Would I rather have 20% of $5 million or 100% of $0?