A book on how learning to take risks can lead to a more successful and fulfilled life, with anecdotes from the author's life and his observations after a 50-year career in government service around the world.
Charles gives an overview of the book:
Have you ever wondered how some people always seem to live on the edge, taking chances when others stand by and watch, and always come up winners? Think of people like the late Steve Jobs who took a flyer on a personal computer when the computer industry giant, IBM, was convinced that the idea had no merit; that no one would buy it. Well, Jobs took a flyer and came up smelling like a rose. He continued to take immense risks until Apple practically dominated the home computer industry. Jobs wasn’t the first, and he won’t be the last; people who ride the outside ring of the carousel and risk falling in order to grab the brass ring; living life to the fullest; falling down and getting back up again for another ride.
The idea of for this book came out of a question that I’m often asked by audiences when I speak to them; “What are the secrets to your success?” Not, ‘what is, but what are,’ as if they somehow know that there’s no single ingredient required in order for a person to have a successful and fulfilling life.
I often struggle to answer the question. Yes, I think my life thus far has been successful, and it has been personally and professionally fulfilling, but when I was growing up, my grandmother taught me not to dwell on such things. I’ve never been all that comfortable talking about the things I’ve done. But, another thing she taught me was to have faith in myself, and be willing to take chances to achieve my dreams. So, when I’m forced to think about it, my response to people who ask the question is often; dare to dream, and have the courage and fortitude to keep plugging away until you achieve those dreams; take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way; and don’t be afraid of failure. Grab at the brass ring when it comes around, and keep grabbing until you get what you want.
As I study the people who have throughout history, not only been successful, but who seem to have enjoyed every moment of their lives; taking advantage of mistakes to go on to greater heights, and even at times seeming to take pleasure from the mistakes, I’ve come to realize that the one common trait they all have is that they are willing to do as Rudyard Kipling suggested in his poem, ‘If;’ “If you can make a pile of all your winnings, and risk it all in one game of pitch and toss; if you can lose and start again at the beginning, and never breathe a word about your loss;” the essence of success; but, even more importantly, the essence of making the most of every one of the finite minutes you have on this earth.
As I did with the first book on leadership that I wrote, Things I Learned from my Grandmother about Leadership and Life, I wanted to share my revelation with a wider audience, but as with that book, the problem was deciding how to go about it. It wasn’t enough just to know what had contributed to the modest success I’ve enjoyed, I also had to communicate it in a meaningful way. What, for instance, was my main thesis? Was there a central theme that ran throughout my professional life? After some thought, I finally came to the conclusion that there was indeed a core value or attitude that without even thinking about it, had shaped and guided most of what I’ve done in my life – taking chances. Looking back over my career, beginning with leaving my small East Texas home in 1962 and striking out into a completely unfamiliar world, I realized that I’ve been an incredible risk taker; betting often on long shots when others were shying away.
A native of East Texas, I have been involved in leading organizations (particularly those in trouble) for over 40 years. I have written a number of articles on history, culture and leadership, and have written three books on leadership in addition to my fiction works. The Al...
kudos to Charlie for his terrific book "Things I Learned from my Grandmother about Leadership and Life ." I gobbled it up and it would be wonderful reading for whatever incarnation of leadership training...
Things I Learned From My Grandmother About Leadership and Life is a small book that makes a great impact. Charles Ray, the author blends his fond memories of his grandmother with his dual career as a...