Taking Risks When You Feel Foolish

Taking Risks When You Feel Foolish

I read a news story a couple of weeks ago that was one of the neatest things I’ve read in a long time. Essentially what happened is that a BMW dealership in Auckland, New Zealand took out a front page ad in the newspaper that said, “April Fools Day Special. Be the first person to bring your car, along with this coupon, into the BMW Newmarket dealership this morning, ask for Tom, and we’ll swap out your old car — whatever it is — for a brand new BMW.”

Too good to be true, right?

When It’s Worth the Risk

Well, one woman named Tiaana fell for it and headed for the dealership, newspaper clipping in hand. She arrived, asked for Tom, and within moments had been handed the keys to a brand new Beemer.

Of course, the whole thing was a promotional setup by BMW. The video of the event says, “It was a test to see who would risk looking like the ultimate fool for the ultimate car.”

How many people saw that day’s newspaper, had a nice little laugh, then blew the whole thing off? How many others gave it a moments thought then decided they’d never take such a risk because they thought it was a setup to make fun of someone?

How many of those people felt even more foolish when they found out the ad was no joke?

Take the First Step

How often have you decided against stepping out and taking a risk for fear of looking foolish? There’s a difference between foolish risks and feeling foolish. A foolish risk is one that is ill-considered, ill-timed, or done without any sort of thought, planning, or investigation.

But a risk that might make you look foolish, what do you really have to lose? In Tiaana’s case, the worst that could have happened is that she’d be made fun of a little bit. Maybe she’d end up on a candid camera show or the evening news. Sure, that could have been embarrassing, but you can almost guarantee she and her friends would have laughed about it in the years to come. “Remember that time you walked into that BMW dealership…?”

No one’s advocating you take crazy risks, but maybe we should all take more risk that make other people look at us and say, “You’re crazy!” Yes, if something sounds too good to be true it usually is — but you never know until you investigate and discover the truth. Isn’t that part of taking risks?

Chris Hogan tweeted a great quote from Frederick Wilcox the other day:

It’s time to stop worrying about the what ifs and take the first steps toward something bigger and greater than who, where, and what we are now. The greatest adventures begin by stepping out and taking action — many times when no one else will.

Remember the wise words of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings. “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”


Originally published at The Incremental Life.