One More Question May Keep You From Crashing

By Bill Hodges

©2000 Hodges Seminars International

In life, it is important to ask enough questions. I remember hearing about a couple of hunters who went elk hunting every year. The area was so remote that they had to be flown in and out. After a week, their pilot returned to pick them up. The hunting had been great. Both hunters had bagged trophy elk. In fact, the elk were so big that the pilot said he could not possibly carry both of them. He stated that the lake was too short to gain enough speed to get aloft. To this, one of the hunters replied, "I donít understand the problem. Last year we were in the same place, on the same lake, our elk were just as big, and the pilot loaded both of them, along with us, and our gear."

The pilot, hating to be outdone, even if there was some risk involved, responded to the hunter, "If he loaded them last year, I will load them now." So, fully loaded, off they went. The plane slowly gained speed as it bumped across the water, its engine pulsing, its wings straining, and its propeller clawing at the sky. Just as it ran out of lake, it shuddered into the sky, but not enough sky to take it safely over the mountain which was directly ahead. The plane was caught by a tree top and fell helplessly into a clearing. As they crawled from the wreckage, one hunter turned to the other and said, "Where are we?" To which the second hunter replied, "I believe we are about a mile further up the hill than we got last year." This response was not much solace to the pilot, whose plane was a scattered wreck on the hillside. But the story can be valuable to us if we apply it to our lives. The pilot didnít ask enough questions. He acted in haste without sufficient information. He let his ego drive him into making a bad decision. One or two more questions would probably have validated his early decision not to attempt the trip with that much weight.

In todayís economic climate, many people are looking for a way to secure their future by starting business ventures of their own. Not unlike the pilot, these people know their capabilities and have reasonable expectations for a return on their efforts. That is, until they fall victim to promoters who tell only part of the story.

A normally levelheaded friend called me recently to say he is going to take early retirement from a solid company to begin a new business. He has been sold on the idea that, with little effort, and almost no investment or special training, he can expect to earn in excess of $300,000 within three years. The truth is, it can be done in this particular business, but few do it. Maybe he will be one of the lucky ones but, not unlike the pilot, he should ask a few more questions. He should not allow his ego to cloud sound judgement. He should ask for proof of the value of the investment. In this particular instance, his success will depend on how many people he can convince to go along with him on his business-building flight. If he fails to ask the right questions, their dreams will lay shattered on the hillside along with his.

Donít be reluctant to ask questions about a new endeavoróthe answers could prevent a crash.

Bill Hodges is a nationally recognized speaker, trainer, and syndicated columnist. Hodges may be reached at Hodges Seminars International, P.O. Box 89033, Tampa, FL 33689-0400. Phone 813/641-0816.

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