The River Through the Cave

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An eager adventurer trekked through the jungle seeking the legendary tomb of treasure.  He was told to follow the river.  Days passed and the journey stretched on.  The adventurer stayed close to the river but was dismayed to see that it disappeared into a dark cave.   He went inside and found the stream winding deeper and deeper underground.  Unprepared for these conditions, he considered turning back and cutting his losses.  Instead, a dream convinced him to take a risk and keep going forward.  Finally, he emerged from the cave, looked up, and saw the river merging with an impassable mountain.  He sighed and smiled to himself because he knew now he would keep going despite the obstacles.  He began to climb.


The word risk carries some negative connotations.  People may think of irresponsible gambling or general recklessness.  In fact, any small action you take can be considered a risk.  Have you ever gotten off the freeway to try to avoid traffic?  You’re risking that the surface streets will be less crowded.  But how can you really be sure?

Equals Reward

You can’t.  The plan may backfire, leaving you stuck in the car for even longer.  But without taking a risk, which is really another word for action, you’ll never know.  You’ll have given up before you started.  Our adventurer may or may not have finally reached the treasure, but he at least pushed himself as far as he could go.

Self-Imposed Limits

Life can throw obstacles in your path at the most unexpected of times.  Even if you can’t see them coming, you’re able to maneuver around them handily.  However, the biggest obstacle you’ll face will undoubtedly be yourself.  You’ll have to face yourself time and again.  While it’s great to be realistic and practical, don’t make the mistake of self-imposing limiting beliefs.  You’ll never know what you’re capable of if you don’t occasionally get out of your own way.  Embrace the unknown and make it a part of your adventure.


Regret is one of the most powerful emotions you can experience.  Don’t weigh yourself down with regret.  If you put yourself into a situation you don’t understand and take the action to accept a risky challenge, you may succeed or you may fail.  By facing the unknown, even a failure is growth and development in disguise.  Looking back in time, would you rather see an error of judgment that led to a learning experience or a total lack of effort?

Be Excited, Not Content

Taking chances makes life exciting.  Pushing yourself creates opportunity and generates excitement around you.  If you settle into a routine that becomes too comfortable, you’ll stop being challenged.  Challenges are what give rise to risk, and without them things would get boring pretty quickly.  Always be on the lookout for risk or action.  Don’t fear something just because you may not be an expert or are even inept.  Challenge yourself by improving your weaknesses.  Stay excited about your life and your business by embracing risk.

Always push your boundaries.  There is no way to know just how far you can go without dipping your toes in some uncharted waters.

Matthew Toren

Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs.org, BizWarriors.com and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley).

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