“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” -Wayne Gretzky
This quote, even though it is one of the most commonly used quotes out there, is a constant reminder to never be complacent. Generally speaking, I don’t like to take risks. I like knowing that I will probably succeed or at least get by by playing it safe than taking risks, which could give me the chance of much greater success but also brings with it the possibility of embarrassing failure. Not to get too much into statistics, there is always the question of expected value vs. standard deviation. If two paths will yield the same expected value in terms of success, but one has a much greater standard deviation in terms of possible results, I will always choose the one with a smaller standard deviation.
The problem with this outlook occurs when I only consider the safe paths. The reason why this quote is then meaningful to me is that it acts as a constant reminder that if I don’t take any risks at all, I will never have any success. This quote is all but reinforced by the fact that all the great modern sports champions: Jordan Spieth, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Roger Federer, and many others have one thing in common: they all take risks. They clearly aren’t reckless in their risk-taking, but they also don’t do nothing when the difference between them and a championship is a small risk. Whether it be in class or in life in general, this quote serves to help me recall that, ultimately, risk-taking is necessary for success.