Small business

Take Some Risks

At some point in your life, you have to take some risks.  It is important to understand that we are all going to experience failure—it’s an inevitable and valuable dimension of life.  Your focus should not be on failure but on the lessons learned from failure.  One cannot allow his or her mind to become so consumed with a fear of failure that he or she never is unwilling to muster the courage to take a risk.  In no way am I advocating for you to take risks each day.  I am, however, encouraging you to be willing to step out of your comfort zone from time to time and have an openness to try something new, try something that you cannot be certain is going to turn out to be successful.

If you want to move to the next level of success in your life, then you cannot simply sit around and allow doubt to dominate your psyche.  You will not be able to experience the fullness of life by simply playing it safe.  Life has much more to offer you when experience some things you would not normally do.  Many people miss out on life-changing opportunities because they approach most things from “I cannot do it” and “it won’t work” mindsets.  You will never be able to be as successful as you can be when you approach most things with little faith.  When you give yourself more opportunities to experience success, even if you fail in the process, you increase your confidence in your ability to execute tasks successfully; that is, you increase your self-efficacy.

We can all learn from the examples that entrepreneurs provide us each day.  Entrepreneurs take risks every day—they have to take them.  All of our great national and international corporations started from a strong belief in the power of the entrepreneurial spirit.  Prominent national and international corporations were founded by individuals who had enough courage to not allow a fear of failure to stop them from walking into what is possible.  Many lesser known small business owners have just as much or more faith in themselves to take risks than the more well-known entrepreneurs that founded major corporations.  These people understand that having a successful business in a capitalist system requires you to take some risks.  If you are to be truly successful in a capitalist system, you are going to have to realize that from time to time you must take risks.

Even if you characterize yourself as “not a risk-taker,” don’t allow labels to prevent you from making moves that can significantly benefit you and your family.  We often use labels as vehicles for hiding our fear of failure.  As we strive to grow into more successful and wiser people, we have to confront our fear of failure more directly.  Having a strong fear of failure can cause you to coast through life instead of truly experiencing it.

I am going to be honest with you and tell you that confronting your fear of failure can be quite unsettling.  When you begin to wrestle critically with your fear of failure, you begin to understand some ugly truths about yourself that you would rather bury than bring them to the surface to work to improve them.  Don’t be afraid of your ugly truths—work to ameliorate the ugly truths that emerge from your critical self-examination of your fear of failure.  As long as you continue to live, you are going to fail.  Therefore, you should not allow a fear of failure to hinder you from experiencing the success you can enjoy in life.  Muster the courage to be the best you can be.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Give the American People Tax Cuts and Jobs

One of the best ways for President Obama to immediately stimulate the economy is to provide the American people with a payroll tax holiday. By relieving the American people of having to pay any payroll taxes for one year, this would be a real savings for them that they could begin to enjoy immediately.  If you would think about it for a minute, would you not enjoy bringing home closer to what your gross income is? With a payroll tax holiday for one year, this would give you the opportunity to enjoy more of your hard earned money.

Now, I’m not suggesting that a payroll tax holiday is the panacea to America’s economic woes, but I do know that this would help the majority of the American people to experience positive economic growth. I am also not suggesting that all we need to get our economy moving is simply more and more tax cuts, but tax cuts have to be a dimension of any serious effort to aid the economy in recovering. President Obama needs to extend the Bush tax cuts and don’t let them expire. If President Obama lets the Bush tax cuts expire, this would impose one of the largest tax cuts on the American people in American history.

In a struggling economy, the worst thing that anyone can do right now is raise taxes on the American people. If the Bush tax cuts are not extended, the economy could sink so deeply that it may take even more years for the economy to recover. I am afraid that without extending the Bush tax cuts that many small businesses will be forced to lay off many workers and/or close down. Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. We don’t need to do anything that would harm our small businesses.

We need our local, state, and federal leaders talking about and passing pro-growth legislation that will help to significantly ameliorate our economy. They need to be talking about serious policies to help create more jobs for the American people. It is time out for all of this partisanship—people need jobs! We need to put the American people back to work. I don’t care if you are a Democrat, Republican, or Independent—I will vote for you if you are going to help to create jobs and reduce the tax burden on the American people.

If any politician is not talking about reducing your taxes and creating jobs, then be sure to vote him or her out. Tell your elected officials to support a payroll tax holiday for one year and to support pro-growth policies and legislation.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison