What makes America one of the most creative, productive societies in history? Did you ever wonder? I think it is Casinos. Actually it is really that America is a Casino!
Think of it this way, when you go to a casino, you see people gambling on all sorts of games. They gamble because gambling is addictive (Oh… excuse me, it is “fun” according to those who like to work 40-60 hour weeks and then give all they have earned away in one toss of the dice). Most of these people gamble because they see someone appear to “win” on one hand in some game and believe they are the next winner. Almost anyone can be sucked in to the gambling addiction that a casino spreads. If you come home richer than you left and had a great time, chances are you will try it again and again. Now to be fair, many of us can control this urge. We can have a little fun challenging the odds by coming with only so much money, we are prepared to lose, and see if we can leave with more… even though we KNOW the odds are against us.
Years ago, I joined Amway (then called Quixtar). It was the American Way (AmWay). Its allure was in a way, gambling. You could see how people in your “group” had become wealthy. The stories were shown over and over at meetings, on tapes you listened to and taught to you from books. Now these were all true, in fact the Amway people always told you it was hard getting to the top; probably the hardest thing you would ever do. Yet, many did work hard at it despite the warnings of it being hard to achieve because you kept seeing the winners! It was a Casino of sorts. The real odds were almost impossible to find, just as it is for many other complex ventures.
What does gambling in a casino and Amway have to do with America? Yesterday, I was looking at Forbes Magazine. There was a story about Sophia Amoruso, the founder of “Nasty Gal.” Now Sophia’s story reads like an Amway story of how I got to be a millionaire, which she has done. It is simple straightforward and believable. It does not make her look like a genius. In other words, in your mind you are saying, if she can do it, I can do it! Now that is the Casino Way, The AmWay and the American Way. Bring the casino “feeling” home to everyone in America, let them feel they are the next winners and they will go out and try to win and even have fun doing it.
What are your odds of succeeding in a start up business? Entrepreneurs who succeeded in a prior venture have a 30% chance of succeeding in their next venture. According to OnStartups.com first-time entrepreneurs only have an 18% chance of succeeding. Interestingly, those who have previously failed have a 20% chance of succeeding. On the other hand, statistics from the US Census Bureau reveal something entirely different. According to the Census’s Business Tracking, 66% of new businesses actually survive for two or more years! Even more telling, 50% survive for four years, with 40% surviving for six years or longer. What is your odds of winning in a casino? This depends on what you are playing and how you play. For craps, the odds are slightly under 50%. This means you will lose slower at this game than most. At first glance, it looks like you would be better off gambling than starting a business. However, in gambling you are destined to lose the longer you play; in business you are more likely to succeed the longer you stay in the game. Even though more businesses close over time, those that stay in produce good results and some great results. This does not happen in gambling.
But back to my original premise, I believe America, its democracy and the news media we have created, help create a “gambling casino” atmosphere. You see the winners all over the news and if you are willing to gamble and take risks you put up your bets. It can be more exciting than a casino as the chances of success grow with the time you put in, rather than diminish. And even better you can change the odds by your knowledge, networking and efforts, something that really does not happen in gambling at a casino.