Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

Written by on October 4, 2012 in Lifestyle - No comments | Print this page


Chances are good that you’ve heard this wise old saying in the past.  What does “Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained” mean to you?  While you might know that this bit of wisdom for living is attributed to Chaucer (c. 1343 – 1400), you may never have put much thought into it.  On the other hand, you may be considering this fantastic piece of time honored advice for the very first time.  Following are some thoughts on this saying – they might just help make your life a bit more rewarding.

Nothing Ventured

What does nothing ventured mean?  It means, in plain English, no chances were taken.  It’s worth considering for a moment the dictionary definition of the word “venture,” as a means of contrast:

venture, noun

ven·tured, ven·tur·ing, adjective

1. An undertaking involving an uncertain outcome, particularly one that is risky or dangerous; i.e. a daring adventure.

2. A speculation or business enterprise in which some risk is taken in hopes of profit.

3. Money or anything else on which a risk is taken during the course of any business enterprise or other speculation.

Can you think of a time in your life when you took action, venturing out toward unknown horizons?  When you were a small child, taking your first steps, you were venturing.  When you take small personal risks, such as smiling at a stranger, or stepping out of your box, so to speak, you are venturing.  Larger ventures are common too; when you make the decision to go for a job you really want, and you pull out all the stops to impress a potential new employer, you are venturing.  When have you ventured?  When have you not?

Nothing Gained

Without some amount of risk taking, gains of nearly all kinds are just about impossible to make.  If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’re going to keep on getting exactly the same things you have always gotten!  Without risk, you stand still in your life, stagnating or moving forward much more slowly than you could, were you to venture out and take those risks that could propel you toward greater things.

How to Venture and Gain

A simple way to keep on moving forward is to actually remind yourself of the wise old saying, “Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained!”  Next, you can take the three simple steps that follow to move forward with purpose and clarity toward the great things that are waiting for you to grasp them.

1.  Decide where you want to go in life.  What are your ultimate goals?  Write them down, then break each goal into manageable steps.  Some of your goals may be attainable in only a few short steps, while others might require that you reach some pre-requisites or make some smaller goals realities before moving forward.

2. Asses the risks (ventures) associated with each of your goals and mini goals. Write those down as well.  It’s worth noting here that you don’t have to use perfect spelling or grammar, or even mind your handwriting as you write these things out; this list is just for you.  No one else needs to see it.

3. Take action (venture!) toward making your goals reality.  Some of the actions you take may be very small – for example, you may need to introduce yourself to certain people, sign up for classes, or read certain books.  Other actions might be larger – maybe you want to travel internationally, but you’re afraid to fly.  To make the gain you desire, you’ll first need to get over your fear of flight – a lofty challenge, to be sure.

By taking these simple steps and continuing to strive, you’ll discover that gains are easy to make, so long as you make the necessary effort.  Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained!

This is a guest post.  Debbie Phillips from provides advice on leadership, family and love. She provides insight on love sayings, humorous sayings and more. 

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