How often do you bet on yourself?

Today is February 16 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “how often do you bet on yourself?”

Navigating the chaos requires that you stop and ask yourself if you truly are betting on yourself. As B.C. Forbes wrote "When it comes to betting on're a chicken-livered coward if you hesitate."

Betting on yourself means taking that chance even though there is no guarantee. Betting on yourself means going for that job you think is out of reach. Betting on yourself means taking a leap of faith and believing in yourself when no one else does.

In the 1989 movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,Harrison Ford’s character, Dr. Jones, needs takes a leap of faith to step on a foot bridge he could only see after he stepped onto it. Since the bridge was high above a cavern his death was certain if there was no bridge. Without him betting on himself and taking that leap of faith, he would have never been able to get to the other side.

Dr. Vernard Hodges knows a thing or two about betting on himself. He grew up dirt poor in Fort Valley, hung out with drug dealers and failed the ninth grade. In high school, he hung out in an area of Fort Valley called The Trap, where drug dealing and other illicit activities took place. One of his best friends, whom he refers to in the book by the pseudonym "Marvin," is in prison today. Hodges still keeps in touch with him. While Hodges didn't deal drugs himself, he once held some crack cocaine for Marvin. Hodges hid it in the washing machine, and his mother washed clothes before he could retrieve it, destroying Marvin's crack.

Marvin laughed it off, but later, when Hodges was in college, Marvin gave him $290,000 to hold. Hodges did, returned it and Marvin was later arrested with it and lost his money. "I was close to falling on that side of the track," Hodges said. "I could have been Marvin. It kind of told me I’ve got to turn my life around and find something."

Hodges didn't know his biological father, but his mother married a Japanese man who took great interest in him. Hodges credited that as a big part of helping get his life turned around. He eventually enrolled at Fort Valley State University, pursued a degree in fisheries and marine biology, and ended up traveling to far-flung locations as a part of research teams. One of his trips included going with a team to Napal, India, to help locals learn how to feed themselves by raising carp, which he said is still practiced there today.

Hodges would go on to graduate from the Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine and practices primarily at Critter Fixer Veterinary Hospital in Bonaire, Georgia. He also started a real estate company and wrote Bet on Yourself: From Zero to Millions.

Conan O'Brien noted "I like being tested. I get as scared as anyone. But the feeling of putting yourself on the line, betting on your talent and having it work; that's the most exhilarating feeling in the world."

How often do you bet on yourself?