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The entire Navigate the Chaos collection of all 365 blog posts is now available in a paperback entitled Navigate the Chaos (795 pages for $24.99). A smaller collection of thoughts from the Navigate the Chaos collection is available in paperback entitled Wonder (94 pages for $4.99)

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?” Hall of Fame hockey player Wayne Gretzky noted "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." In any given day there are dozens, if not hundreds, of reasons why you do not take a shot at something. Did you ever stop and ask yourself how often you stop yourself? When you take a shot, you are in essence betting on yourself.

On this strategy of betting on yourself 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."

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, 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.

On one day in 2014 Auli'i Cravalho took a last-minute shot. Cravalho is an American actress and singer. She made her acting debut as the title character in the 2016 film Moana at 16 years of age. Cravalho was born in Kohala, Hawaii. She is of Chinese, Irish, Native Hawaiian, Portuguese, and Puerto Rican descent. At the time she made her breakthrough, she was living in Mililani, Hawaii with her mother, and was in her freshman year of high school at Kamehameha Schools' Kapālama campus. Cravalho has stated that she was initially not going to audition for Moana.

According to Cravalho “I was getting through my freshman year, and there were already so many great submissions over YouTube.” However, an Oahu talent agent discovered her at a charity competition and encouraged her to audition for the role. The Walt Disney Company has stated that Cravalho was the last person to audition out of hundreds of actresses. Cravalho is the youngest actress to ever voice a Disney princess and plays the first ever Polynesian Disney princess.

Dr. Vernard Hodges knows a thing or two about betting on himself. He grew up dirt poor in Fort Valley, Georgia 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 drugs were sold, and other illicit activities took place. One of his best friends, whom he refers to in his book Bet on Yourself: From Zero to Millions by the pseudonym "Marvin," is in prison today.

Hodges keeps in touch with him. While Hodges did not 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 did not 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 eventually graduate from the prestigious Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine. In 1999, with his partner Dr. Terrence Ferguson opened Critter Fixer Veterinary Hospital in Bonaire, Georgia. Over time, Hodges also started a real estate company, which grew into a multi-million-dollar business comprised of apartment complexes and commercial properties. He also started writing a blog about how to win by betting on yourself, which ultimately led to his writing a bestselling book Bet on Yourself: From Zero to Millions.

In 2011 he launched the Dr. Hodges It Takes A Village Charity Foundation to teach business skills to children. In 2019, National Geographic announced it was creating a new show called Critter Fixers staring Hodges and Ferguson. In October 2020 National Geographic announced a second season premiering in spring 2021. Both Hodges and Ferguson appreciate the platform the television show provides them since can both educate the public and inspire the next generation.

As Hodges said in an interview “Only 1.6% of veterinarians are African American and representation was very important, and the production company, Nat Geo, has been great. I definitely hope we can encourage young men or young women if they are African American that this is something they can accomplish if that is their dream,” Ferguson isn’t relying solely on the TV show to inspire kids, though. He has written a children’s book, C is for Critter Fixer, that is loosely based on his experience. Hodges bet on himself and figured out multiple ways to navigate the chaos.

  • How often do you bet on yourself?

  • Who or what is preventing you from betting on yourself more frequently?

  • How comfortable are you putting yourself on the line and betting on yourself?


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