You can't control definitively whether you'll succeed or fail, but you do get to set the parameters. The way I live my life, I will either be an big success or a huge failure. There are a variety of potential paths ahead of me, and zero of them lead to comfortable success or minor failure. None of them lead to numb mediocrity.
How do you adjust these parameters? You set goals and accept risks. If you set goals low and don't accept many risks, you have no chance of huge success or huge failure. You'll end up somewhere in the middle. Maybe you'll end up a bit better off than you expected, or a bit down on your luck, but you'll be somewhere in the range of "fine". On the other hand, you can set extremely high goals, leave yourself no reasonable plan B, and take massive risks to get those goals. It's the only way you'll even reach them, but you may fall short and crash.
In my case, I've put all of my eggs in the SETT basket. I hope it becomes a huge success that makes me a lot of money, gives me some power to improve conversation on the internet, and all that. At this point I've invested two years of my life into it, with no plans of changing that allocation going forward. I've passed up many smaller opportunities that could have made me money. I do have some money saved up, but it's hard to count it as a backup plan when I know with certainty that if SETT failed I'd use it to start another company and go all in.
I work as smart as I can, I live frugally, and I plan for contingencies-- I'm not reckless, but when a calculated risk presents itself, I'm all over it.
My dating strategy is the same way. One of the things I'm looking most forward to in my future is having kids. I love children, I read parenting books (and take notes), and I've even written letters to my future children so that I can give them advice when I'm younger and cooler than I will be when I have them. But I may not get to have kids.
For one, I won't have kids until I can financially support myself and their mother to the point that we can dedicate all of our time to them. Second, I won't date anyone unless I think she's really awesome. I would literally rather never date a girl again than date someone who I didn't think was amazing. Last, my lifestyle is so extreme (and I'm so transparent about it) that a huge portion of girls wouldn't have any interest in dating me. It's easy to date a guy with a nice job who likes watching movies and going out with the bros. It's harder to date someone who used to be a pickup artist, lives in an RV, travels the world looking for sketchy adventures.
What are the possible outcomes for that dating strategy Well, I'll either find some amazing woman to settle down with and have kids and dedicate the rest of my life to them, or I'll never have kids. There's no path to "settling" available to me.
The hard part of this isn't setting big goals or even taking risks. It's coming to terms with the idea that you may not be able to do it, and if that happens, you'll be a huge failure. To actually act in a manner consistent with reaching those goals, you have to understand that your only options are horrific failure or wonderful success. If you allow yourself other outcomes, you may take them in a moment of weakness. On the other hand, seeing that potential is a tremendous motivator. And with that, it's time for me to get back to working on SETT.
Photo is a Las Vegas Marathon.