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Thursday, June 19, 2014

What are the Stakes Involved?


I saw a play over the weekend that had a whole slew of characters with nothing discernible at risk. Watching the show was like watching an animated Wikipedia page. The writer infused very little drama into the play and had the characters state what they wanted (good) but had them act in such a way that what they wanted didn’t really matter (bad). 

There were no stakes involved. 

As a writer, it’s important for the purpose of entertainment to ask while writing, “What is at stake if this character does not get what she wants? What’s the worst thing that could happen? What’s the best thing that can happen?” And simply by asking those questions, the vision of what to write becomes clearer and the act of writing becomes a bit easier.

That simple writing exercise reminds me to continuously find and figure out what the stakes are in the major (and minor) decisions that I make in business, life, love… and anything in between.

What’s the best thing that can happen if I do X? What’s the worst thing that can happen if I do X? Why? How? And then what? And then what? And then what? ... and so on.


Without having anything at stake when setting an intention, it renders our goal(s) impotent. Working at and defining what the stakes are when taking action on something, is like putting rocket boosters on your heels to propel you toward your desired goal.