I always loved the opening day of fishing season. As a 10 year old, few things are as exciting as hooking and landing a big trout.
My dad woke me before the dawn. We loaded up the boat and headed twenty miles or so to Minersville Lake, in southern Utah near my hometown of Milford. Even though we were ahead of most fishermen, it was already busy when we got there. All the campsites were full and dozens of boats were already in the water. It was a good opening day. By mid-morning we had caught some nice sized rainbows and they were still coming in.
We were working the west side of the lake when we noticed a small cove with no fishermen at all. This was surprising since much of the lake was extremely busy. Then we noticed why. The only access to that cove was an extremely steep dirt track into it down from the surrounding hillside.
At that moment we noticed a small pickup was inching its way down the dirt track. “Bad decision” said my dad to no one in particular. “You’d need a four-wheel drive to get back out of there”. The choice to take that road was risky. The road was very steep. Apparently, the appeal of a secluded fishing spot on a busy opening day was too enticing for someone who was already heading down the hill.
Over the next two hours we watched from our boat as two men, being the only fishermen in that cove, caught trout after trout. Soon they loaded their gear and their plunder of fish into the small truck and started back out. They got halfway up the steep hill when they spun out in the soft, sandy dirt. They backed down into the cove to try again. This time the driver of the two-wheel drive truck decided to back up as far as he could, punch the gas, and hope to gain enough momentum to escape the cove. With all the speed he could push from that small truck he started up the hill, only to spin out only slightly further than the first attempt. As we continued to watch, he made perhaps six more tries, never getting further than two-thirds of the way up the steep hill.
Leaving the truck and the fish behind, they walked out.
After pondering this event, several lessons come to mind about risk-taking and preparation. If those fishermen had been prepared with a proper four-wheel drive vehicle, or if they had parked their truck at the top of the hill and hiked down, their day would have been worthwhile. In the business world we call it the “cost/benefit ratio”, where a successful business decision must have a result which outweighs its costs.
How many risks do we take in life simply because we “want” something, without giving any thought of a proper plan to achieve our goals? We jump into things. We are enticed and influenced. We are tempted, bribed, and seduced by everything around us. We see that beautiful fishing spot with nobody in sight and we don’t think about the consequences of our decision. We falsely believe if the fishing is good enough everything will be alright.
I learned something important that day, a lesson I hope I can carry with me.
Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.