Live or Die: The Power of No Options


When was the last time you held your butt for 5 hours to survive a "near-defecation" moment on the bus? How did you struggle going home in an extremely dark night just because you were starving to eat? In situations like these when forced to decide when only one option is available, most often than not is the most powerful mover of all.

A hungry lion is staring at you and it's going to attack in no time. You are trapped and stuck on the edge of the cliff. You have nothing. Beneath the cliff lies 4 killer whales twirling around waiting for you to jump.

There's no other way but a suspended rope connected to the other mountain. You have 3 options: jump straight into the whale's big mouth, slowly feel your flesh gnawed by the lion or try what a tight-rope walker does to cross the other side.

In the context of decision-making, this leaves us just two options since the first two are undoubtedly similar - a Passive Decision. The latter simply means a "do nothing" option. No interventions at all.

Now it would really sound dumb if we choose the suicidal option. The odds of survival is no greater than 0%. Zilch. But believe me or not, this is how we decide in our daily lives. Easier said than done, most of us will choose the 2nd option. And this should be the answer.

The likelihood of survival may be less but possibly, you could survive if your conviction of living is greater than your fear of dying. It doesn't matter whether it is your first encounter or if you are an experienced tight-rope walker.

You could fall no matter how good you are, especially when you shiver with fear thinking about the drooling lion while balancing on the tight rope. Thus, experience is not a deciding factor in survival.

Binary Decisions

What is amazing with Binary decisions is our capacity to become a superhuman when fear is the motivating factor. In our example, doing nothing is not a wise decision.

On the other hand, the fear of being gobbled by the lion or shark is a powerful stimulus that subconsciously stimulates our glands to have a burst of adrenaline and determination in order to conquer something.

Through this fluid, our peak performance is unleashed and we'll be given that power to use! It is but a choice. When you choose to live, you will do anything no matter what's coming your way to be alive.

Perseverance will prevail as soon as the mind is conditioned to do something in urgency and accuracy. The best example for this is the story of a cunning warrior in war. An excerpt from Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich book - my all time favorite Classic book that I strongly recommend.

A long while ago, a great warrior faced a situation which made it necessary for him to make a decision which insured his success on the battlefield. He was about to send his armies against a powerful foe, whose men outnumbered his own. He loaded his soldiers into boats, sailed to the enemy's country, unloaded soldiers and equipment, then gave the order to burn the ships that had carried them. Addressing his men before the first battle, he said, 'You see the boats going up in smoke. That means that we cannot leave these shores alive unless we win! We now have no choice-we win or we perish!' They won.

Power In Action - History

Everywhere you go and in any part of the world, there is at least a couple of Chinese selling stuffs in the street or in the business central. It made me wonder, why do most Chinese are so good in business? I did try a couple of research but I hadn't gotten into a practical and realistic answer to my question.

Lucky for me since I had a true-blooded Chinese office mate. In a luncheon, she was sitting beside me and when the time was right, I brazenly asked her about my inquiry. To my amazement, this is her answer and it perfectly makes sense. Little did I know that it is found in history.

Way back centuries ago, the Chinese were compelled to leave their country due to simultaneous hostilities of several dynasties which threaten their living and families.

As such, they left their homeland and went to other countries for peace of mind and greener pasture. "Every one of them started with nothing", my office mate told me.

Her grandfather told her that it was really hard for them to adapt considering the new environment, language, culture, etc. It didn't seem right for them to live in the Philippines. But the agony didn't stop there.

A serious problem arose when it was declared that no Chinese were allowed to go to school and to get employed in the Philippines.

Here comes the Binary Decision. What's left for them is this: live or die. Since they couldn't get employed, there was only one way for them to survive - to have a business!

The fear of hunger (or death) was their motivating factor to strive really hard to survive in a foreign country. "We were forced to engage in business for we didn't have any options then to survive. That is why we put all our efforts in business by any means for us to live", she added.

Up until now, the new generation of Chinese are still active in engaging business. The reason can be traced to genetics and even scarcity. Business-mindedness of the past Chinese were passed to the new generations.

Likewise, some professions like Accountancy doesn't allow Chinese to have a license but in practice. This also leaves fewer options which opted them to venture into business. This summarizes The Power of No Options.


  1. Very nice post! And I truly agree with what you said. I love this!

  2. Thanks Sandy! This is one of the secrets of the great men that I know. And it's very powerful...

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