Success Is The Reward For Risk

Recognizing that success is the reward for risk is a thought that was not the original intent of a poem I wrote many years ago. The fact is, a friend of mine and I had nothing but laughs on our minds when we discussed the concept we called “vulturizing.” Following is the poem that explains.


Eagle vs. Vulture, Dichotomous Birds Of Campus Play

Ó Ulysses J. Hall

The vulture is a most cowardly bird.

Through his own cunning is he seldom heard;

But let an eagle through superior talent make a kill,

Then the vulture shows up to try to get his fill.

The same is true in social circles often seen today,

Where with coeds on campus, male collegians often engage in

conversation’s play.

However, one “bird” can’t start a conversation on his own!

He must perch and wait until the eagle to some social rendezvous has flown.

Then he materializes like magic with gracious words slurring from his beak,

Pretending that ‘tis the eagle with whom he really wishes to speak.

But, seldom does such a ploy work for the vulture’s good,

For the eagle is much too smart and shoos him away as well he should.

He then must slink to nearby shadows where he came from at the first,

And wait until the eagle’s exit marks the time when all is clear

for “Pigeon-heart” to seek an end to his thirst.

So a word to those campus birds of social play

who have no nerve to make the kill…

Only those who to life’s peak can fly,

Are they who in this life will get their fill.

* * * * * * * *


I have to admit that my original intent for this post was to highlight the cowardice and mooching aspects of “Pigeon-heart.” After all that is why the poem was written. Maybe because I am older and because I thought of one of my readers who found value in being reminded to keep trying for success, I saw more in the poem than was the original intent. The fact is that I have quotes that speak to the underlying elements hidden in the poem.


Invest your own sweat in your success! (UlyssesSays MCS01-110)

* * * * * * * *


There is an obvious reason our mooching friend is called “Pigeon-Heart.” He is unwilling to put his own efforts into the cause. He is indeed a vulture with the heart of a pigeon.


It was a shock to me when I first learned that banks only loaned after the borrower had hocked everything. I knew those who said, “If I sell everything, I don’t need the bank.” The point soon became clear that the bank wanted me to “need” success for survival. That very need was what reduced the bank’s risk, as they made sure I had some sweat in the game.


Disappointment is directly proportional to expectation; but without great expectation, the chance of great success is essentially nil. (UlyssesSays MCS01-221)

* * * * * * * *


The real reason Mr. Pigeon waits for the eagle to make a kill is his need to avoid the risks associated with setting his expectation to high. By swooping in after the kill, he avoids the possibility of rejection from the girl (Apparently that is less painful than being shooed away by the strong arm of the bigger, badder, more confident eagle). Interestingly enough, the quote points out the facts borne out in the poem—the eagle foils him and success eludes him as he slinks to nearby shadows.


His re-tries beat failure in the face so many times that its ugly look morphed into beautiful success. (UlyssesSays MCS01-188)

* * * * * * * *


It is often said that successful people have many failures before they hit pay dirt. It is reported that Edison had thousands of failures before a successful light bulb. Clearly Mr. Edison suffered a great number of disappointments—or did he see it as failure or just part of the journey? Maybe he already knew that it is said, “the road to success is paved with failure.” It is also reported that Mr. Edison spoke of previous failure as providing him the knowledge of what does not work, so no need to try those again. Our pigeon-hearted vulture might try coming out of the shadows to hear a few say “NO” with the thought that he now knows where the “NO” votes are.


Don’t wish for it—work for it!. (UlyssesSays MCS01-123)

* * * * * * * *


Finally, it is quite clear that our “vulturizing” friend spends too much time in shadows wishing instead of working. That type of idleness can’t possibly lead to success. How many times can he hear “Yes” if he never asks?


Risk taking is certainly not fun. The very concept points to weighing gain versus something to be avoided. Maybe that is why it is so often said of those who fail, “They didn’t want ‘it’ bad enough.” They didn’t want it bad enough to risk one more try, as the thought of the next pain outweighed the hope of success. What about you? Is there some work you need to substitute for a wish? Are there some wings and talons you need to grow so you can make that kill? Is there something you need to try one more time believing that success is the reward for risks taken in all those previous tries?


Check out the UlyssesSays Product Site for quotes mentioned in this post:

Much better to WORK than wish!

Not Wishing; rather Working!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *